The last few weeks ― nay, months ― have been ushering everyone into some real "blast from the past" territory, from O.J. Simpson to Donald Trump to another Clinton in the White House. It's almost as if the people most central to our shared political and cultural experiences two decades ago are back in full-force, or at the very least, pretty close approximations. It's enough to make you wonder: Between Clinton and Trump, are we back in the mid-'90s again, or is life just fated to play out in these familiar cycles?
Maybe you've noticed some of the striking similarities, as best represented by a trio of players from the past who are being reinvigorated and revisited now, in 2016. Look at it like this:
- In 1994, O.J. Simpson was charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole, and in 1995, he was acquitted in one of the highest-profile, most controversial trials of all time, fueled by the thirst for constant, sensationalized media coverage. Now, in 2016, American TV viewers are eagerly awaiting the latest installments of FX's acclaimed cable series American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson, and the LAPD is reportedly performing tests on a knife discovered buried at Simpson's former estate.
- In the mid-'90s, the Democratic Party standard-bearer was a Clinton ― Bill Clinton, that is, who won the White House in 1992, and cruised to reelection over Republican challenger Bob Dole in 1996. Now, in 2016, Hillary Clinton stands poised to capture the Democratic presidential nomination, though she's still in the thick of a primary battle with Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. Bill knew all about primary fights in his day, for what it's worth ― he didn't really sew up the nomination until March, either. Of course, this would've been even better if Jeb Bush had won the Republican nomination, pushing Trump into a third-party bid against the former governor of Floria and Clinton, making for the most picture-perfect 1992 presidential redux you'd ever see. But you can't win them all, I suppose.
- In the mid-'90s, as in virtually every decade throughout his towering business career (and now, cultish political following), Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump was the subject of lurid, gossip-laden coverage and numerous profiles ― like this one by Mark Singer for Vanity Fair, following Trump's divorce from his third wife, Marla Maples, in 1997. A few important takeaways: Trump often called himself "the Trumpster," and apparently was guzzling a gallon of Diet Coke a day. One hopes this was either an exaggeration on Singer's part, or that Trump has calmed things down a bit ― that's an awfully big soda habit for a presidential aspirant.
All we need now is a Full House reboot, and... oh, hang on... There's no doubt that we're living in an age of reheated nostalgia right now, and for a great number of millennials, that nostalgia is rooted deeply and firmly in the pop cultural landscape of the 1990s. But even so, it's pretty striking just how many things feel the same all these years later, like rhyming echoes through the years.
And hopefully ― or, at least, if you're a Democratic or progressive voter ― the electoral outcome in 2016 will look a lot like the ones in 1992 and 1996, too. Suffice it to say, this might be the last, best chance for a member of the Clinton family to reclaim the White House (assuming Sanders' candidacy continues to fail so massively with a majority of black voters). And with Trump in position to seize the Republican nomination, the stakes have rarely been quite so high.