For many of us Americans, it’s difficult to remember where the current White House scandal began — was it with former national security advisor Michael Flynn? Something to do with former FBI Director James Comey? Someone else who was formerly in charge of something before they were unceremoniously Tweet-fired? I definitely remember something or other about e-mails. And Access Hollywood…? With increasing and evolving chaos erupting every day between 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and ul. Vosdvizhenka d.1, Moscow (Wikipedia tells me that’s the street address of the Kremlin) the once-whispers of “bigger than Watergate” have reached an all-out fever pitch, with no sign of subsiding soon.
This isn't the first time we've heard the expression "bigger than Watergate" thrown around — although the comparison was invoked by the current president more than it was launched directly at him, at least at first. According to Trump, the non-existent wiretapping of Trump Tower was "bigger than Watergate." So was Uranium One. Benghazi. Hillary Clinton's emails. Joe Arpaio's investigation into Barack Obama's birth certificate. The Obama administration's minimal response to Russian election interference. And more. But as it turns out, the only scandal in Washington "bigger than Watergate" might be President Donald Trump himself. (Shocker.)
At least one thing is for certain: Watergate has become the benchmark for American political scandal.
But what does “bigger than the Watergate scandal” really mean? To answer that, you’re going to need a slightly larger grasp on what actually happened during the Nixon presidency than you’ll get from one viewing of All the President's Men (although a reading of All the President's Men by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein is definitely worthwhile!) More importantly, what does a scandal bigger than Watergate bode for the future of American democracy?