For those of us born after Nixon, we tend to not grasp the level of hate directed towards the man by the liberal establishment and popular culture of that time. He was a boogeyman of epic proportions who got nabbed for a silly stunt. His removal heralded the ushering in of a New Age in which conservatives began to cede ground to the liberals that were outside of the ruling circles. Unlike Nixon, Reagan managed t0 stay clean and they couldn't take him down.
Nixon's defeat is much more than a symbolic victory, it represents a shift in the paradigm.