Last summer I called out POTUS candidates for their failure to make evidence-based arguments in a post entitled “Historians Must Counter the Jedi Mind Tricks.”
My decision to support “Historians Against Trump” had little to do with making a political statement or suggesting that the use of historical analogies is helpful in predicting the direction that a particular candidate like Trump might take the country. Historians can provide context to our present-day political debates but I am not sure that history can always predict the future based on what happened in the past.
I supported the Historians Against Trump movement out of my concern over the Trump campaign’s failure to make evidence-based arguments, display the kind of empathy necessary for a democratic-republic to survive, and exemplify even the most basic skills of historical thinking. (My original “Jedi Mind Tricks” post also called out Hillary Clinton for her failure in this area).
This interaction between CBS journalist Bob Schieffer and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge illustrates my point about evidence-based arguments. By the way, the last time I checked evidence-based arguments were important to historians and historical thinkers. At least that’s what I try to teach my students at Messiah College.