Episode 27: From Mount Vernon to Mar-a-Lago

podcast-icon1Here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home, we have traveled to both Mount Vernon and Monticello in our explorations of presidential history. Today, we explore a much more recent addition to the world of presidential real estate, Mar-a-Lago. While host John Fea explores the history of presidential vacations, guest Julian Chambliss (@JulianChambliss), historian and author of the Boston Review article “Draining the Swamp,” dives deeper into Mar-a-Lago as a lens for understanding Florida’s unique history, the disproportionate effects of climate change, and the origin of Trump’s unique and at times inscrutable blend of everyman populism and billionaire branding.

Historicizing “Drain the Swamp”


As many of you know, POTUS-elect Donald Trump wants to “drain the swamp” that is Washington D.C.   When he talks about “draining the swamp” I am assuming that he wants to get rid of special interests and “insider” politicians who have been in Washington for too long and are thus standing in the way of making America great again.

But what is the meaning of the phrase “drain the swamp?”  How was it been used before it became a political slogan?  Yoni Appelbaum, the Washington Bureau Chief at The Atlantic, has written ten brilliant tweets to explain all of this.  (Check out Yoni on Episode 3 of The Way of Improvement Leads Home podcast).

Here they are: