The 2016 Presidential Election and Historical Comparisons

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Everyone is making comparisons between the 2016 presidential election and other presidential election in American history.  I have also been doing plenty of this here at the blog (including my last post about George Wallace).

Historical analogies are never perfect. But we can learn from them, even if it only reminds that, for the most part, there is nothing new under the sun.

Here are few analogies I have seen:

Election of 1800:  I have pointed to this video to remind people that the mudslinging we are seeing in this campaign is not new.  I have also referred to this election to show that politicians have been using religion in presidential campaigns for a long time.

Election of 1824:  I recently wrote a piece about Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts about Andrew Jackson.  Most historians who are interested in comparing Donald Trump to Andrew Jackson also reference this election.

Election of 1912:  Historians have been referencing this election in the context of the possibility of the GOP rejecting Trump at its July convention.  In 1912, Teddy Roosevelt was rejected by the Republican Party and responded to the rejection by forming the Bull Moose Party.  Some say Trump could do something similar if he does not get the nomination in Cleveland.

Election of 1964:  Political historians have compared the conservative extremism of both Trump and Ted Cruz to Barry Goldwater.

Election of 1968:  Some historians have compared Donald Trump to George Wallace.

What other presidential election comparisons have you seen?

What Would Jefferson Think About Trump?

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Here is a taste of my op-ed at today’s Harrisburg Patriot-News:

…When Webster visited Jefferson in December, the election had not yet been decided.  Ironically, for a man who built his political career defending the rights of farmers and frontiersmen, Jefferson was no fan of Andrew Jackson. 

The Virginian worried what might happen to the country if the House of Representatives chose the military general from Tennessee.  Here is what he told Webster:

“I feel much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson President.  He is one of the most unfit men I know of for such a place.  He has had very little respect for laws and constitutions, and is, in fact, an able military chief.  His passions are terrible.  When I was President of the Senate, he was Senator; and he could never speak on account of the rashness of his feelings.  I have seen him attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke with rage.  His passions are, no doubt, cooler now; he has been much tried since I knew him, but he is a dangerous man.”

Read the entire piece here.

Quote of the Day

“I feel much alarmed at the prospect of seeing General Jackson President.  He is one of the most unfit men I know of for such a place.  He has had very little respect for laws and constitutions, and is, in fact, an able military chief.  His passions are terrible.  When I was President of the Senate, he was Senator; and he could never speak on account of the rashness of his feelings.  I have seen him attempt it repeatedly, and as often choke with rage.  His passions are, no doubt, cooler now; he has been much tried since I knew him, but he is a dangerous man.”  – Daniel Webster’s Interview with Thomas Jefferson, 1824