Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Parallels Between Andrew Jackson and Donald Trump (Part I)

There are some similarities between the Trump and Jackson political philosophies as well as the election process. The two men obviously were vastly different in many aspects since they lived two centuries apart, but we will focus on the similarities. Most historians have a favorable view of Jackson despite his growing the power of the executive branch. The verdict is still out on Trump if he is able to pull off the upset and beat Clinton.

Both men were vastly successful in their fields – Jackson as a military general (he did other things as well such as being a lawyer) and Trump as a businessman. Yet, both men have been criticized for being dumb and uncouth. Jackson had no formal education and was often seen as being barbaric on the battlefield especially against Native Americans. Although Trump is highly educated he is not a quick thinker on his feet and despite this major flaw tends to give unprepared remarks that more often than not come off the wrong way. Both Trump and Jackson are victims of their vast egos and this arrogance makes them come off as being unpolished and dumb.

Both men are family men and will surround themselves by family in the White House including placing them in important roles in the administration.

Both men are considered outsiders to the Washington elites. The first six presidents in U.S. history came from Virginia or Massachusetts building a “good old boy” system of politics. Jackson not only broke this trend (Tennessee) he replaced over 10% of all political appointees (over 10 times more than the first 6 presidents combined). Jackson also vetoed more congressional bills in his first two years of office than the previous six presidents combined – illustrating his outsider status when compared to the Washington elites. Although Jackson had some political experience in Washington, he viewed the system as mostly corrupt and did not trust entities such as the Federal Bank – he saw the bank as providing favors to politicians. Jackson was also not a fan of campaign financing because he saw it as a means to foster corruption with quid pro quo actions. Conversely, Trump did not accept any campaign money for his primary run, but realizes he would probably have to accept more for the general election to overcome the war chest of funding Clinton will have. Trump is truly an outsider if you consider he has never held a political office, but no doubt Trump has given large sums of money to politicians probably expecting favors in return. Trump has clearly stated he does not trust politicians and Washington has to be cleaned up and made more efficient.

Although the Jackson presidency was setting the groundwork for the future Democratic Party, many Trump policies are truly liberal. While women do not like Trump, he is probably the best Republican candidate for women in years. He not only has a great record of hiring women in important business roles, he has defended Planned Parenthood and wants more federal spending for women’s health. In fact, without Democrats voting for Trump in open primaries he may not have won the nomination outright. Some other policy similarities include taxes and the debt. Both Jackson and Trump want to pay down the debt and Jackson was the first to consider a progressive tax system seeing tariffs hit the poor the hardest. Meanwhile Trump, unlike many Republicans, likes our current progressive tax system and wants to tax the wealthy more. Trump, also unlike many Republicans, is not as much a state’s rights advocate as he is in a strong federal government, similar to the belief of Democrats and Jackson.

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