Purely Political, By James Buckley
Each of the four presidents who immediately preceded Donald Trump to the White House attended top Ivy League schools in one way or another: George Herbert Walker Bush (Yale), William Jefferson Clinton (Oxford, Yale Law), George Walker Bush (Yale, Harvard Business), and Barack Hussein Obama (Columbia, Harvard Law). Each, in his own way, were fully accepted members of the Washington political establishment.
Although former President Trump earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Commerce and Finance, also a top Ivy League institution, that’s where the similarities end. Mr. Trump was never part of that establishment. He, instead, took over his father’s real estate business, became a television producer/reality show actor by launching the successful 14-year run of “The Apprentice” on NBC, then ran for and won the U.S. presidency, having had absolutely no prior governmental experience.
So it would be fair to compare President Trump with another newcomer who also blazed his own trail to the presidency: Andrew Jackson, our first out-of-the-mainstream president.
All six U.S. presidents before Jackson came from either Massachusetts (John Adams and his son John Quincy Adams); or Virginia: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and all were firmly ensconced in the political establishment of their day.
The antipathy of the establishment toward both Jackson and Mr. Trump is strikingly similar.:
The first five U.S. presidents traced their ancestry back to England, and in the case of Monroe, Wales and Scotland; Jackson’s parents had emigrated to America from (gasp) Ireland. Worse, he wasn’t from the East Coast at all.
Donald Trump came from (gulp) Queens, a “boondock” borough of New York City. He got his hands dirty. He wore a hard hat to his various construction sites. He opened casinos and hotels, even built condominium and apartment buildings. For Gawd’s sake, what’s he doing flying around in Air Force One?
Jackson had no formal education whatsoever. Worse, he represented the “backwoods” state of Tennessee rather than one of the more erudite original colonies. There is no evidence that he ever actually spent a day in a classroom as a youngster. Yet, he learned to read at the age of 17 and went on to great success as a military man, then lawyer, even judge.
Donald Trump’s family engaged in what could only be thought of by more gentile folk as the “grubby” real estate business, or worse: Reality TV.
Jackson was elected to the U.S. Senate, although he only served eight months before resigning his office in disgust with what he called the “Corrupt Bargain” when Speaker of the House Henry Clay (who came in fourth) was named secretary of state. Jackson believed he had been cheated of what should have been his presidency, as he had won the popular vote, but acknowledged defeat by John Quincy Adams.
Mr. Trump continues to believe that Mr. Biden’s backers cheated him out of his second term by virtue of various nefarious activities including (but not limited to) vote harvesting leading to voter fraud.
Jackson so infuriated his detractors that they began referring to him as “Jackass” in the newspapers they controlled and even in public speeches. Jackson turned those insults into positives by adopting the donkey as the symbol of his new Democratic Party.
Mr. Trump took his opponent’s (Hillary Clinton) insult of calling his adherents “deplorables,” and produced a giant “Deplorables” banner that he had carried on stage at a rally, behind the music of “Les Misérables.” He also proudly and quickly adopted the title of “Ultra MAGA” a day after Joe Biden used the term to disparage Trump voters.
In 1828, Jackson won the presidency outright in a landslide, though he continued to rail against the existence of the Electoral College, preferring instead that presidents be elected directly via the popular vote.
In 2020, President Trump received 74.2 million votes for re-election, the most votes ever received by any presidential candidate ever. Except, that is, for the 81.2 million votes attributed to Joe Biden.
Mr. Trump hung a portrait of Jackson in the White House as president.
In any case, a 2024 election looms, and former President Trump is contemplating another run. There are those (such as yours truly) who believe he may do better as “kingmaker,” rather than candidate. While I do think he deserves that second term, especially considering what a disaster this current president has wrought, I also believe Mr. Trump would be more effective backing and endorsing candidates rather than being one himself. His success record in choosing winners is encouraging (Dr. Mehmet Oz, Russell Fry, Adam Laxalt, Herschel Walker, J.D. Vance, etc.). With Mr. Trump in charge of vetting, we’re likely to elect a record number of dedicated free market politicians.
He could be our George Soros.
And, at the same time, he’d be paving the way for an entirely new generation of politicians. As president, Donald J. Trump was among the best. As kingmaker, he could help solidify a Republican majority for the next generation. He’d be doing something desperately needed for the United States of America and desired by a majority of its citizens.
I, like Elon Musk, will vote for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, even if Mr. Trump opposes him in the primaries. However, if Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination, I will most assuredly vote for Donald J. Trump.
James Buckley is a longtime Montecito resident. He welcomes questions or comments at email@example.com. Readers are invited to visit jimb.substack.com, where Jim’s Journals are on file. He also invites people to subscribe to Jim’s Journal.