Is President Trump the new Andrew Jackson? RealClearPolitics’ Thomas Chambers makes an interesting argument for it. Excerpt:
Like the current president, Jackson was unpredictable, even considered wild by some. He drank heavily early in life, but later swore off spirits completely, as has Trump who claims he’s never touched a drop of liquor. Though Jackson lacked a formal education and Trump possesses an Ivy league degree, neither would be considered among the gentry and both might be labeled anti-intellectual, as when Trump claims he learns most of what he knows from “watching the TV shows.” There is a commonality of reckless youth followed by piousness. Trump was sent to military school as a teenager.
In his personal life, Jackson was accused of condoning bigamy because his wife was married to another man when they began living together. As is well-known, President Trump has been married three times, though at distinctly different intervals. These marital scandals plagued both men for years.
Once in the White House, there are also many striking comparisons, even considering the Trump presidency remains in its nascent stages.
Both men have seen themselves as guardians of the Constitution – according to their own personal interpretations – and as protectors of the people. But, they have also shared a craving for power. Jackson was sometimes referred to as King Andrew I, one who, like his 21st century counterpart, thought he could do anything he wanted. Trump sign executive orders in rapid succession.
As with Trump, Jackson fought with his opponents and with members of his own party. He was unpredictable and quick to anger. He even expressed himself publicly, not using Twitter, but via open letters to friends that were reprinted in newspapers. The trusted close advisers in both administrations, chosen for their loyalty, not expertise, have been looked upon unfavorably. Jackson’s “kitchen cabinet,” unofficial consultants who paralleled the presidential cabinet, caused a great deal of consternation. His real cabinet was made up of businessmen and politicians whom he thought he would control.
There’s one major difference, and it is one that makes President Trump unlike any of his 44 predecessors in the Imperial Mansion; even unlike Jackson. Old Hickory commanded troops as a general. Since his day, there have been several former military men in the Imperial Mansion, Grant and Eisenhower foremost among them. But Donald Trump is the first man to hold the office without having ever been a military man or a politician.
His campaign broke lots of rules; his Presidency, nascent though it is, is shattering lots of old reliable traditions for politics. It’s true, Jackson did much the same, but he had much, much less precedent to shatter.
It’s really too early to draw these kinds of comparisons. We have four interesting years ahead – maybe at the end of the Age of Trump we may have a better idea how history will view him.