Pundits love to laud the 2016 Presidential Election as "unprecedented" - like nothing that has ever come before - when, in reality, it would more properly be viewed as the 'what-if' for the 1824 Presidential Election. Donald Trump shares a great many characteristics with Andrew Jackson, the Hero of the Battle of New Orleans and one of America's greatest Presidents.
Where Jackson was the first native-born child of Irish immigrants, Trump's father was the first native-born child of German immigrants and his mother a Scottish immigrant. Both are fairly tall (Jackson 6'1"; Trump 6'2") with piercing blue eyes and 'unruly' red hair, and both are notorious for their temperament. As was said of Jackson, and is true of Trump:
"Observers likened him to a volcano, and only the most intrepid or recklessly curious cared to see it erupt.... His close associates all had stories of his blood-curling oaths, his summoning of the Almighty to loose His wrath upon some miscreant, typically followed by his own vow to hang the villain or blow him to perdition. Given his record – in duels, brawls, mutiny trials, and summary hearings – listeners had to take his vows seriously."
Like his predecessor nearly two centuries prior, the role of First Lady will not be performed by his wife. In Jackson's case, his wife Rachael died of a heart attack between his election and inauguration; her niece Emily Donelson served in lieu. In Trump's case, his wife Melania has shown a general dislike for the political spotlight; his eldest daughter Ivanka Trump is an ardent activist and is expected to assume many of the duties normally expected of First Ladies.
But perhaps most significant of all is that, in spite of being affluent businessmen with wealthy family connections, they have both been embraced as Champions of the Common Man. Jackson ran as a Democratic-Republican (actually, every 1824 candidate ran as a Democratic-Republican), agreeing with some principles while despising others. He particularly despised Alexander Hamilton's efforts to revoke States' Rights and how his policies caused the national debt to skyrocket! Trump ran as a Republican, similarly agreeing with some partisan issues while despising others. He particularly despises liberals' efforts to revoke States' Rights and how their policies have caused the national debt to skyrocket.
Jackson and Trump both have well-earned reputations as egalitarians. In his era, Jackson was openly mocked for how he 'spoiled' his slaves - their quarters were luxurious compared to most, allowed them to associate freely (rather than forced 'breedings'), and even paid them for their productivity! He openly associated with free blacks, Native Americans, Hispanics, and others whom few would have given the time of day, advancing them on their individual merits rather than the color of their skin. Despite leftist claims to the contrary women in the know consider Trump a champion of gender equality, he garnered near-record support among black voters for a Republican Presidential candidate, and rivaled Reagan in latinos support even in spite of his stances on the southern border and illegal immigration!
Jackson and Trump both have resonated with blue-collar America, becoming the voice of the forgotten man. While liberals praise free trade and open borders from their ivory towers, people living in the real world have become jobless (and some even homeless) through no fault of their own. Liberals preach a gospel of socialist globalization, despite the fact that every socialist nation in history has either already collapsed or is in the process of doing so. Both Jackson and Trump advocate the complete opposite - that every individual has the RIGHT to earn a respectable wage and to reap for themselves the benefits of their own labors.
Of course, the greatest similarity between the 1824 and 2016 Presidential Elections was the collusion of the Democratic Party to install a demagogue to the highest office in the land. Like Hillary Rodham Clinton, John Quincy Adams was a former US Secretary of State who favored high taxes. Like Bernie Sanders, Henry Clay was an old Senator who used his support to bolster his former opponent as part of a last-minute bargain - Clay in favor of Adams in exchange for Secretary of State, though Sanders' deal with Clinton remains unclear.
As with Trump in 2016, Andrew Jackson won the most Electoral Votes while collusion among opponents gave Adams a 5% margin in the overall popular vote. (Most of Clay's 47,531 votes were added to Adams' 113,122 vs Jackson's 151,271 votes.) Similarly, Adams' votes came predominantly from major metropolitan areas while Jackson dominated the map. Impassioned ignorami petitioned, bribed, and even threatened electors and the House to install their demagogue instead of the rightful winner. (Sound familiar?)
The key distinction in this regard was that Trump won an electoral margin sufficient to secure victory in spite of such undemocratic behavior from supposed 'democrats'. In a particularly delicious bit of irony, liberals' protestations that electors "vote their conscience" resulted in nineteen of Hillary's electors refusing to vote for her vs only two Trump electors turning faithless. Fourteen of Hillary's faithless were replaced with electors who cast their votes for her but, excepting the death of a candidate, the remaining five defectors represent the largest turn of faithless electors since Vice-President Richard Johnson in the 1836 Presidential Election!
One other interesting parallel between these two elections:
Back in the Toledo War (1835-1836), the self-entitled elitists of Ohio laid claim to part of Michigan - a narrow strip of land which included the port city of Toledo. Knowing full well that they had no claim to the area, they tried to delegitimize Michigan's claim by branding their opponents "wolverines". While intending an allusion towards the animal's foul stench and abhorrent dietary habits, Michiganians embraced the moniker for its tenacity, viciousness, and fighting prowess. Michigan still prides itself as The Wolverine State and Biff the Wolverine is the University of Michigan's much-beloved mascot.
The Democratic Party itself was so named by Federalists, intending to stigmatize them as purveyors of mob rule (which the Founders wholly despised and sought to avoid at all costs). It was during the campaign leading to the 1824 Election that Jackson's enemies sought to lambast him by branding him a "jackass" and his supporters "hinnies" - alluding to the animals' lack of intelligence and notoriety for spontaneous violence. Running again in 1828, Jackson embraced it as a symbol of the common working class as such animals were ubiquitous as motive power for farms and early industry.
In the wake of Hillary Clinton branding half her opposition a "basket of deplorables", said opposition - whether they supported Trump or not - wholly embraced the moniker. In addition to the media frenzy, it even touched off a merchandising frenzy as people bought out mugs, buttons, t-shirts, and other 'deplorable' merchandise nearly as fast as it could be produced. Of course, Hillary couldn't help but double down by saying she regretted what she said - the part where she said "half".
Yeah... Trying to slander your opposition with vitriolic name-calling has a tendency to backfire - particularly when it comes to Presidential campaigns. Wolverines will tear you a new one, jackasses and hinnies will kick you in the teeth, and deplorables fill their baskets with rue to celebrate your downfall.