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Trump Takes a Page From Andrew Jackson Playbook

By Monday, 23 May 2016 10:16 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Following the inauguration of the seventh president of the United States in 1829, there was a raucous house at the White House in Washington D.C. Huge tubs of whiskey were placed out on the White House lawn. Guests climbed in and out through windows, stood on furniture and roamed freely through the mansion.

The guests were celebrating the election of Andrew Jackson. They were, however, celebrating something much more profound than just the election of another president. They were celebrating the election of one of their own.

All presidents before Jackson had been from what we might refer to as the upper crust of society. Men like Washington and Jefferson, however great, were wealthy, landed planters from the East Coast and had little direct connection to the average working man. They might have been great statesmen and revered for their role in the formation of the republic, but they could never truly speak for everyday Americans, as Jackson did.

Jackson was something fundamentally different. He was born in the backwoods of South Carolina. He spent his entire life on the frontier. He could be vulgar. He could be belligerent. To the men and women in the lower strata of American society he was a hero.

In electing Jackson, the American people were beginning what many political scientists refer to as the true American Revolution. They were overturning the existing social order. They were taking control. American politics were never the same again.

This coming January, we will have another inauguration in Washington DC. The after party is unlikely to be as wild as that in 1829. It may be just as transformative.

Ever since Donald Trump began his campaign he has been dismissed as something significantly less than a serious candidate. That sort of dismissive analysis continues to this day. It has been proven wrong so far, and it is likely to be proven just as wrong in the future.

Democratic strategists cling to the belief that Trump represents a relatively small segment of the population; primarily old white men; misogynistic, racist and lashing out at a society that has left them behind. Democratic strategists comfort themselves with the sure knowledge that in the general election the population as a whole will rise up, swamp this relatively small number of people, put Hillary Clinton in the White House and restore both the House and the Senate to Democratic control.

Not likely.

Bewildered Republican strategists who dismissed Trump early on continue to believe that if only those supporting him come to see the true Donald Trump they will turn against him and vote for decorum and the status quo.

Even less likely.

Those supporting Trump are fully conscious of his many flaws. What all of the commentators have failed to recognize is that Donald Trump has become a lightning rod for a truly massive political movement in this nation. Whether this has been the product of some particular brilliance on his part or whether he is simply in the right place at the right time is unclear but it is nonetheless true.

All across America, there are tens of millions of middle-class and working-class Americans who are simply fed up.

For decades now, they have watched their standard of living decline. They have had to work ever harder to pay the bills and keep the lights on. Their children are graduating from school now and unable to find work.

They look at American society, and they feel that something is fundamentally wrong. The one percent of the population at the top of the heap are wealthier than they have ever been. At the other end of the spectrum are a growing number of individuals who do not appear to contribute to society but who enjoy tremendous government benefits.

They look at our southern border and they seem millions of individuals streaming into our nation illegally while the government sits on its hands.

They see factory after factory closing and work going abroad. They see immigrants being brought to take American jobs, and all too often they are forced to train these individuals before giving them their jobs.

Year after year, they go to the polls, send politicians to Washington to bring about change, and then watch as these newly elected officials become part of the problem — not the solution.

They see in Trump something different. He may be coarse. He may be vulgar. He may be figuratively speaking standing in the street, throwing rocks at windows and screaming insults. What matters is that the people behind him have reached the point where they want to break windows and scream insults as well.

We may see a President Clinton being inaugurated in 2017. There is more than a slim possibility, however, that we may see Donald Trump taking the oath of office. We need to understand that and what it means. For better or worse American politics may never be the same.

Charles S. Faddis, president of Orion Strategic Services, LLC, is a former CIA operations officer with 20 years of experience in the conduct of intelligence operations. He is the senior intelligence editor for AND Magazine and a contributor to a wide variety of counterterrorism and homeland security journals. He is author of "Operation Hotel California." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Ever since Donald Trump began his campaign he has been dismissed as something significantly less than a serious candidate.
jackson, trump, inauguration, american
Monday, 23 May 2016 10:16 AM
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