I would think, though, that hearing something like “the last time a presidential candidate promised to ‘make America great again’ it was Richard Nixon” would be an alarm bell to folks.
I’ve been reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Quite apart from being the inspiration for the musical Hamilton, it’s a fascinating study of American politics right from the very beginning, including the birth of the two-party system. It’s both alarming and amusing to see that General Alexander Hamilton, a genuine Revolutionary war hero who was Washington’s most trusted aide-de-camp, who took only one break from the fighting in a five-year span (to ride to Albany to get married), was perhaps the first to be “Swift-boated” by his enemies. Vehemently opposed to Hamilton's desire to see a strong central government, Thomas Jefferson and his followers (Republicans, who really became the Southern Democrats) managed to turn him into a sniveling coward who loved the British and longed to be reunited with England. The amount of vitriol that passed between those two was truly remarkable... and make today's sniping really seem sort of, well, ordinary. No one's out there dueling or thrashing each other with canes anymore, anyway.
I also learned in this book that during the last months of his presidency, John Adams appointed numerous circuit judges in defiance of Republicans who wanted the appointments to wait until the next president (Jefferson) took office. Honestly.
So one of the next books I’ll be reading is David McCullough’s “John Adams,” which I’ll admit I bought some time ago and just have never gotten around to reading. I also picked up Cokie Robert’s book “Founding Mothers,” which tells the story from the ladies POV, which, going by the introduction I read, was much more difficult because the women didn’t save their writing the way the men did!
Speaking of women and politics, it burns me deeply that Americans are STILL so afraid of women that we’re apparently willing to elect an orange-skinned moronic bigot rather than a strong, capable woman because she’s “not warm enough” and she’s made a few careless blunders in her career. She’s by far and away the most qualified of all the people who tried to run for president this time out, but because she's not "cuddly," it's easy to snipe at her.
If Hillary was a man she’d be considered strong and tough. Oh, she’d still be in the Republican crosshairs because she happens to be Democrat, because that’s all that’s really needed to be painted with as vicious a brush as possible (certainly that’s all that was needed for Obama, who has proven to be one of the most uncorrupted presidents of all time--not the smallest whiff of scandal in eight years). But because she’s a woman, they’ve made her into every kind of bad thing when honestly – she’s not that bad. In fact, she’s tested as one of the most trustworthy of the presidential candidates this time around – according to PolitiFact she has only rated as 1% “Pants on Fire” with an 11% just “False.” Trump? A whopping 19% “Pants on Fire,” with 40% “False.” (To be completely fair, Bernie Sanders has 0% “Pants on Fire” and only 12% “False.”)
It's a strange and fascinating animal, American politics.
"But being ruined by taxes is not the worst you have to fear. What security would you have for your lives? How can any of you be sure you would have the free enjoyment of your religion long? Would you put your religion in the power of any set of men living? Remember civil and religious liberty always go together: if the foundation of the one be sapped, the other will fail of course.”
― Alexander Hamilton