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Presidential historian: Trump's "finger-on-the-pulse" campaign reminiscent of Jackson, Nixon

Nov 14, 2016

 

There’s no better way to understand what lies ahead than to take a look at our history.

Gleaves Whitney sat down with us today to talk about what history might tell us about Donald Trump’s Election Day victory and the turmoil and division that’s been left in the wake of this long, tough campaign.

Whitney directs Grand Valley State University’s Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies.

We spoke with Whitney last spring about the blunt, course tone Trump was taking in his presidential campaign. There was certainly more of that as the months rolled on, and yet here we are, talking about President-elect Donald Trump.

According to Whitney, that tone helped Trump attain the highest office in the land.

“The country is in a populist mood,” he told us. “The Republican party, which used to be very much a bifurcated party, which is to say that you had your elites … and then you have the populists. There have been people in the past such as Ronald Reagan who were able to bring those two together.”

“Well, the elites got left out in the cold in this election and the populists really won the day. Donald Trump has demonstrated he was in tune. He has a genius for reaching these folks and they came out for him,” he said.

In our conversation above, Whitney talks us through some historical lessons that could shed some light on what we might expect from Trump’s presidency.

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