TTP: Second Story

We’re reading a lot about Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson these days. That’s good. We should be. I’ve been among the several folks writing about it. You’ve seen that in these pages.

However, there is an additional story that you now need to know. It’s the second story of three that I’ve determined are critical to understanding the Presidency of Donald Trump. In a way, you’ll see it in the photo above, in those thin green shoots coming from the dead stump.

A Democratic senator from Illinois wrote, “It will raise a hell of a storm.” Another Illinois Democrat, formerly a senator, wrote it is “the defining struggle of this generation.”

Both Democrats were right. But what they didn’t know was a connection would tie them together. 

The first quote is from Stephen Douglas, expressed in 1854. He referred to the Kansas-Nebraska Act of that year. The law, which he sponsored, destroyed the existing framework for dealing with slavery and the appearance of new territories and states in the American union. In the destruction, in the rotting of the tree, a new political party, the Republican Party, took root.

The second quote is from Barack Obama, expressed in 2009. He referred to the then-developing Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, as some called it. In response, a new political force, loosely known as the Tea Party, gathered strength and momentum and began to overhaul the Republican Party.

The tie between these two Illinois Democrats is the dynamic of a political party being born and founded, and another political party being re-born and re-founded. That’s the link between the mid-1850s and 2017. We are reliving this dynamic and it will both affect and be affected by President Donald Trump.

Douglas and Obama alike spoke of the defining cause of their respective generations and eras—slavery in the 1850s and health care in the 2010s. The issues are related in that they sweep across vast portions of American life, penetrate straight to the innermost heart of personal liberty and well-being, join with countless other aspects of communities and citizenship, and inevitably require an unprecedented extent of governmental, civic, and social involvement in order to produce deep change. I’m not equating them as laws or policies. I am equating them as issues towering over the American nation in their respective times.

Most importantly for The Trump Project, both issues produced an upheaval in the organized entities that defined the American political system. I’m referring to the major political parties. And that’s why I hold up the mid-1850s and the birth/founding of the Republican Party as a vehicle for exploring the re-birth/re-founding of BOTH the Republican and Democratic Parties surrounding the Trump White House today.

Mark their words–“hell” and “storm”, “struggle” and “defining.” You’ll see and feel them in the unfolding story of the American Healthcare Act of 2017. If you’ve paid attention to news coverage the past day or so, you know what I mean. I’ll help you use the mid-1850s to light the weeks and months to come.

Action-Point: lessons from founding and birth can be uncovered in the challenge of re-founding and re-birth.

Next time: 7 quick lessons from the mid-1850s for the rebirthing and refounding occurring in today’s political parties.