TTP: Thoughts Over Wine Tonight–The 1832 Election And The 2020 Election

Tonight I have the blessed privilege to enjoy a glass of wine with some very good folks. I’ll be talking briefly with the members of the Westfield (IN) GOP Club at Wolfies in Westfield. My topic is as savory as the pinot noir–the lessons of 1832 for 2020.

You see, I’ve maintained that Andrew Jackson was the first quasi-Donald Trump. So, it’s natural for me to suggest that we can gain a lot of wisdom and insight in looking at Jackson’s re-election victory in 1832 as a test case for 2020. Of course, my working assumption is that Trump will in fact seek and secure nomination for re-election. Let’s assume that is true.

Now, what does 1832 say about 2020? I believe four things are critical to know from then to now.

  1. Jackson succeeded in taking total control and domination over his political party (Democrats). A struggle was required, often rough and raw-boned at times. Nevertheless, by 1832 and his formal pursuit of a re-election victory, Jackson was the undisputed voice and symbol of his political party. The story of getting to that point both cemented and demonstrated his mastery of this very key resource.
  2. Jackson fought like a tiger against the opposing political party. Claws and fangs. To switch to football terminology, he went on offense and stayed on offense. Month after month, he seized upon issues that were important to his opponents. He made them his own and kept them constantly off-balance. Aggressive, provocative, unpredictable, Jackson displayed each of these characteristics in pushing hard against his rival party.
  3. Jackson accepted the challenge of tackling the major issues of the day, no matter how enormous their implication. He didn’t side-step or down-play. Indeed, he seemed to relish it. And rather than defaulting to various safe positions, he sought actual resolution of these issues. Shockingly, he achieved resolution, too.
  4. Jackson both produced and benefited from a palpable sense of momentum. I have to admit that this sort of intangible feeling may be easier to detect in hindsight (from a later vantage point), but I also must say that it’s entirely possible the people of 1832 knew it as well. In fact, in writing this, I tend to think they understood they were living out this momentum. Such a real-time understanding doesn’t diminish their sense of anxiety or nervousness at not knowing how it all turns out.

These are the four items on my 1832 checklist. Using this historical experience, you will be able to say “yes” or “no” as to each item in 2020. You may have a prospective answer now. Leave room to change, however, because that’s what the River of Life demands.

Thanks for reading. Raising my glass, I say, “Here’s to you!”

All the best, Dan