Granted, it seems that for every oddity in American history that there seems to be a modern Trumpian parallel. Still, we should take solace in America’s colorful history—and I’m just scratching the surface (Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, FDR tried to pack the courts, JFK’s FBI spied on Martin Luther King).
“The good old days are largely good because we have survived them,” observes presidential historian David Pietrusza, “but they could be pretty brutal. Politics was a contact sport. Voter fraud plagued not only elections in Tammany Hall but tainted “Landslide Lyndon” Johnson’s election to the US Senate in 1948 and JFK’s election to the White House in 1960. Joe McCarthy termed a colleague “a living miracle without brains or guts.” Harry Truman basically called Tom Dewey a fascist in 1948, but he had it right when he said, “If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen.” If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of politics.