Republicans were unhappy with Obama. Now the United States has a president-elect who Democrats (and not a few Republicans) think is a dangerous affront to our society. President-elect Trump’s supporters contend that the people have spoken and have rejected the self-serving opinions of the elites.
What would Jefferson say today?
In the early America of the 1790s, Alexander Hamilton felt his archenemy Aaron Burr was an existential risk to the young republic in 1800. Hamilton convinced his own Federalist party to support their nemesis Thomas Jefferson as president instead. Hamilton’s support of Jefferson infuriated the vindictive Burr, who shot him dead four years later. The young republic was vulnerable, making all politics personal, not partisan. Today, despite the rancor between our candidates, we have centuries of peaceful transitions and institutions to protect our Constitution.
The founding fathers’ wisdom still impresses. If we disagree with the outcome of an election, Jefferson said, we must still let the people have their say. Wisdom will eventually emerge and the people will simply elect someone else. Elite rule is the greater danger, he said repeatedly, to the consternation of Alexander Hamilton, who feared direct democracy.
In this video I address the 2016 stunning electoral upset in the 2016 election and what it means to a deeply divided nation.
If you want to understand why the founders created the electoral college or why Andrew Jackson can be compared to Donald Trump (and Hillary Clinton to John Quincy Adams), refer to my video series and post, respectively. We haven’t had a populist win the presidency since Andrew Jackson, as I explain in “The Perils of Populism.”
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