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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Trump's Populist Rise Like Andrew Jackson

By Newt Gingrich and Craig Shirley

Donald Trump is not unique. He is, in fact, part of a clear populist pattern in American history.

The first great populist rebellion was Thomas Jefferson and James Madison against the Federalist elites. By the end of their insurgency, they had invented the Democratic-Republican Party and the Federalist Party disappeared.

This was a bitter struggle in which the Federalists tried to put their opponents in jail through the Alien and Sedition Acts.

The second great insurgency was Andrew Jackson against the eastern establishment. In 1824, Jackson clearly got the most popular votes but the old order ganged up on him.

There were four major candidates in 1824: Andrew Jackson got 99 electoral votes and 153,544 popular votes. John Quincy Adams followed with 84 electors and 108,740 votes. Then William H. Crawford received 41 electors and 40,856 votes, and finally Henry Clay was chosen by 37 electors and 47,531 votes.

Jackson clearly had less than a majority, but a strong plurality of support. When his competitors ganged up on him to give the election to John Quincy Adams (son of a former president and a classic insider), Jackson's followers exploded with anger.

Trump is gaining ground because Americans are deeply unhappy with their current elites.

When Gallup reports that 75 percent of Americans — 3 out of 4 —believe there is "widespread corruption," it is a sign of deep alienation and anger.

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