by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It is remarkable how, after having been president of the United States for more than a year, Trump still tweets as if he is an outsider in the government.
In a sense, he still is.
To appreciate why this is, it is useful to compare Trump with President Andrew Jackson, the seventh president, whom Trump considers a role model.
Jackson, like Trump, was seen as an outsider, though Jackson had an extensive history of military service as well as stints in the United States Senate. Both Jackson and Trump presented themselves as representatives of the people against an established order.
But whereas Trump has mostly limited himself to complaining about the “swamp,” Jackson did something about it. For instance, he established the principle of “rotation in office,” ending the tenure of many longstanding government officials, who were replaced with Jacksonian loyalists. Rotation in office eventually evolved into the spoils system, whereby the leaders of the major political parties used federal jobs, contracts, and licenses to reward their campaign subordinates. But Jackson initially justified it in republican terms: There was no need for a single group of people to permanently occupy offices that could be held by one and all.