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Yahoo! ArtsJul 21, 2019
Trump Is a Symptom of an Age That's Been a Long Time Coming
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily BeastIf you subscribe to the Mark Twain aphorism that "history doesn't repeat itself but it often rhymes," it's worth noting that Twain didn't write it and that the Donald Trump presidency doesn't rhyme with much of anything.We've had hucksters like P.T. Barnum, demagogues like Huey Long, and corrupt politicians like former Illinois governor (and former Apprentice contestant) Rod Blagojevich, but none of those guys got elected president. Richard Nixon was corrupt and did get elected president, but the country turned its back on Nixon when he incriminated himself on his own tape recordings.The election of Donald Trump—a reality TV host with no previous political experience, who was caught on tape saying when you're a celebrity you get to grab women by the you-know-what, and won 2.8 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton—should remove all doubt about the rhyming thing.Instead of Twain, shouldn't the patron saint of American historians be political philosopher Weird Al Yankovich, who cautioned America in the '90s that "everything you know is wrong"? With all due respect to Weird Al, I couldn't get historians Kevin M. Kruse and Julian E. Zelizer to go quite that far when I talked to them about their book Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974.In the last 45 years, Democrats and Republicans started sorting by ideology, judicial appointments became partisan battles, Newt Gingrich turned the House of Representatives into a zero-sum political operation, the Ele
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