Unlike many people, I don’t share in the same kind of gloom or elation about the current or future White House occupant. I get why a lot of people do, but I don’t get worked up over it because the United States has fought for its life, undergone one of the world’s worst civil wars, slavery, and has had all manner of Presidents. I find comfort in that, even when things seem grim. It’s worth remembering we’ve gone through harder things.
And we’ve had all manner of personalities in the White House.
Calvin Coolidge barely did anything at all, on purpose. Some people like that, some people don’t. James Buchanan is arguably the worst President in US history on account when he was still in office states began to secede from the Union. Say what you will about Trump and how divided this country feels, at least we’re still holding on to Charleston.
Lincoln and Kennedy both benefit from having died at, for lack of a better word, what was the “right time” for the benefit of their legacy.
Harry Truman was a far better President than people thought for nearly fifty years after his time ended. Eisenhower’s status was always great, and grew even higher.
John Adams has the distinction of being the only Founder-turned-President to not own slaves, likely because his wife Abbigail was vehemently opposed. (Ben Franklin also never owned slaves, one of the few among Founders.)
Theodore Roosevelt was so charismatic he established the modern template for being a progressive (he ran under the Republican label, a tag modern Republicans like to claim, a la Lincoln.). T.R. almost narrowly became America’s only third-party President under the Bull Moose banner, but lost and threw the election to Woodrow Wilson, who would be less-than-ready for the job. A job that included dealing with a pandemic and a World War.
Thomas Jefferson thought the ideal America would be everyone owning and farming their own land. James Monroe was the right man at the time, but was derided for being old-fashioned. He was the last of the Founders to become President.
Andrew Jackson was a real figure. Andrew Johnson was saved from impeachment by 1 vote. Nixon, of course, resigned in disgrace. James A. Garfield only served as President for 90 days, most of the time spent dying a slow death from an assassin’s bullet. It’s arguably the best thing he did. A native of Ohio, he was respected and liked by northerners and southerners and his death galvanized a nation still healing from the Civil War.
We’ve had conservatives and progressives, Federalists and Democratic-Republicans. Many were and are racist and sexist (looking at you, Harding), many were and are not. Some were just the product of their time.
People’s beliefs and the country’s policies toward social issues have vacillated all over the place for a long time even when public opinion seemingly hasn’t.
Corruption used to be far worse, at a greater scale, and more rampant. Theodore Roosevelt only became President after McKinkey was shot, and he was VP only because party bosses in New York didn’t like his honesty and wanted him to go away.
Vote-stealing and campaign trickery is as old as the country on all sides and parties, like with Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Warren Harding. Many have committed things that are arguably impeachable offenses, like Trump, Obama, Bush, Regan, Cleveland, Johnson, Buchanan, and Jackson.
I don’t think tonight’s going to be a real drawn-out affair. We may not know who the President is by tonight, but I bet we do within 24 hours. And I believe that’ll be Joe Biden.
Nationally, Republicans will retain control of Governorships. I doubt there’s many switches in the House and Democrats will retain a narrow margin. The Senate is likely to be an even narrower margin of Republican control, by about a seat or two.
In Indiana, Holcomb will win comfortably, as will most Republicans in the State House’s top seats.
President Kamala Harris
A few years ago I read Write it When I’m Gone, a book Gerald Ford sat down for with Newsweek reporter Thomas DeFrank. Ford allowed DeFrank open access to him multiple times with the caveat he couldn’t publish anything until after Ford’s death.
In it, Ford revealed as early as Bill Clinton’s Governorship that Hillary was “going to run for President someday, probably in 2004.” He was very close. And he said she’d lose “because America won’t be ready for a woman president” even though he thought she’d be a good one.
Likewise, he mused that America’s path to a female presidency would be through the Vice President’s office. Ford was very sure that a woman would become VP, the President would die, and then she’d be ushered into the Oval Office. “And then the gates will be open,” he said.
Joe Biden and Donald Trump are both old at 77 and 74 respectively. No matter which one of them wins, they’ll be the oldest Presidents in office ever. Trump was already the oldest in 2016 at 70.
If and when Joe Biden wins, he’ll be the oldest still. And while I wish no ill on anyone, Ford’s eerily good predictions stick out to me and make me think we’ll be seeing President Harris soon.