Woodrow Wilson

95th Anniversary Of Woodrow Wilson’s Death: The Decline In Historical Reputation, Although Still In Top Quarter Of All Presidents

On February 3, 1924, Woodrow Wilson, who had been in retirement only for nearly three years, died in his home, the Woodrow Wilson House, in Washington DC, at the age of 67.

Wilson had never fully recovered from the massive stroke he suffered on October 2, 1919, and he was unable to gain support of the US Senate for the Versailles Treaty and American membership in the League of Nation that he had fought for when he attended the Peace Treaty negotiations in France, the first President to travel overseas as America’s diplomat.

Wilson had accomplished much domestic legislation that was memorable, including the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Trade Commission Act, the Clayton Antitrust Act, and the first federal labor laws.

But his record on racial segregation was horrendous, and he opposed the woman suffrage movement for a long time. He also presided over massive attacks on civil liberties during the First World War, totally intolerant of dissent.

And his mission to the Versailles Peace Conference ended in failure, as America did not join the League of Nations, and ratified its own peace treaty with Germany and the other nations on the losing side of the war.

Wilson’s reputation for his accomplishments kept him in the top ten of all Presidents for many decades, but lately he has come under fire, and his spot in the Presidential polls of scholars has declined. He is now out of the top ten at number 11 in the C Span Presidential Poll of historians conducted in 2017, after having earlier been number 6 in 2000, and number 9 in 2009. The American Political Science poll of Political Science professors had pegged Wilson at number 10 in 2014, and in 2018, he slipped to number 11, the same as the most recent C Span poll.

The troubling part is that Wilson fell behind Ronald Reagan and Lyndon B. Johnson in the recent polling, and is only 15 points ahead in the C Span 2017 poll over number 12, Barack Obama, just as he left the Presidency.

So do not be surprised that Wilson will likely slip to number 12 in the next polling, with Obama surging ahead of him, as Obama looks ever better in comparison to Donald Trump, who ended up at the bottom of the APSA 2018 poll as number 44 out of 44.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

Trump’s Border Wall Is Not Based On National Security, But Simply Pure Racism Against Darker Skinned People

Trump’s insistence on a border wall with Mexico is NOT based on concerns about national security, as there is little danger of that, and statistics demonstrate that most people we would term “terrorists” come through airports or ports of entry, not by walking or traveling through the difficult terrain that Central American migrants escaping violence, sexual abuse, and gang violence have used to pursue freedom and a new chance on a decent life for what is mostly women and children.

Yes, there is the problem of cocaine and other drugs coming to America, but it mostly goes through elaborate tunnels that have been constructed, are very sophisticated, and are extremely numerous in number and hard to detect by drug agents and border agents.

So why is Donald Trump pursuing this, despite two thirds of the American people being opposed to it, and wanting the end of the crippling federal government shutdown that is impoverishing millions, not just the actual federal workers and their families, but subsidiary businesses that are suffering from the lack of economic activity that has ensued?

Clearly, it is pure racism against darker skinned people, who Trump sees as inferior, and we have already heard his disgraceful, despicable comments about people from Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America, as well as from Asian countries.

We have never had a President as racist as Donald Trump. Yes, we had Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson, Woodrow Wilson,and all of the slave holding Presidents. We also had others who we know had the tendency to be racist in their language, such as Richard Nixon on the Watergate tapes, and in earlier lives, such as Harry Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson. But Trump is far worse than any of these, and has been his entire life, including when he was a landlord with his father back in the 1970s in New York City, and in many other situations ever since.

Trump is a combination of the worst racists of modern times in America—the dead Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, and George Wallace; and those who are alive, including Pat Buchanan, David Duke, and Richard Spencer, among others.

The only time we had to worry about such a personality on the Presidential level was George Wallace in 1968, but he ran on a third party, winning five states and 13.5 percent of the vote, so could not win the Presidency.

And even George Wallace, in later years, after the assassination attempt by Arthur Bremer in 1972 left him paralyzed for life, changed his views, asked for forgiveness for his racism, and was accepted as reformed by many in the Civil Rights Movement.

There is no hope for Donald Trump in this regard, and his racism will always mark him as, certainly for modern times, the worst person on the race issue, without any chance of redemption.

Growing Likelihood Of Challengers To Donald Trump For GOP Presidential Nomination In 2020

With Donald Trump being “individual No. 1”, clearly the center of probes by Robert Mueller, the Special Counsel, and also by the Southern District of New York, the likelihood grows of Republicans, who have just come off a 40 seat loss in the House and control of the lower chamber, being alarmed enough that serious challengers to Donald Trump’s nomination for a second term seem likely.

One can expect the following Republicans to consider challenges to Trump.

Outgoing Ohio Governor John Kasich.

Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse.

Utah Senator Mitt Romney, the 2012 Presidential nominee.

Outgoing Arizona Senator Jeff Flake.

Former South Carolina Governor and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley.

There could be others as well, but this list seems quite realistic, although the more that challenge Trump, the less likely there would be success.

It would be much easier if only one challenger took the bait, and went after Trump.

One can think back to 1979-1980, when President Jimmy Carter was challenged by both Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy and California Governor Jerry Brown.  

The one thing about even one challenger to a sitting President is that the result has been that while the President won the nomination, he ended up losing the election, with three of the four times losing massively.

William Howard Taft won only 23 percent in 1912 after being challenged by former President Theodore Roosevelt, and having to deal with TR as the Progressive Party nominee, as well as Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson.

Jimmy Carter won only 41 percent in 1980 after being challenged by Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown, and having to deal with an independent nominee, John Anderson, as well as Republican nominee Ronald Reagan.

George H. W.  Bush won only 37 percent in 1992 after being challenged by Pat Buchanan, and having to deal with independent nominee Ross Perot and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton.

At this point, before we begin the new year, it would seem as if John Kasich would have the upper hand on a challenge over others, and that Ben Sasse, representing a new generation of conservative leadership, would be an additional major challenge to Trump, were Sasse willing to mount a campaign.

Of course, any challenge to Trump would also be indirectly a challenge to Vice President Mike Pence as the “heir apparent”.

The Death Of The 41st President, George H. W. Bush, At Age 94

This blogger woke up this morning to the news that the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush, had died last night (November 30) at age 94, and five and a half months.

He had the longest life span of any President, although former President Jimmy Carter will surpass him in age on March 22, 2019.

Bush was one of the most experienced Presidents, with a tremendous resume particularly on national security and foreign policy issues. This included being a Houston, Texas, Congressman; United Nations Ambassador; Republican National Committee Chairman; Second Chief of the Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China; Central Intelligence Agency Director; Vice President of the United States for two terms under President Ronald Reagan; and President of the United States for one term from 1989-1993.

Bush was an honorable, decent man, who knew his own shortcomings and admitted to it, but although he was the first Vice President to succeed his President by election since Martin Van Buren in 1836 after Andrew Jackson, he was unable to win a second term, losing to future President Bill Clinton, in an election which included businessman Ross Perot, who managed as an independent candidate to win 19 percent of the vote. This led to Bush having the second worst defeat for a sitting President, with 37 percent, only ahead of President William Howard Taft in 1912, gaining only 23 percent of the vote in a three way race with Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt.

Bush will be best remembered for his leadership in the Persian Gulf War of 1991 against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein; his helping to end the Cold War with Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev and usher in the unification of Germany; the promotion of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada; the concept of a “Thousand Points of Light” to encourage local activism to solve problems; the signing into law of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 to provide equal opportunity for those Americans with disabilities; and the appointment of two Supreme Court Justices, David Souter and Clarence Thomas.

His decision to support tax increases caused a challenge by conservatives, led by Pat Buchanan, in the primaries of 1992, which he overcame, but that plus the recession America was suffering at the time of the election, along with the challenge of not just Bill Clinton, but Ross Perot, making the campaign a three way race, led to his defeat.

Bush lived to see his son George W. Bush become President, only the second such situation, after John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and he had nearly 26 years of retirement, and the longest Presidential marriage, until his beloved wife Barbara died in April, after 73 plus years of a devoted couple, who brought up five children.

Bush is ranked near the middle of all Presidents, generally between 17 and 20, depending on the poll of 44 Presidents, with his failure to win a second term a factor in why he has not risen higher.

His impact on America, however, has been massive, and it is likely his ranking among Presidents will rise in the coming years.

Presidents In Conflict With The Judiciary Are Nothing New Historically, But Trump Could Be The Biggest Threat Yet To Our Constitutional System

The conflict of President Donald Trump with the judiciary is not the first time there has been a challenge from a President to the judicial branch.

Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson had regular conflict with Chief Justice John Marshall and the federal courts in the first third of the 19th century.

Abraham Lincoln had vehement disagreements with Chief Justice Roger Taney in the era of the Civil War.

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson both found the Supreme Court as standing in the way of progressive reform in the early 20th century.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was so frustrated by a conservative Supreme Court negating important legislation of the New Deal in the mid 1930s, that he proposed the idea of adding six new Justices to the Court in 1937. This came to be known as the “Court Packing” plan, and was soundly defeated, including by members of his own Democratic Party.

Richard Nixon had issues with the rulings of the Earl Warren Court before he was President, and the continued Warren influence on the Court under his successor, Warren Burger. And, Nixon was stopped dead in his tracks in US. V. Nixon in 1974, forcing him to hand over the Watergate Tapes to the Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, leading him to resign the Presidency in August 1974.

Barack Obama was critical of the John Roberts Court on its conservative decisions early on in his Presidency in 2010.

And now, Donald Trump has unleashed what many consider the strongest challenge to the whole federal judiciary, alarming many constitutional experts as far more dangerous and threatening to the checks and balances of the Constitution and the separation of powers.

It is clear that Trump has declared war on the judiciary, but it could be that the Roberts Court will smack back at him when cases regarding his abuse of power make it to the Court, so Trump may be “hoist by hid own petard”, and regret the attacks he has made on the whole court system.

One Hundred Years Since End Of The First World War: Nothing Learned From Sacrifices Of That War, And Danger Of Another World War

It has been precisely one hundred years, a full century, since the “Great War”, the First World War, ended on November 11, 1918. About 18 million military and civilians died in that war, as well as about 125,000 Americans, the second highest loss of life in America after the Civil War, and until the Second World War surpassed it, at least doubling the American loss of life in the First World War.

What Woodrow Wilson called “the war to end all wars” did anything but that, leading within a generation to the Second World War, followed by many other regional wars, and the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union from 1945-1991.

Now we have the age of world wide terrorism, and growing danger of another world war, and Donald Trump is in the midst of creating the conditions that would lead to this third World War.

America and the world have not learned from the sacrifices a century ago, as politics, religion, and egotism continue to cause conflict, and we are now moving closer to authoritarianism in the world than we have seen since the end of the Cold War a quarter century ago.

And Trump has disgraced the commemoration in France this weekend by failing to travel to a cemetery that contains many Americans and others who sacrificed for our nation a century ago.

And his promotion of extreme nationalism over patriotism has been rebuked appropriately by French President Emmanuel Macron.

This is a President who has not yet gone to a combat zone, as every other President has done, and is working to privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs, which would be a true disaster, and hopefully will be stopped by the 116th Congress, with a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.

The Midterm Elections Of 2018 Come Down To A Referendum On Donald Trump

It is now certain that the Midterm Elections of 2018 are a referendum on Donald Trump, in a way unseen since at least when Richard Nixon went out and campaigned in the midterm 1970 elections.

Donald Trump is becoming more unstable and reckless by the day, and by his nonstop campaigning in states with Democrats in the Senate, but support for Donald Trump in 2016, the results will be seen as either a repudiation or an endorsement of the President.

Trump is behaving in a more erratic manner than ever before, including talk about ending birthright citizenship by executive order, even though even conservatives make it clear that cannot be accomplished other than by a constitutional amendment.

Trump is also claiming he is sending thousands of soldiers to the Mexico border, more than we have seen since Woodrow Wilson was President a century ago, during the Mexican Revolution, although it seems the Pentagon has no such plans actually to do so.

Trump is making Central American refugees, mostly women and children, seem like a terrorist, drug dealing, criminal mob, and now has even stated that if any refugees show any sign of throwing rocks at soldiers, then he will order the troops to use firearms against these people.

This would remind us of what happened at Kent State University in 1970, when National Guardsmen opened up fire with live ammunition against a demonstration of students against the invasion of Cambodia, and killed four and wounded nine.

Trump is lying to scare voters, instill fear, and make people hate migrants (poor women and their children) who are simply escaping bloodshed, violence, and gangs trying to recruit their children in nations that have fallen into disarray by American policy over the last few decades.

If this awful scenario were ever to occur, it would be grounds for nationwide marches and demonstrations, as to shoot and kill unarmed people who just have rocks, would be a war crime.

This is yet another reason why it is urgent that Donald Trump be repudiated next Tuesday, and that the Republicans be defeated nationwide, as otherwise, the horrors of a declaration of martial law, and the establishment of a Fascist dictatorship will be on us, and our democracy will be destroyed.

Future generations will look at such an event as the most horrific possible moment in US history, and it is possible to imagine a civil war breaking out, which our rivals in the world would love to see happen, as it would destroy the world leadership of the United States in a way that would not be retrievable for decades.

One Term Presidents Who Lose Reelection Reassessed

The historical image of One Term Presidents is that it is the worst thing imaginable to lose reelection, and that their historical image is damaged.

Actually, though, it could be argued that a one term Presidency often is a blessing in disguise in the long run.

Let’s examine what happened to the lives of Presidents defeated for a second term.

John Adams lost reelection to Thomas Jefferson in 1800, but went on to live another 25 years, see his son John Quincy Adams be elected and inaugurated President, and die at the age of 90 years and seven months, the all time record until the 21st century, when four other Presidents surpassed him in age.

John Quincy Adams lost reelection to Andrew Jackson in 1828, but went on to live another 19 years, and be elected to nine terms as a Congressman from Massachusetts, engaged in the fight against slavery as the only President elected by popular vote to an elected office after being President.

Martin Van Buren lost reelection to William Henry Harrison in 1840, but went on to live another 21 years, and be the Presidential nominee of the Free Soil Party in 1848, winning about 10 percent of the national popular vote, the first such third party to have an impact on a national election.

Grover Cleveland lost reelection to Benjamin Harrison in 1888, but came back to the White House by election in 1892, and later served on the Princeton University Board of Trustees after his retirement.

William Howard Taft lost reelection to Woodrow Wilson in 1912, but went on to become the only President also to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930.

Herbert Hoover lost reelection to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, but went on to the longest retirement of more than 31 years, only surpassed by Jimmy Carter in 2012, and Hoover having growing respect for his post Presidential activities, and dying at the age of 90 in 1964, only five months less lifespan than John Adams, and the second President to reach that age.

Gerald Ford lost election to Jimmy Carter in 1976, after succeeding Richard Nixon under the 25th Amendment, but went on to growing recognition and respect in his nearly 30 years after his Presidency, setting the record for longevity until 2018, dying at the age of 93 and five months.

Jimmy Carter lost reelection to Ronald Reagan in 1980, but went on to become the most outstanding former President in his activities and commitments to public service, and has had the longest retirement of any President, nearly 38 years, and has just reached the age of 94, being 111 days younger than George H. W. Bush.

George H. W. Bush lost reelection to Bill Clinton in 1992, but went on to see his son, George W. Bush be inaugurated and serve two terms in the Presidency, and growing respect as he set the all time record of age 94 in June 2018.

On Constitution Day, Reflection On Danger To Our Constitutional Order From Nearly Two Years Of Donald Trump

Today, September 17, is the 231st anniversary of the signing of the Constitution in Philadelphia by 39 delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

Every public school and public university is required, and rightfully, by federal law, to commemorate this path breaking event, and educate the future generation, and indirectly, all of the American people on the significance of what was done by the Founding Father generation.

This year, more than ever, being educated and aware of the the details and meaning of the Constitution is urgent, as America faces a lawless, corrupt President, with the most corrupt group of Cabinet officers we have ever seen in American history.

We are witnessing a wrecking crew, out to destroy the stability of American foreign policy, and to damage the great domestic reforms in so many areas, brought us by many Presidents and Congresses. This is particularly so with those accomplishments internally of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Barack Obama, the four Presidents who had the most impact of all of our Presidents since Theodore Roosevelt onward, but with other Presidents also being important in their contributions.

The crisis now faced is greater than any since the Civil War, and more of a threat than even Richard Nixon was four and a half decades ago.

It will be through the utilization of the principles of the Constitution that Donald Trump will be removed from office.