Recently, I've heard some folks that want to do the comparison between Donald Trump and Andrew Jackson.
Over at Sic Semper Tyrannis: Is it 1828 again? and Jackson Part Two By Richard Sale
And also at Fabius Maximus: What the press won’t tell you about Trump and populism
Also the NYTimes: Donald Trump's Secret? Channeling Andrew Jackson
The similarities between these men is so superficial that I find the comparison more illuminating of those making the comparison than of Donald Trump.
Just consider this 'similarity' from the NY Times Article
In an 1806 duel, he shot and killed a man who had insulted him in a newspaper. Mr. Trump’s Twitter broadsides at his critics are gentle by comparison.Really? 'Twitter broadsides' vs shooting a critic?
Here's what I learned of their similarities from these articles. First, they focus very much around the 'nationalist' / 'populist' nature of Andrew Jackson and Donal Trump. They are 'vulgar' and 'of the people' and are opposing sclerotic party apparatchiks. They appeal to southern whites in Appalachia more than elsewhere and promise to support the common man and protect them from harmful elites. They are all of a single 'style' nature.
Now let's explore just one of the incredibly important and massive differences between the two.
Andrew Jackson, before he ran for President, was a war hero and a general who fought several important battles and secured a huge amount of territory for white settlement in the American South. He came from abject poverty, built a fortune on the edge of civilization, was a huge part of erecting government services and spent many years in public service. Jacksonville, FL and Jackson, MS are cities that bear his name because of his importance to those states. Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida owe him a huge debt. Native American tribes rightfully see him as an archenemy. The slave economy would not have been possible without him and his acolytes getting things done.
Donald Trump is a relatively successful real estate developer, he is a successful reality TV star, he's a serial entrepreneur and an occasional political schemer. He was born rich and stayed rich. He's done pretty much zilch for anyone else. Donald Trump is an entertainer who is playing a political rabble-rouser.
The profound difference between the two is that one did shit and the other just talks shit. Talking up Trump as a Jacksonian only obscures the fact that our political system and American society in general is in serious crisis.
His success doesn't require outlandish political and historical analogies to explain his victories. The horrendous mess that our politics are explains it just fine. Donald Trump is major news and a serious contender because he is competing against political midgets. Every single Republican candidate would have been chased off in our past political ages early and often. And the Democrats have a very similar problem.
The other things to consider is that for all the racism and prejudices in our older society, it was a nation that was hacking out civilization on the frontier. Venturing west of Appalachia in the 1800s was the undertaking of bold and foolhardy people. To what degree does that boldness continue in the creation of apps and the consumption of luxury goods? Does our society still have the material from which to produce great politicians for the people?
Trump/Jackson comparisons bury the lead in all cases. The desire for a Jackson is greater than the capacity of any current candidate to produce.