As the 45th President it is natural to compare Trump to others. He has been compared to Andrew Jackson for his populist policies, to Reagan for his popularity with Republicans, and of course with Obama as the President before him. The closest and most accurate comparison however is with Abraham Lincoln.
Early on in their presidency both Presidents tried to pass executive orders that they deemed necessary for national security. In both cases the judge or judges in question were criticized as being partisan hacks for taking such controversial positions. The administrations also appealed both cases and were denied by various judges.
There is no need to rehash the Trump case except to say that if the standards of Washington V Trump were applied to previous cases Obamacare would have been impossible to declare a tax and would have been declared unconstitutional and it would be very hard to pass any new gun control bills given the campaign rhetoric of the Democrats. In the time of Lincoln the case was called “Ex parte Merryman”. Due to the events in the south President Lincoln attempted to remove the writ of habeas corpus in certain areas so he could make sure conscription went thru without any problems. The courts decided that it was only congress who could declare this and that even if the congress was in recess the President could not do it in the interim. This of course presented a problem to Lincoln as they needed troops for the war that was about to start.
Trump and Lincoln diverged on one important point though. When faced with the resistance of the courts Trump obeyed and went thru the system. When faced with the same resistance Lincoln ignored the courts. Merryman was not produced until much later on after an official request from congress.
When Trump got elected the acting community were very much against him. The Golden Globes was filled with anti-trump rhetoric and various actors who may have stated how much discrimination they have faced by coming out in support of Trump. Snoop Dogg has recently even threatened to kill President Trump. President Lincoln also had a problem with the thespians. He was assassinated while watching a play by John Wilkes Booth a respected actor at that time.
President Trump has been the only President in modern history to champion protectionism. A good case can be made that it was not beneficial to the country before when nobody else could compete with us since they were destroyed by war. An equally good case can be made now that these other countries have caught up and provide more serious competition so we need to protect our vital industries. The g20 even dropped opposition to protectionism in their statement after meeting with representatives from the Trump administration.
Lincoln also ran as a protectionist. The 1860 Republican platform was very focused on protectionism and in fact one of the cabinet members of the administration said that without protectionism the Lincoln administration would have failed early on. This made sense as well as the industrial north had a lot of competition world wide and needed to be nourished. Both Trump and Lincoln focused on the benefits of having the companies here as opposed to other countries and the employment opportunities they bring.
Both Trump and Lincoln are determined to combat slavery. Both face heavy resistance from the Democrats. The only difference seems to be that Lincoln sought to free the black slaves which have been imported from Africa and other countries while Trump seeks to free the brown slaves that have been imported from South and Central America. President Trump even goes one step further and is actively seeking to repatriate the slaves back to their home countries. At most Lincoln was only attempting to free the slaves in name after which they would go into wage slavery to their former masters.
As things stand most Republicans love Trump and most Democrats hate him. Democrats mock Trump while Republicans appreciate what he is trying to do. This was the exact same situation Lincoln was in. He was mocked by southern newspapers as Trump is mocked by liberal ones now and there were numerous instances where he was burned in effigy. Things got so bad that the southern eventually seceded. Today we have rumblings in California pushing for the same kind of secession.
The partisanship is reflected in approval polls as well with republicans supporting Trump at around 90% and democrats supporting him at around 5% showing low overall numbers. While polling was not that developed yet during the time of Lincoln it would be difficult to imagine him having high numbers early on in his presidency with the south seceding and Robert Lee winning victory after victory.
The Russia thing has parallels as well. It is no secret that slave labor was an integral part to the cotton industry. The removal of it would make it a lot harder for cotton to compete worldwide. There was speculation that Lincoln was pursuing this due to foreign influences as the colonies of other countries could makeup for the lost cotton production. Russia entered this discussion as well as they had just conquered parts of Central Asia suitable for growing cotton.
Everyone knows that Trump is having difficulty with some entrenched parts of the beaurocracy. They would rather enact the agenda of Obama and the Democrats as opposed to those of the democratically elected President. This led to Trump firing multiple diplomats and senior government officials so he can appoint his own.
A lesser known fact is that Lincoln faced the same challenge that Trump did. When Lincoln came in he got rid of 70% of the senior officials at the time. He simply could not trust many of the current employees as they still had loyalties to the south and the Democrats. Both situations were handled in the exact same way by both leaders.
Lincoln was not terribly popular during his term. In fact there were some instances when the war was going badly when there was open talk of Lincoln being replaced by another person willing to broker peace. Decades later he is remembered as one of the greatest Presidents. Time will tell of course but the Trump presidency is passing many of the same landmarks and trails that the Lincoln one did.