According to presidential scholars, Donald Trump’s one year in office is enough to make him the worst president in the history of the country.
The New York Times surveyed 170 presidential scholars from the American Political Science Association’s President and and Executive Politics section and asked them to rank the United States Presidents, from 1 to 45.
Things don’t look so great for old Donny as he ranks dead last amongst the entire group, 45th out of 45.
Trump unseated James Buchanan, the president whose policies led the country directly into the Civil War, as the worst president ever. He also ranks under William Henry Harrison, who died only a month after taking office.
The Times’ survey, which was the first since 2014, also reveals some interesting trends about the legacy of other presidents. After all, these things are fluid and changes in attitudes or reexamination of policies can alter how presidents are analyzed.
Receiving the biggest bump in legacy was Barack Obama, who jumped from 18th to 8th in the last four years (it’s lit). Ulysses S. Grant, Union Army General and then kind of lukewarm president, also saw his rank improve 7 spots, as The Times points out, this was probably aided by the recent Ron Chernow biography on Grant.
George W. Bush also got a little boost, +5 points up from 35th on the list, mostly because everyone just kinda forgot about all the dumbass shit he did.
Presidents who saw their legacy get worse over the last four years can blame changing attitudes or increased scrutiny for their rankings. Bill Clinton and Andrew Jackson’s legacies took the biggest blows of late, due to Clinton’s treatment of women and Jackson’s crusade against Native Americans.
One of the most interesting aspects of the survey is how Democrat, Republican, and Independent scholars see presidents differently. Although this isn’t a surprise at all, seeing that play out in hard data is cool.
The two presidents whose rankings were affected most by partisan lines were Reagan and Obama, arguably the two modern personifications of those parties, as Democrats ranked Reagan 9 places lower than Republicans and Obama 10 places higher.
Also, Republicans are super into some dude named William McKinley, who was assassinated while in office and led the country through the Spanish-American War. Learn something new every day!
As for those weird Independents, they fuck with the elder Bush very heavy, ranking George H.W. Bush 11th overall (1 spot above Obama), but rank the younger Bush (G.W.) 31st overall (Democrats ranked G.W. Bush 30th). I don’t really know why Independents would view George H.W. Bush so highly, but it’s all the more hilarious that they see his son with more contempt than even the Democrats.
Most of these scholars agree on the starting 5 of Presidents as: Washington, Lincoln, F.D. Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, and Jefferson (Republican scholars really tried to squeeze Ronald Reagan’s crusty ass in the top 5, fuck outttta here).
Asked who should be the fifth face on Mt. Rushmore, respondents of the survey big-upped Franklin Delano Roosevelt to be the next dude up. Even Republicans agreed that FDR deserves the clout.
All of this begs the question as to whether Trump is truly the worst president ever. Nate Silver of number-crunching fame took some issue with the survey claiming that, “It speaks poorly to the field of presidential scholarship that political scientists have Trump ranked as the worst president of all time **after only one year on the job**.”
Silver made the astute point that presidents who had directly led us into the Great Depression and Civil War may be worse than Trump after a year BUT I politely disagree, Nate.
It speaks poorly to the field of presidential scholarship that political scientists have Trump ranked as the worst president of all time **after only one year on the job**, below presidents who e.g. helped blunder us into the Civil War & Great Depression. https://t.co/QGjW2gwCU4 pic.twitter.com/VpddS46Rkb
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 19, 2018
This dude is utter trash. He makes every single person’s life in this country worse every day. Even if you’re one of the lucky few that aren’t directly targeted by Trump’s policies and actually support what he does, you still have to deal with the emotional stress of supporting this dude.
Like, the most intense Trump supporters just spend their entire days arguing that Trump is actually good as opposed to just living their lives.
Worst president ever. Presidential scholars don’t lie.