I've never met Steve Bannon and find most of his reported views repugnant. But I owe him: He caused me to reread Jon Meacham's biography of Andrew Jackson, "American Lion."
Bannon, President Donald Trump's provocative adviser and theorist, has promoted the notion that Trump is a modern version of Jackson, a populist who ran roughshod over the ruling class and ushered in a new political order. Others like former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, always quick to claim historical antecedents for conservative theories, embrace this.
There are some legitimate parallels. Both men triumphed over and rattled established political elites with support from people of ordinary means. Trump did it in the 2016 elections, Jackson in 1828. Both vowed to clean up corruption in Washington and both had racial ignominies. Jackson was a slaveholder and, as president, mistreated Indians. Trump has insulted blacks, Muslims and Hispanics. After taking office, both suffered from self-inflicted chaos; Trump over flagrant misstatements and managerial turbulence, Jackson over his stubborn defense of the dubious morals of his secretary of war's wife.