Is Donald Trump Today’s Huey Long?
This blog was originally posted in March, 2016, prior to the election, but given what’s going on in D.C. right now, I think it is even more relevant today:
Huey Long was a bombastic 1930’s politician, a braggart, a bully, an emotional blackmailer and a megalomaniac rejected by the Establishment but revered by the common folk, who, like Trump, aspired to be President. So do we have another Huey Long on our hands?
To be fair, there are plenty of differences between the two men. Long was a Southerner from Louisiana, Trump is a Yankee from New York. Long grew up penniless, Trump, though he denies it, with a silver spoon in his mouth, thanks to his real estate mogul dad, Fred. Long was a career politician, Trump a businessman at least until he announced his candidacy, though both used cutthroat techniques to get what they wanted. And Long campaigned on a Bernie Sanders style Robin Hood strategy of robbing the rich through taxation to give to the poor, something capitalistic billionaire Trump would never do. (Update: The tax legislation just passed favors corporate America not us little people.)
But, ah, all the similarities! Long was rejected by the Establishment of his day, in this case the Democratic Party, including its Great White Father Roosevelt who was President at the time. Trump was so reviled by the GOP Establishment that they actually took out ads against him. (Update: Despite the fact the Republicans are in control of Congress, at least until the mid-term elections, a small faction of Pubs who hate Sir Donald have prevented him for getting what he wants passed. And there is an army of Pubs including Speaker of House Ryan who have decided not to run.)
And both men’s power base was not in the elite but in the common man. Long’s appeal was obvious: he was promising them a free ride on the coattails of the rich; Trump is apparently stream rolling his way to the nomination because people from all backgrounds are fed up with the do-nothing career politicians in D.C. (Instead we got a vacillating warmongering embarrassment who sets policy through Twitter.)
Wanna know more about Long? Google him, or better yet, rent the 1949 Academy Award winning flick, “All the Kings Men,” a thinly fictionalized account of Long, named Willie Stark in the film, both his rise and abrupt fall.
BTW, the only thing that was able to stop Huey was an assassin’s bullet.
Okay, I’m gonna stop right there.