Andrew Jackson has been going through a rough streak lately. First the frontier president got booted from the twenty-dollar bill and now he's been downgraded on C-SPAN's 2017 Presidential History Survey.
Jackson dropped on the list from 13th to 18th best president and already some are blaming President Trump. It could be a sign that populism won't fare well throughout history. Or more likely it could show that modern historians are really petty when putting together listicles.
It's not like Jackson's record has changed since 2009 when C-SPAN last gathered its gaggle of academics to hand out posthumous awards to the best presidents in history. Only politics is different.
Think pieces abound about the comparison between our current executive, who hails from Queens, and Old Hickory from Tennessee. And sure, there are some obvious similarities Both rallied big crowds, were hated by political elites, and spoke directly to the people. Perhaps that press appraisal inspired Trump to hang Jackson's portrait recently in the Oval Office.
On the other hand, the two couldn't be more different. Unlike Trump, Jackson was a man of intense personal honor, an opponent of crony capitalism, and an advocate for the decentralization of power.
Either way, the whole C-SPAN ranking seems unserious. It's like the top friends of presidential history. More than anything, it inspires a fun sort of political gamesmanship.
The GOP will cheer that Republican Abraham Lincoln still tops the list and Democrats will trumpet Barack Obama's promising No. 12 rank. And though good for snarky tweets, the historical listicle shouldn't be given much credence just yet.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.