C-SPAN on Wednesday announced the results of its 2021 Presidential Historians Survey, and it’s drearily predictable: In the overall rankings, Barack Obama cracks the top ten, while Donald Trump is down among those whose presidencies were one long dumpster fire: Franklin Pierce, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan. This is not surprising, since the surveyed historians are mostly college professors, who are mostly on the far left, although there are a few notable conservatives among them. The reasons why they ranked Trump so low reveal more about their own assumptions, and the advanced decay of American academia today, than they do about Trump. Most of these professors shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near American university students. But that would require a sane American academic culture.
The presidents (all except for Old Joe Biden and his handlers, who, after all, have only had six months to make a mess of everything), were ranked in seven categories of “Individual Leadership Characteristics”: Public Persuasion; Crisis Leadership; Economic Management; Moral Authority; International Relations; Administrative Skills; Relations with Congress; Vision / Setting an Agenda; Pursued Equal Justice For All; and Performance Within Context of Times.
Cumulatively, Trump ranked 41st out of 44 (Grover Cleveland, who is officially counted as the twenty-second and twenty-fourth president, is only ranked once in the C-SPAN survey). In “Public Persuasion,” however, Trump ranks 32nd, which is perhaps a testimony to the fact that he was able to win over large numbers of Americans in the face of the virtually unanimous and relentlessly vicious hostility of the establishment media toward him. However, in this he ranks below Richard Nixon, who left office with just a handful of defenders and nothing like the fervent following Trump still commands. Trump is also placed below John Quincy Adams, William Howard Taft, and George H. W. Bush in this category, despite the fact that all of them were voted out of office far more resoundingly than Trump was in 2020. What most likely accounts for Trump’s low rating in this category is that the professors largely disapproved of his means of public persuasion, most notably his pointing out the hypocrisy of the Leftist media’s claim to be objective, and going over the heads of the establishment news organs to speak straight to the American people via Twitter.
Trump matches his overall ranking of 41st in the category of Crisis Leadership. After all, for over a year now, the Left has ignored the daily press conferences Trump held at the height of the COVID-19 scare, and his hands-on approach to dealing with it, preferring to laud the likes of Andrew Cuomo and Gretchen Whitmer who only made the problem significantly worse. To rank Trump higher in this category would be to repudiate the Democrats’ entire 2020 presidential campaign and one of the principal foundations of Biden’s handlers’ administration; American university professors today wouldn’t be caught dead doing that.
In “Vision/Setting an Agenda,” Trump ranks 36th, right above William Henry Harrison, who was president for exactly a month, during most of which he was ill. That’s how little these Leftist establishment historians think of the man who made “Make America Great Again” the aspiration of millions of Americans, and who alerted them to just how much our nation had become compromised by interests that were not interested in putting Americans first, and vulnerable to its most formidable enemies. But the idea of an American president putting America first doesn’t sit well with today’s average tenured professor, so they pretend that this most visionary of presidents struggled with articulating a vision and setting an agenda, doing worse at it than such noted idealists as Gerald R. Ford (famous as the lovable but bumbling congressman who was inoffensive enough in his lack of vision to be palatable to nearly everyone as a successor to the disgraced Nixon), George H. W. Bush (yes, the man who famously noted his own inability to deal with “the vision thing”), and James A. Garfield (who was shot four months into his presidency and spent its remaining two months on a sickbed).
C-SPAN’s historians’ survey is thus clearly useless, but it is also chilling. It is chilling because these professors teach American students, and they instill in them the same taste for globalism, socialism, open borders, big government, and internationalist adventurism that led them to rank Trump so low. This survey is much more than just yet another hit piece on Trump: It’s an indication of why so many young people today find it easy to hate America and join forces with those who wish to destroy it. You want an honest survey of the presidents from an America-First standpoint? See Rating America’s Presidents. You want a glimpse into the falsehoods, half-truths, and outright lies that college students are being fed today? Check out C-PAN’s Presidential Historians Survey.