Teri Kanefield

Are you a liberal (or moderate) who was blindsided by Trump’s win in 2016?

So many people–myself included–felt blindsided by Trump’s win in 2016.

Let’s face it: Many (maybe most!) educators, mainstream book reviewers, publishers!) are liberal or moderate.

Liberals assume everyone who watches All the President’s Men agrees that Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward were the good guys.

Educators like to tell the stories of the reformers: Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Susan B. Anthony. They like the stories of those battling for justice and equality. By teaching these stories, they imagine they are teaching their students American values.

Well. Maybe that’s part of why we have the great divide.

Among the things I learned from writing The Making of America series is that American history consists roughly of two strands.

Strand #1 goes something like this: Jefferson—Andrew Jackson—Ronald Reagan—Donald Trump.

Strand #2 goes something like this: Hamilton—Abraham Lincoln—Barack Obama.

What underlies the Andrew Jackson-Ronald Reagan-Donald Trump strand isn’t lack of education or lack of intelligence. It’s a different way of seeing the world. And it has always been a powerful force in American politics.

Many people, not understanding that, were blindsided by Donald Trump’s victory.

Educators are aware that there is still “work” to do–but they misunderstand the work, and they’re going about it wrong.

This isn’t to say that we should glorify John Calhoun’s racism, or Andrew Jackson’s Trail of Tears, or the men in black robes who gave us Dred Scott v. Stanford.

But we have to understand that the great divide is over opposing world views.

A good place to start might be trying to understand what made Andrew Jackson tick, and why he had such wide appeal. We can look at Jackson with an objectivity that we don’t yet have with