Donald J. Trump: Jacksonian Minoritarian?


  • Thomas J. Cobb Coventry University



Donald Trump, Andrew Jackson, Jacksonianism, Majoritarian nationalism, Populism


The label of the ‘Jacksonian’ has served to add a sense of definition and historical precedent to a seemingly anomalous presidency. Comparisons between Donald Trump and President Andrew Jackson (the progenitor for the Jacksonian creed) have hinged on the perception that the Jacksonian philosophy purveys belief in majoritarian nationalism, diplomatic realism and the preeminence of America’s white male labouring class. Commentators as diverse as New York Times journalists and International Relations theorists have applied such readings. Through investigating the changing paradigms of the Jacksonian, from its incipience in the 1820s to its ascription in Trump’s populism, this article underlines how its shibboleths have gradually shifted towards becoming part of a ‘minoritarian’ phenomenon. Trump’s victory in the 2016 presidential election, which was achieved in spite of his loss of the popular vote and failure to win former Republican states such as Virginia, indicated that the Jacksonian resurgence perceived in this contest was heavily dependent on the economic decline of the industrial Midwest. This contrasts with the cooption of the Jacksonian under FDR and Ronald Reagan, whose first terms resulted from comprehensive national landslides. Because of this lack of broader support, Trump’s affinity with a decreasing population of white male non-college educated voters forms the existential driver of his presidency. Conveying a reversal of Andrew Jackson’s majoritarianism, my research highlights that Jacksonian survival now hinges on consolidating the kind of minoritarian influence implied by the results of the 2016 presidential election. This analysis, along with my historiography of the Jacksonian, establishes the changes undergone by this significant American ideology.

Author Biography

Thomas J. Cobb, Coventry University

Thomas J. Cobb is currently an academic writing tutor at Coventry University, UK and has recently tutored American and Canadian studies modules at the University of Birmingham. His monograph, American Cinema and Cultural Diplomacy (2020, Palgrave Macmillan), based on his PhD thesis, explores how Hollywood films can be used as a tool for understanding contradictions in American foreign policy and International Relations theory. Cobb has an avid interest in US electoral history.




How to Cite

Cobb, T. J. (2020). Donald J. Trump: Jacksonian Minoritarian?. American Studies in Scandinavia, 52(2), 211–230.