President Trump probably does not possess the upper body strength to actually break one of his golf clubs over his knee, but if he did, the results of the latest poll regarding his presidency would likely make him angry enough to do so. Trump stayed off the golf course on Saturday and Sunday, in supposed deference to the victims of the Parkland, Florida, mass shooting, but is golfing today, President’s Day.
Even on the golf course, Trump may have already gotten the news that a leading group of political scientists, the American Political Science Association’s Presidents and Executive Politics section, numbering 170 people, have taken a survey that ranked all the presidents and Trump came out dead last, yes, dead last. Even when the votes were tallied from only Republicans in the group, Trump still came out ranked in the bottom 5 of U.S. presidents. Since the last such survey was conducted in 2014, Trump displaced James Buchanan as the worst president.
According to the New York Times:
James Buchanan, who was at the helm as the United States careened into civil war, was dislodged from his position as our nation’s worst president by our current president, Trump. His (Trump’s) Oval Office predecessor, Barack Obama, shot into the Top 10, up from 18th in the previous survey…The biggest declines were for Bill Clinton, arguably the result of contemporary scorn for his treatment of women, and Andrew Jackson, for evolving attitudes on his treatment of Native Americans.
So, adding to Trump’s anger over being ranked the worst president is that President Obama, subject of much jealousy by Trump, was ranked in the top 10 (#8 to be exact). And it is particularly telling that even if only the votes from Republicans in the group are counted, Trump still comes out in the bottom 5.
The way this particular survey worked was for the political scientists in the group to rate every president on a 0-100 scale, where 100 was “excellent”, 50 was “average”, and 0 was “failure”. President Trump’s overall score was only 12 out of 100, while President Obama’s was 71 out of 100. Even restricting the vote to Republicans only, Trump lost out to Obama. The Republican-only vote among the political scientist scholars resulted in only a modest lift from the overall score for Trump, to a score of 25 out of 100, while Obama’s score was still 57 out of 100 with Republicans.
The American Political Science Association took a surprisingly charitable viewpoint on Trump’s prospects of improving his ranking in a future survey. Maybe they were attempting to be diplomatic.
According to the New York Times, they stated:
Trump’s initial rating places him in an ignominious category, but dozens of presidents have had slow starts and have course corrected to improve their public esteem. Beyond his reputation or ranking, Donald Trump’s very presidency may alter perceptions of presidential legacies as his unique approach to the office continues to surprise.
This survey goes beyond day to day approval ratings to rank Trump in the context of all the presidents this country has had. It says a lot that Trump came out dead last in the survey. Trump won’t be able to claim partisanship disturbed the rankings, because even with Republicans, he came out in the bottom five of presidents.
Trump does not at all have a clear-eyed view of where he falls in the history of presidents. Whereas this survey shows reality, Trump, languishing in his alternate reality, recently claimed to be the best president ever. As shown in the video below from NowThis Politics, President Trump said “I love this guy” about Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT). The reason Trump said he loves Hatch is because he claimed that Hatch “said once I’m the single greatest president in his lifetime. And he actually once said I’m the greatest president in the history of our country and I asked does that include Lincoln and Washington? He said ‘yes’….I said ‘I love this guy’.”
Clearly, President Trump does not have a good grasp on reality and does not have a clear view of himself. He has delusions of grandeur, believing himself to be the greatest president ever, when, as this survey shows, his ranking puts him as the worst president ever. Given Trump’s lack of insight into his own problems and areas for improvement, it is doubtful his ranking will improve much in future surveys ranking the presidents.