Nearly four years ago, I wrote in this column about our at that time new President, Donald Trump. The conclusion of the column stated essentially that only time will tell if Trump was a good President, or if he was “the biggest mistake in American history.”
Now, I’m not going to go into my impressions of which of those statements turned out to be true. I simply don’t have the time, energy, or space in this column to get into that debate. And quite frankly, no matter what I write, everyone has already made up their minds about Trump, so it’s not like I would change anyone’s opinion.
But what I do want to bring up is the main crux of that column, which was comparing Trump to former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura. At that time, I said how similar certain aspects of the two were to each other, especially concerning things like their relationship with other politicians and the media.
In rereading that column, the last four years certainly has proven my statements completely accurate. Trump constantly was squaring off with both of those entities, just like Ventura had 20 years ago. As it turns out, though, the similarities didn’t end there.
No matter what your opinion of either of them is, it can’t be debated that during a good portion of their terms, things were going well, at least financially. As early as a year ago or so, unemployment was at an all-time low, while the stock market was at an all-time high. Prices for things such as gas were holding steady.
True, it can be debated who should get credit for these positive results, but it can’t be denied they took place during Trump’s term, just as similar financial prosperity took place during Ventura’s. Then, both of them wound up facing a major crisis towards the end of their terms that completely wiped away all of those positives. Obviously, for Trump it was the pandemic. For Ventura, it was 9/11.
Interestingly, there is another huge parallel between the two. Both of them are, or have brazenly proclaimed of a major conspiracy theory. For Trump, it’s the “stolen” election. For Ventura, in 2009 he went on a major campaign claiming 9/11 was an inside job.
Other smaller similarities have also taken place. Both have provided citizens with government-issued checks. Although Ventura’s was to make up for a budget surplus, while Trump’s was to try and keep the economy afloat.
Both of them will be known as one-term elected officials. But again, the difference being Ventura voluntarily didn’t run for a second term, while Trump ended his term kicking and screaming. I must admit, though, I’m not so sure Ventura wouldn’t have raised a ruckus and made major waves if he had run for a second term but been defeated.
Looking ahead, I hope there is also one other similarity between the two. While Ventura certainly stayed active after leaving office (he’s written several books, hosted TV shows, and even spent some time as a visiting fellow at Harvard), he mainly has stayed out of the primary spotlight, only occasionally creating a few headlines.
I hope Trump follows that same path. Love him or hate him, I think for the good of the country and all of our mental health, that would be for the best.
BILL STICKELS III is editor of the Isanti-Chisago County Star. He can be reached at 763-689-1181 ext. 107 or email@example.com.