Apparently Americans really don't know much about history (guess that is obvious!)

More surprising, apparently the press doesn't know it either, or so-called "political pundits."

If they knew history they would know we have seen the likes of Donald Trump before: that is, a politician who uses over-the-top rhetoric designed to appeal to the prejudices of the masses, their fears and rile them up.

Examples abound, such as Huey Long, Father Coughlin, Franics Townsend, Jospeh McCarthy.  All of these people used the same tactics as Trump:  they used more falsehoods than truths, and resorted to fear rather than reason.  

Other so-called "populists" didn't rely on fear or prejudice, but tried to capitalize on popular movements of the time, or thrived when we faced difficult times, for example: Teddy Roosevelt, John Anderson, Robert LaFollette.

The former group was much more dangerous than the latter group of course, and somehow we managed in this country to dodge the real dangers they would bring, especially from racism, hatred though of course our country has seen enough of that.  Certainly McCarthy inflicted probably the most damage through his race-baiting, but at other times more skilled politicians such as Franklin Roosevelt was able to fight off the darker aspects of some parts of our nature.

Time will tell what this political season brings, but I am ever the optimist, and have faith in our system that eventually we will turn our backs on the fear-mongering, prejudice and outright lies peddled by demagogues like Trump.