Poll Finds Republicans Think Trump Is A Better President Than Lincoln

Further evidence that the Republican Party has turned into a cult of personalty built around Donald Trump.

In yet another example of the extent to which the Republican Party has become the Party of Trump, a new poll indicates that a majority of self-identified Republicans believe that Donald Trump is a better President than Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican to serve as President who of course guided the Union through its greatest existential crisis:

A majority of Republicans believe President Trump is a better leader than Abraham Lincoln, who guided the nation through the Civil War.

The Economist and YouGov conducted a poll from Nov. 24-26 of 1,500 American adults. In the wide-ranging poll, researchers asked Americans to compare Trump to past U.S. presidents.

Fifty-three percent of Republicans said that Trump is a better president than Lincoln. For Democrats and Independents, Lincoln is considered to have been the better president with 94% and 78%, respectively.

Republican adults were the only segment polled that considered Trump to be a better president than Lincoln.

Researchers conducted the poll days after House Democrats wrapped up the first round of public hearings in the impeachment proceedings into Trump. Democrats may decide to conduct more hearings after Thanksgiving or pass impeachment articles against the president, which would lead to a trial in the Senate.

Taking into account the fact that President Trump’s Job Approval number among Republicans range from the high 70s to the high 80s, it’s perhaps not surprising that modern Republicans would view Donald Trump more positively than they would the man who freed the slaves and saved the Union. That being said, there is perhaps no better measure of the extent to which the Republican Party has become a cult of personality with Donald Trump at its center. These are the kinds of things that happen when you have supporters and hangers-on claiming that Trump was “chosen by God” to lead the nation and stomping down anyone who dissents from that view.

In reality, of course, the mere suggestion that Trump is a better President than Lincoln, or indeed better than any of the 18 Republicans who have served as President prior to Trump’s inauguration is utterly absurd. With the possible exception of Richard Nixon, who could at least point to a successful domestic policy record that included things such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency and a foreign policy that included the opening to China and a detente with the Soviet Union that ended years of high Cold War tensions, there isn’t a single Republican who can be said to have done as much damage to the country as Trump has in just 2 3/4 years. Additionally, there are few Republicans who have proven to be as incompetent as he has been when it comes to foreign policy, where he seems intent on engaging in policies that weaken our allies and strengthen our adversaries. To the extent there has been anything of substance accomplished under Trump, it consists of things that any Republican President would have done without bringing along with them the baggage of xenophobia, self-dealing, and corruption that we’ve seen from this President.

None of this matters to the members of the cult, though In their eyes not only can Trump do no wrong, but he has accomplished so much that questioning his Presidency can only mean that you are a far-left lunatic who hates America, Mom, and Apple Pie. It’s insane, of course, but it is exactly what’s happening and it’s dangerous territory for a representative democracy that presumes that the public will be acting rationally when they go to vote. What poll results like this show us, though, is that there is a significant segment, indeed perhaps a majority, of one of America’s major political parties that has quite literally lost its collective mind.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Teve says:

    My favorite response to this is “Republicans are just angry about emancipation.”

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  2. CSK says:

    It would be interesting to know how many of those who regard Trump as superior are born and bred southerners. I didn’t fully realize till I was a young adult how many of those below the Mason-Dixon line still hate Lincoln with a passion. They did so well before the advent of Trump–though Trump has certainly encouraged them.

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  3. Zachriel says:

    @CSK: I didn’t fully realize till I was a young adult how many of those below the Mason-Dixon line still hate Lincoln with a passion.

    Lincoln statue fuels controversy

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  4. grumpy realist says:

    Considering that the Republicans and the Democrats have pretty well switched places, not too surprising that the political party now most hospitable to “white rights” idiots would hate the U.S. president who got rid of slavery….

    It’s amazing what self-pitying white Americans will put up with if there’s another sector of society they can look down on. The fact that a lot of their lack of achievement is due to their own lack of efforts and incompetence is of course, conveniently ignored.

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  5. DrDaveT says:

    there isn’t a single Republican who can be said to have done as much damage to the country as Trump has in just 2 3/4 years

    If you expand that to include damage outside the country, George W. Bush still wins. Trump is chasing him hard, though.

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  6. al Ameda says:

    I think that a fair part of the 53% is some people refusing to respond seriously to the poll, perhaps their way of saying ‘eff you to ‘mainstream’ pollsters.

    Then again, Republicans are very pleased that Trump is placing a lot of low-value movement conservatives on the Bench, rolling back environmental regulations, kicking and stomping immigrants, using the Department of Education to benefit private education, opening federal lands to resource exploitation, unilaterally abrogating treaties with allies and much more.

    He’s doing what Republicans wanted him to do – break everything. So it’s entirely possible that 53% see Trump as the avatar for a new American order, and therefore more successful than a RINO like Lincoln.

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  7. CSK says:

    @Zachriel: Thanks. I rest my case.

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  8. Kit says:

    For Democrats and Independents, Lincoln is considered to have been the better president with 94% and 78%, respectively.

    I read that and I half expect to suddenly wake up on a table, with some guy pulling a cable out of the back of my neck and saying: I can’t believe it took this long for you to reject the Matrix.

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  9. Kit says:

    Republicans love to remind people that they are the party of Lincoln, at least when Democrats are listening, while privately despising the man.

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  10. Nickel Front says:

    So I guess “cult” is the latest talking point from the never Trumpers now, who, if you’d bother to think about it, are rather cultish themselves.

    I’m certain a significant part of that number is a giant middle finger to the pollsters. Because at this point, why not? The media makes up stories all the time (Trump is playing golf again on Thanksgiving!), so why give them anything?

    @al Ameda:

    Trump is placing a lot of low-value movement conservatives on the Bench, rolling back environmental regulations, kicking and stomping immigrants, using the Department of Education to benefit private education, opening federal lands to resource exploitation, unilaterally abrogating treaties with allies and much more.

    You must be one of those Principled Republicans to oppose judges who actually honor separation of powers and limiting the role of the federal government.

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  11. JKB says:

    @Teve:

    That’s amusing, but the saying goes, “Democrats haven’t been this mad since back when Republicans took away their slaves.”

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  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The GOP is a lost cause.

    ETA: and here to prove it is @JKB:

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  13. CSK says:

    I can imagine Trump gazing rapturously at himself in a mirror and crowing; “Many people are saying that I’m greater than Lincoln.” It’s enough to make you hurl.

    @Kit: That’s much less likely true of northeast and New England Republicans.

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  14. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’ll just take a small moment here to point out that my opening position – that this was a cult of personality based in white supremacy – initially dismissed by many here as extreme, or just bomb-throwing rhetoric, is now mainstream opinion.

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  15. Nickel Front says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    “I don’t know anyone who voted for Nixon.”

    The latest talking point being spread by the media is not Mainstream Opinion. It’s just the latest attempt to dehumanize Trump supporters and another way for you to refuse to acknowledge your policy failings. “Everyone that disagrees with me is racist.” And why bother listening to racists?

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  16. inhumans99 says:

    @Nickel Front:

    Nickelback, you are dehumanizing yourself just fine and do not need any help from me. Also, you get awfully defensive when someone accuses you of being a racist, if it is not true just laugh at the person who calls you a racists and move on with your life. Instead, you exhibit such umbrage at being called a racist, interesting.

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  17. DrDaveT says:

    @Nickel Front:

    You must be one of those Principled Republicans to oppose judges who actually honor separation of powers and limiting the role of the federal government.

    You must be one of those Flexible* Republicans who will argue with a straight face that trade wars, farm subsidies, and banning abortion all count as “limiting the role of the federal government”…

    *More accurate adjective deleted for general politeness.

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  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Nickel Front:
    An especially odd comment given that I do know someone who voted for Nixon. Me. 1972. And just a few weeks later I was in front of the White House holding a ‘Honk for Impeachment’ sign.

    See, I make mistakes, but I correct them when I learn more. Maybe you could try that. Cultie.

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  19. Kurtz says:

    @Nickel Front:

    Check Trump’s approval ratings and favorability spread. Disapproval of his job performance and personal dislike of him are the mainstream opinion.

    For a guy who won 3m fewer votes than his opponent, you guys really are trying hard to create a reality against all evidence to the contrary.

    On “dehumanization:”

    Let’s see, he called political opponents “human scum.” I guess because he attached ‘human’ to it, that comment isn’t dehumanizing?

    You ought not use words that you don’t understand. Nobody here is dehumanizing Trump supporters, so stop shadow boxing.

    I don’t have time right now to go through the rest of the list of his transgressions on this front. But if you want a laundry list, ask…

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  20. Paine says:

    Former Democrat supports Trump because of his “Family values”: “Family values, honesty, integrity, character and that is everything that President Trump represents.”

    https://www.mediaite.com/tv/fox-friends-diner-tells-pete-hegseth-he-supports-trump-because-of-his-family-values/

    I wonder what the color of the sky is in his world…

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  21. Gustopher says:

    @Nickel Front:

    The media makes up stories all the time (Trump is playing golf again on Thanksgiving!)

    We all know Trump isn’t well enough to play golf. I think the claim was pushed by the right to try to make him seem verily, manly, and capable of walking 9-18 holes.

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  22. Gustopher says:

    There’s a lot of interesting stuff in that poll.

    Roughly 1 in 5 believe Ukraine interfered with our elections in 2016, and it’s pretty independent of party id. The same question about Russia is much more partisan, with 85% of Democrats and 14% of Republicans believing it.

    I’m not sure what to make of that. The Ukraine interference lie is only being pushed by Russia and their Republican friends, so I’m wondering where the low information Democrats are getting it.

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  23. JohnSF says:

    They really are nuts, aren’t they?

    Lincoln is by any reasonable reckoning a titanic figure in world history, I’d argue the most influential political figure the USA has ever seen.

    Trump is trivial; if he has any significance it’s just as a symptom of deeper ills.

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  24. 95 South says:

    @inhumans99: The Kafka Trap. Only the guilty would deny the charge.

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  25. Kathy says:

    Either:

    1) Republicans are from Bizarro World, in which case “better” means “worse.”

    or

    2) The phrase “Republicans think” is becoming ever more a contradiction in terms.

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  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Fifty-three percent of Republicans said that Trump is a better president than Lincoln.

    I’ll go with al-Ameda on this one; they’re just yankin’ your chain. There are probably a few who are completely unhinged, but not 53%. If it’s really 53%, we need to start preparing for the transition of the next world leader country.

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  27. Gustopher says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Reagan is favored over Trump roughly 60% to 40% by Republicans. So, if people’s preferences are transitive (they often are, but not always) we can assume they prefer Reagan to Lincoln.

    I think there’s a Southern Thing going on in this poll. People from outside the South just couldn’t understand. It’s not that they are racist, it’s that they are indistinguishable from racists. They’re as pure as driven snow, and their consciences are as spotless as their white robes.

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  28. de stijl says:

    Did Lincoln stick it to, and massively pwn the libtards daily on Twitter?

    I thought not!

    Best President EVar1a!

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  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Gustopher:

    I’m not sure what to make of that.

    Simple: most Americans have no clue what Ukraine is, so they look for the answer in the question.

    Side note: finding the answer in the question is how I beat tests. 790/800 English SAT is to be expected, that’s my jam despite having no clue what a participle is or how to diagram a sentence. But 610 math, 750 biology? Tests taken after I dropped out of 10th grade with a D average in math and zero biology courses?

    Multiple choice tests with four answers are really binary, A or B, because inevitably the framing of the question eliminates one answer outright and makes a second answer highly unlikely.

    People feel obligated to offer an answer. With very little actual knowledge they nevertheless guess that the fact the question is posed indicates the possibility that the answer is ‘yes.’

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  30. Sleeping Dog says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Dave, I need to respectively disagree with you. Bush 43’s FP did horrific damage to the US leadership in the world, but that damage was the result of military adventurism and something that the US began to recover from under Obama and likely would have continued to recover from if Obama had been followed by any of the other Republicans who ran in 2016.

    While Tiny has avoided the militarism, he has broadly damaged US alliances throughout the world both military and economic. His withdrawal from the TPP has left the US outside that alliance and cost small to medium US business and farmers unfettered access to the markets of the TPP. While I agree there were problems with the TPP that Obama left behind, they could have been addressed by continued negotiation. Tiny expected the deal to collapse when the US withdrew and it didn’t.

    Add the disruption to US relationships with South Korea, NATO, the abandonment of the Kurds and on and on. And lets not forget allowing the Russians to grow as a threat to eastern Europe. Bush 43 was bad but Tiny is worse, much worse.

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  31. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: That could explain the 20% Democrat rate. But the Republicans are spoonfed crazy conspiracies on Fox — that should be way higher, and they are also at roughly 20%.

    (Independents were slightly lower, but likely in the margin of error)

    The uniformity is baffling.

    Also, Buttigieg has roughly 30% favorable, 20% unfavorable and 50% don’t-know from black voters. He’s doing better there than we hear. They might not choose him, but they don’t seem to be particularly opposed to him — at least not yet.

    It’s a very odd, wide ranging poll.

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  32. Gustopher says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Roughly 1M dead Iraqis would disagree with you.

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  33. Bill says:

    I will point out a couple of things

    1- Recentism. What happened now or just recently is more important than something that happened years ago. Many people think this way. I see it all the time as I edit Wikipedia. Who has more written about them there- The active golfer today with a dozen wins or the golfer who hasn’t won since 1984 but has won more professional golf tournaments than Tiger Woods? It isn’t even close.

    2- Many Americans have a poor knowledge of history. Michael Reynolds point out people don’t know what the Ukraine is. They don’t know geography either. I think I first learned of the Ukraine when playing RISK. Either that or from something related to Chess or playing an SPI wargame. All which happened age 12 or so.

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  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: Yes, but Iraqis are not the world. Right now everybody everywhere is wondering if they can count on the US to keep their word on anything, and that includes Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. (tell me, do you not think the Israelis wonder if the US really is going to move the US embassy to Jerusalem under a President Warren/Biden?) Does MBS really think SA won’t be subject to sanctions for the murder of a US resident under a President Harris/Buttigieg?

    Kim Jong Un doesn’t believe it for a NY second. Why would anyone else? Khamenei knows trump is a paper tiger, he is not alone.

    All of this begs the question: If the US elected a trump once, what is to prevent the US from electing another?

    Which leaves every country in the world wanting to take the US for as much as they can and then turn their back on us whenever it becomes convenient.

    trump has been far more damaging to the US’ standing in the world than Bush. Yeah, Bush and company fucked up Iraq (and Afghanistan). But trump and co have fucked up our relations across the middle east, Korea, China, Russia, Venezuela, the EU, UK, and no doubt half a dozen others I can’t think of right now. Iraq was a colossal fuck up, one we can measure. It will be decades before we can measure the cost of all the trump admin fuckups. IF we can ever truly measure them.

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  35. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Dave, I need to respectively disagree with you.

    I’m OK with that, but I don’t think you actually did. I think you misinterpreted me. I agree that Trump has been worse for America. But as @Gustopher notes, Trump has not (yet) produced megadeaths elsewhere in the world. W did.

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  36. al Ameda says:

    @Nickel Front:

    You must be one of those Principled Republicans to oppose judges who actually honor separation of powers and limiting the role of the federal government.

    Curious, why do you think I’m a “Principled Republican”?
    But okay, I’ll play along.
    ….. (1) What is a “Principled Republican”?
    Is it one who strongly advocates for a balanced federal budget, then votes for a significant tax cut that increases the budget deficit by approximately 50% since 2017?
    ….. (2) Who do you consider a “Principled Republican”?
    Is it a guy like Representative Mark Meadows, a Tea Party endorsed politician, and a member and leader of the House Freedom Caucus, and who voted for the tax cut? And who commented in 2012, that President Obama should be sent “back home to Kenya or wherever”?

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  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @DrDaveT: I’m pretty sure the mega deaths attributable to trump will come in the decades yet to pass and will certainly rival Bush’s if not surpass them. Not that I will live to see it, so no bets. It’s an argument that will only be settled with time.

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  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @al Ameda:

    Principled Republicans to oppose judges who actually honor separation of powers

    Nickel back’s unwavering support of trump’s nomination of judges who prefer the unitary executive over separation of powers puts the lie to everything else he says.

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  39. Gustopher says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Trump’s failures are myriad and many, but so far would require someone else acting to translate into millions of deaths. (Unless you want to blame him for global warming, but I don’t think meaningful action was in the cards under a Clinton administration).

    The US is no longer going to be a trusted partner, and our standing in the world is weakened to the point where we might as well be France (important, but not an effective global superpower). But, making other governments work around the US might actually be good from a global perspective on things like global warming. It opens up possibilities.

    If a clever China or EU sees an opening to get tariffs on US products that are effectively a carbon tax… Would that be bad?

    Measuring Trump’s failures requires deciding on what measures are used and what is good on those measures. I don’t put US standing on the scale, I put lives on the scale.

    George W. Bush’s failures were clear, measurable, and did nothing to expand the possible solutions to global threats. The US as the single superpower was doing a pretty shitty job, and Donald J. Trump, attempting to “Make America Great Again,” has utterly disrupted it.

    I’m not a Trotskyite who believes that we have to burn everything to the ground before there can be change. But, if everything is already being burnt to the ground… I have faith someone will take advantage of that, and hope that their interests might be better than a superpower that denies climate change.

    Anyway, until I see the pile of bodies Trump causes, I’ll reserve judgement.

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  40. de stijl says:

    Did Lincoln build a wall?

    Did Lincoln promise to build a wall?

    Did Lincoln promise that Mexico would build a wall?

    Did Lincoln fail to build a wall?

    Did Lincoln divert funds from our military to pretend to build a wall?

    No in every case.

    Lincoln failed to pwn the libtards.

    Worst President ever!

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  41. Brian G. says:

    The GOP is the party of irrational thinking, and if this continues, the country will probably split into two.

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  42. Lounsbury says:

    @Teve: Certainly as it’s the Southerners who like a parasitic fungus growing inside a Cicada who took over the Republican Party – queer outcome in the end.

    of course the Southern racist takeover of the RP would end up seeing Lincoln downgraded…

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  43. andros says:

    Let me suggest an alternative definition of “cultists”: Those who approve of inciting riots by mouthing the falsehood that Michael Brown was “gunned down” because of his race. Against the backdrop of such calculated mendacity, “Get that son-of-a-bitch off the field” has a powerfully unifying effect.

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  44. Teve says:

    You know who else was a cultist? Crystal Mangum.

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  45. 95 South says:

    @Gustopher:

    It’s not that they are racist, it’s that they are indistinguishable from racists.

    Ha ha ha! You’re finally admitting it. Republicans aren’t racists. But Democrats can’t carry on a conversation without accusing them of it. They’re the problem.

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  46. wr says:

    @95 South: ” You’re finally admitting it. Republicans aren’t racists. ”

    So you got, what, like a 3 on the reading comprehension part of the SAT?

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  47. DrDaveT says:

    @andros:

    Let me suggest an alternative definition of “cultists”

    You are Humpty Dumpty, and I Claim My Five Pounds.

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  48. Kae Hahn says:

    Here is what is going to happen…Trump is winning again! Unemployment numbers down, poverty numbers down, personal wealth up! You democrats look like poor sad little losers, again. Get on the Trump train for four more years and see your bank account increase. Don’t listen to the lies of every news station except Fox News. I am an independent and I think the whole Impeachment issue is a “joke”. Clinton had seven felony accounts for his impeachment verdict, Trump none. Wake UP!

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  49. M says:

    @DrDaveT: What George Bush did to this country was plenty bad too. Definitely still worse than Trump, not saying there isn’t time for him to change that but so far it’s more obnoxious than soul-destroying.

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