Just in time for a slow-news Presidents’ Day, the New York Times surveyed 170 political experts, plucked from the American Political Science Association, to get their take on the best-ever, worst-ever, and most mediocre-ever commanders in chief.
The group came to a collective conclusion guaranteed to please the Resistance: Donald Trump is the lousiest president of all time.
Yep, Trump ranks dead last, at 45, behind such unloved or barely remembered leaders as James Buchanan, William Henry Harrison, and Franklin Pierce.
The scholars put Abraham Lincoln (who else?) at No. 1, George Washington at No. 2, and Franklin D. Roosevelt at No. 3, rankings that are unchanged from the last time this exercise was conducted, in 2014. (Among the notable shifts since then: Barack Obama jumped ten spots to No. 8; Andrew Jackson, whose virulent racism has fallen out of favor in some quarters, plummeted from No. 10 to No. 15; and Ulysses Grant, who is very hot right now, went up seven places.)
It’s not just liberal political scientists who hold a dim view of the White House’s current occupant. Among only Republican experts, Trump still ranks in the bottom five of all presidents. This, despite the fact that Trump has become a Reagan-style hero to actual GOP voters.
If you’re thinking that Trump’s lowly ranking is a wee bit premature after only a year and change in office, you’re not alone.
Trump may be bad, but he has not yet launched an unnecessary and catastrophic war (George W. Bush), helped usher in the Great Depression (Herbert Hoover), or help launch a catastrophic (but perhaps necessary) war (Buchanan). Beyond his foul rhetoric and lowering of general standards, Trump has done a good deal of tangible damage, but compared to some of his predecessors, it is on the small-bore side — so far. Trump is without a doubt one of the most, if not the most, morally bankrupt person to ever order a Diet Coke in the Oval Office. But he’s got a long way to go earn his spot at the very bottom.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to the group of political experts as historians.