Editor's note: The following column originally appeared on the website of The Fiscal Times.
Think Donald Trump is a one-off? Not quite -- in many ways, he appears a successor to LBJ.
Following the unprecedented election of Donald J. Trump, many continue to look for precedents. The real estate magnate’s intervention with Carrier reminded columnist Peggy Noonan of JFK’s engagement with the steel industry. Others have likened Trump’s unlikely campaign to that of another celebrity who upset the established order – Ronald Reagan.
The better comparison may be with Lyndon Baines Johnson. LBJ was a crude, rude and not especially popular president who got things done. Unlike President Obama, Johnson was willing to roll up his sleeves and jawbone legislators and business leaders in order to get bills passed and to move the country forward. That’s how he was able to sign civil rights legislation in an era when opposition to racial equality came mainly from Republicans but also from vehement members of his own party – the Southern Democrats. He made life impossible for his foes, bullying and wheedling until the bills passed, in the process forever changing the makeup of the Democratic Party.
Trump is engaged in something similar. He is already changing the discourse between the corporate world and the Republican Party. In calling out CEOs for ignoring the welfare of their own workers by moving operations overseas, by threatening retaliatory measures against firms that flee the country, and by opposing trade deals like the TPP largely crafted by corporate titans, he is upending the Chamber of Commerce-GOP partnership that has shaped economic policy for decades.