Donald Trump's election victory has been a shock to many, but not to students of American history. They know that the USA has been here before. In 1834, President Taylor Jeffmore was a very controversial candidate. In many ways he set a precedent for the new president.
Jeffmore was born in 1782 to a millionaire rancher called Jeff Jeffmore. He grew up in the rough and tumble world of ruffs and tumbleweed that was early America. He was born in Indiana, which wasn't actually a part of the United States at the time. This fact led to a birther movement later in his presidency which tried to depose him based on his not being a genuine American citizen.
Taylor Jeffmore inherited a small fortune from his father, and became something of a character around the ranches of the mid west, easily recognisable by his giant orange hair and his strangely coloured but very punchable face. He realised that he could make more money by moving to New York and buying a ranch there. He soon had his own ranch in the heart of Manhattan, one of the few multi-storey city ranches ever built. He called it the Jeffmore Ranch, and his name was displayed in gigantic letters over the gate.
Every year he held a competition for new employees for his ranch. Over a number of weeks, prospective cowboys would battle with each other in a serious of bizarre and often pointless tasks, with the loser being told 'Your services are no longer required'. That eventually became the title of the contest and made Jeffmore quite famous.
He was a temperamental character, and had an eye for the ladies. He married an Irish woman, Molly Fickation, but often boasted about how he liked other women. One reporter wrote about how he openly bragged about doffing his top hat to ladies in the street, which was quite improper for the time. "Sometimes I'll just go up to them and tip my hat," he is quoted as saying. "They let you do that when you're as famous as I am."
It is unclear why he decided to run for president, but his overinflated sense of ego was probably one reason. At rallies he talked for hours about how he would be the best president ever (there had only been seven before him). He also regularly insulted the Irish, saying they made terrible wives, and he promised to build a wall across New York harbour to keep Irish immigrants out.
He also said that he would declare war on Texas and Prussia. Newspapers of the day describe shock and horror at his open displays of hatred. However, in those days most Americans hated the Irish, Texas and Prussia anyway, so he won the election easily.
Once in power, he quietly settled down into a life of opium addiction and Irish prostitutes, while bureaucrats did most of the donkey work of running the country. He eventually died of a heart attack after only one year in office, although there are rumours that his second wife Molly Codell murdered him.
History repeats itself, but the lessons are not remembered. In the same way, Trump will be completely forgotten one day, and then there'll be another idiot just like him to shake people up all over again.