Both wealthy New Yorkers who were out of step with the political establishment and the party that they came to dominate. Like Theodore Roosevelt, Donald Trump is a populist whose "swashbuckling" approach to public life often infuriates old-line politicians. As with Trump today, Teddy Roosevelt was considered unpredictable and erratic -- a "damned cowboy". When Roosevelt received the Republican nomination for Vice President at the GOP convention in 1900, one prominent Republican Senator said: "Don't any of you realize there's only one life between that madman and the presidency?"
As president, Theodore Roosevelt championed the working class and broke up the economic monopolies held by the wealthy elites of his day. He favored labor and labor unions. Under Roosevelt, the average working person flourished as the standard of living went up. He supported competition over crony capitalism. His larger-than-life image served him well, whether it meant bringing management to the table with labor to end a miners' strike or getting the Russians and Japanese to the negotiating table to sign a peace treaty. Unlike President Obama, Teddy Roosevelt didn't get a Nobel Peace Prize just for showing up -- Roosevelt earned the 1906 Nobel prize for hammering out a peace deal.
Roosevelt's America was an America of big dreams and great expectations. It was the America that built the Panama Canal and placed 125 million acres of wilderness under conservation. It built the Great White Fleet to defend the borders from outside aggression -- and passed the Meat Inspection Act and Food & Drug Act to protect Americans closer to home.
Donald Trump promises to "make America great again." He has certainly turned his party and the political class on its head. Something long overdue and greatly needed. And something no candidate outside of Bernie Sanders or Rand Paul could have done. Chalk that up on the plus side to start.
Godspeed and good fortune Mr. President.
Go to it!