While we hold up Roosevelt, Washington and Lincoln as exemplars of American democracy, there have been some duds in the presidential lineup. Nation Editor at Large Chris Hayes celebrated President’s Day with a rundown of the presidents “whose maleficence, incompetence, cluelessness, racism, violence, and ethnic cleansing made the country and the world worse.” Joining him were Columbia professor Dorian Warren, author Jim Moore, and Nation Washington DC Correspondent John Nichols, who selected Andrew Johnson as the country's worst president thanks to his blatantly racist leadership in the post-Civil War years. Nichols noted that Johnson, who took office after Lincoln’s assassination, blocked the 1866 Civil Rights Act, fought against the Fourteenth Amendment and vetoed allowing states to enter the union for fear they might tip the balance in favor of civil rights.
Simon Davis-Cohen