For Donald Trump, making America "great again" means making it more like the 1950s

Source: AP
Source: AP

Back in 1994, Donald Trump questioned whether he wanted his wife to work.

"I have days where I think it's great. And then I have days where, if I come home — and I don't want to sound too much like a chauvinist — but when I come home and dinner's not ready, I go through the roof," he told ABC News at the time, referring to then-wife Ivana Trump, who was working for his casino business in Atlantic City.

Trump, who touts himself as a hard-hitting, uncompromising businessman, went on to explain that he didn't particularly like seeing his wife in action on the job.

"Ivana would get angry at somebody over the telephone, all of a sudden, who was at the casino, and she'd start shouting. And I'd say, 'I don't want my wife shouting at somebody like that, I really don't want that,'" Trump said. "And a softness disappeared. There was a great softness to Ivana, and she still has that softness, but during this period of time, she became an executive, not a wife."

Donald Trump appears with his then-wife, Ivana Trump.
Source: 
Marty Lederhandler/AP

Trump, now 70 years old and the Republican presidential nominee, seems to have a serious nostalgia for the past — namely the 1950s. On the campaign trail, he has frequently and consistently reminisced about this booming post-war period of America led by President Dwight Eisenhower.

"You know, Dwight Eisenhower was a wonderful general, and a respected president – and he moved a million people out of the country, nobody said anything about it. When Trump does it, it's like 'whoa.' When Eisenhower does it, 'Well that was Eisenhower, he's allowed to do it, we can't do it,'" Trump said at a rally last fall talking about his plan to deport illegal immigrants back to Mexico.

"That was also in the '50s, remember that. Different time, remember that," he said. "That's when we had a country. That's when we had borders; you know, without borders you don't have a country, essentially. We don't have a country. Without borders, you just don't have it."

Trump's campaign motto, after all, is "Make America Great Again."

"There was almost unparalleled American power and self-confidence after World War II," Alex Keyssar, a professor of history and social policy in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, told Business Insider. "The 1950s is what he, in his mind, had as his normal and what we should get back to."  

"He wants to go back to the '50s," Matt Mackowiak, founder of Potomac Strategy Group, told Business Insider. "He had something of a privileged upbringing, and he did like the world as it existed when he was a kid. A lot of us are developed based on our childhood."

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Stephanie Gaskell

Stephanie Gaskell is a policy writer for Mic.

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