Most of the presidents between Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt are pretty much forgotten. About the only thing Grover Cleveland is remembered for is being the only president to serve nonconsecutive terms. His rise to power is a compelling story. In just four years, he went from being a fairly successful Buffalo lawyer to President. Even more incredible was how he did it.
He lived in an era of political bosses. Government jobs were handed out based on party connections. Corruption was rampant. The situation was especially bad in Buffalo. In 1881 he was elected mayor. He started to clean up the city. His success gained him so much acclaim that he was elected governor of New York the following year. He worked tirelessly for the state. He became very popular and was gaining notice across the country. This took him all the way to the White House.
He was a true rarity; a politician that got ahead by doing a good job. He had no powerful family connections, no Civil War heroism, no support from the political bosses, was not a fiery speaker and definitely was not charismatic.
Today we have people like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. They have no political accomplishments , can fire up their base while demonizing their opposition. Doing a good job doesn’t seem to matter anymore. George H. W. Bush is the last president to have an extensive record of accomplishment.
We now have two parties that are far more interested in fighting each other than working together to improve the country. Hopefully that will change and we can start electing men like Grover Cleveland.