I am a big believer in the cycles of history. Every 75 to 80 years, America goes through immense disruptive change at all levels: economic, political and cultural. We are in such a moment today, and it is hard to predict the outcome, just as it was in the past. We are going through incredible cultural change, turmoil as our economy adjusts to technological advances, and we have lost faith and trust in most political and government institutions. We are also wondering about America's place in the world.
Some 80 years before that, we were in the midst of great economic change, moving from an agrarian to an industrial economy. We were also struggling with cultural change and the issue of slavery and were about to move into the tragic and terrible Civil War. The two presidents who emerged at the time also were a study in contrasts.
So the question is, will Trump be a Buchanan or a Hoover, failing to solve the fundamental problems our society faces or heal the divides, or will he be a transformational leader in the mold of Roosevelt and Lincoln?
I know partisans quickly answer that question depending on their political jersey. Democrats will quickly say Trump will be a failure and serve one term. His supporters believe he will succeed big league and be a great president. I think it is still an open question, and we won't know the answer for at least a year. The good news is that even if Trump turns out to be in the line of Buchanan and Hoover, that means our 21st century version of Lincoln and FDR is likely soon to follow. America has always been strong enough to overcome bad leadership and give birth to the leaders we hunger for.
The choice is ours, and time will tell about our president-elect.
Matthew Dowd is an ABC News analyst and special correspondent. Opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect the views of ABC News.