The Common Thread Between Reagan and Trump
That much of the D.C. establishment and their enablers in the media relentlessly pillory our 45th president is a matter of record. The president’s core supporters receive much the same treatment as the caricature of gum-chewing, flip-flop wearing, gun-toting white rednecks (yes, the “deplorables”) is daily weaponized by the fourth estate.
But it is far too easy to simply dismiss the president’s appeal as a product of working class-generated grievance/resentment politics.
In fact, much of what the president and his supporters bring to the table is similar to what Ronald Reagan and his movement once had, albeit in vastly different eras. The respective personalities are of course quite different. Where Reagan was the smooth-talking, unthreatened nice guy actor-turned-politician, Trump relishes the image of the tough guy, plain-speaking dealmaker who can as easily fire as hire.
Still, the similarities between the two presidents on substantive issues are striking. Each passed historic, growth-oriented tax packages, implemented light-touch regulation, advocated traditionally conservative social views, sought out originalist judges, and were (are) unapologetic proponents of American exceptionalism.
This last point makes it easy to imagine “The Gipper” hosting the very same July 4 show of military hardware recently hosted by the president on the National Mall. Similarly, it takes little imagination to guess how a previous generation’s anti-Reagan media would have reported the day’s events. You can bet pejoratives such as “fascist” and “dictator” would have dominated the coverage.
Today’s Trump-crazed and highly polarized culture makes it easy to forget the vicious reviews and slanders hurled at Reagan during his campaigns and as president. You will recognize the indictments: intellectual lightweight, lazy, dangerous, warmonger, racist. Per everybody’s favorite catcher, Yogi Berra, [the Trump era] is “déjà vu all over again.”
Back to the two presidents’ respective views of America. Both assured us America’s best days lie ahead. Both stressed an opportunity society, regardless of sex, creed or color. Both were willing to leave high stakes foreign policy summits empty-handed, each declaring no deal was better than a bad deal.
There is another similarity between the two presidents that will not generate much analysis but is nevertheless true. Both took on comfortable, intellectually arrogant monopolies that do not take kindly to disruptors who refuse to play by the rules. Both enjoyed rabid base support as a result.
Indeed, their respective cores became ever more enthusiastic when outrageous charges were lodged. This base of support knew (knows) that whether the target is Reagan, Trump or Pence, America’s secular cultural elites will relentlessly seek to vilify, especially when traditional social views are at issue.
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You can check it out for yourself. Nancy Reagan was hounded for her old fashioned commonsensical ways, particularly her anti-drug culture campaign (“Just say no”), in much the same way as Pence is today on account of his strong Christian convictions.
One more point. When the bi-coastal value-makers do their number on Trump as they did on Reagan — and politically correct corporate America falls in line (as just went down with Nike and Kaepernick) — the middle American fault line is dug even deeper. But few comment on it. There are no bumper stickers to reflect it. The New York Times and CNN either will not or are unable to recognize it. Many House Democrats do not even pretend to understand it.
But you’d better believe that today’s relentless attacks on its conservative sensibilities cause flyover America to buy ever more shovels.
Here then are the (knowing) silent looks, the closed-door conversations, the secret handshakes, and millions of $25 checks made out to “Trump re-elect,” often from people who do not have $25 to spare. These plain ole regular folks are simply tired of progressivism’s tolerance for identity politics, socialism-lite and open borders.
Of course, the only cathartic event that truly counts occurs on the second Tuesday of November, every four years. It was on one such day that a past generation’s deplorables gave Reagan a 49-state win, another one when that seemingly impenetrable midwestern blue wall came tumbling down…
Led by the so-called “squad,” the works and deeds of today’s ultra-aggressive progressives, who embarrassingly intimidate less radical (let alone moderate) Democrats, are again driving large numbers of the great unwashed to the edge.
All in all, it is a most positive development for Donald J. Trump.
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