Is Reaganism Dead?

Interesting point by William Galston regarding Trump and the Republicans. He makes the case that Reaganism, and what Reagan strongly believed in was dead.

In some cases, he is correct. The Republicans have lost the fight on a lot of the social issues. On gay marriage, they were on the wrong side of history. The Republicans are most certainly correct that the break down in the idea of family has destroyed a lot of what makes America great.

In Michael Lotus book, America 3.0, he makes the historical case that the idea of the Germanic family was key to the success of both England and America. I agree with a lot of what he says about the historical underpinnings of the family unit, and what it meant to the development of America.

Government policy intended to shore up the family but wound up destroying it. Over and over again, I am seeing articles about millennials living with their parents until their late 20s. Out of wedlock births are significantly higher than they were when the war on poverty started.

Reagan cobbled together a winning coalition that won the presidency by a landslide. On the surface, it looked like social issues made that coalition hang together but the truth is it was economics. Reagan knew what was wrong with America and he offered a message of hope. Galston is correct when he writes, In President Reagan’s first inaugural address, he declared that “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.” But Galston, like most Democrats, wrongly assumes that the bulk of the Republican party is social issues first. That’s simply not true in this day and age.

Reagan was correct in his initial inaugural address and he is correct now.

What has America seen since 2000? A gigantic increase in government. President Bush was no small government conservative and Obama is obviously not one. The wave that is behind Trump was also the wave that elected Democrats to the House in 2006. They learned the big government lessons under Reagan. Big government is destroying our economy. Bad public policy set by the White House, combined with bad banking policy set by the Federal Reserve has created a two or even three track economy. For the wealthy that have the means and wherewithal to take advantage of the policies, things are okay. Maybe 5% GDP growth. The upper middle class sometimes can take advantage, and sometimes not. The middle class is getting killed. Their GDP is around 1-2%. The underclass has it better than they did before because transfer payments have gone up-but let’s not fool ourselves and think they are placated and complacent. No one grows up with the goal that they are going to be a part of a permanent underclass.

Only two Presidential candidates on the Republican side were speaking to this. Trump and Rubio, albeit in different ways. Bernie Sanders is speaking to this, but his solution is 100% incorrect.

Trump is no Reagan. To be honest, I don’t know exactly what Trump stands for. I know he is a businessperson. Good businesspeople have some core principles, and are highly flexible. In a Trump presidency, it’s going to be all about the people that are around him and if they are good “brokers”. I don’t mean brokers in the way you are probably thinking, but brokers in the way Professor Ron Burt defines it.

People that put themselves between networks and carry information back and forth. Good brokers are transparent, and they are great listeners. I also think Trump will actively negotiate with Democrats. That scares the hell out of Republicans. Republicans and Democrats have firmed each of their bases by being parties of no.

America has a lot of fear driving through it today. This is not dissimilar from 1979. Economic fear. Fear of how to make a living in the future. Foreign policy fear and terrorism. These are Hierarchy of Needs fears and currently our government only cares about who is on the $20 bill.

I know exactly what Hillary will bring and I am against virtually all of it. If big government hasn’t solved any of our problems, how is bigger government going to do it better? Crony capitalism doesn’t work. Her brand of corruption is especially toxic. Economic fascism. Her policy in the Middle East was terrible. Her ideas about Russia and China are backward. The only benefit that Hillary brings is being the first female President and that’s not enough.

Yup, like most Americans I am generally disgusted by this Presidential race. The establishments in both parties need to get blown up and the government for the people by the people needs to start acting in the best interests of the bulk of the people.


On Twitter I am getting a little pushback that this is an endorsement of Trump. I want to be clear that I am not endorsing Trump. But, I didn’t care for any of the Republican candidates once we got to the final three.

When I travel, I am meeting Trump people. He speaks to the middle class better than any other candidate and at least empathizes with their fears. He is not graceful or particularly eloquent. In my blue city if I run into a Republican that is out of the closet, they are not Trump supporters and are very unsatisfied with the final three. Interesting, because last August the right wing press was touting all the incredible talent on the stage.

  • teapartydoc

    Make America Great Again. Build the wall. Non-nations are populated by non-citizens.

    • Adocracy

      We didn’t need a wall in the first place to make America great. Trump is big pharma for politics – we don’t need a giant construction pill to swallow to make ourselves better and “great again” – we don’t need a construction Viagra. What we *need* is to recognize the global nature of today’s economy and start leading the world on global policies of labor, trade, finance, security, and human freedoms, while educating Americans on how to compete in a global economy. “America” is not a collection of LatLong points on a map. “America” is the soul of constitutional democracy as embodied in a land of neighbors collaborating on a great society. America needs to be the president of -and full blown participant in- the global society, not a hermit hunched over its hearth walled inside its cave mumbling to himself about “I’m going to come back one day bigger than ever, I’ll show ’em… Here, buy my red hat.”

      • I agree, we need to stop illegal immigration. There are several policy ways to do that-and the easiest way to imagine it is a physical wall. I don’t think we need to mimic the rest of the world when it comes to policy. America is a unique place. We need a policy that works based on original principles. America has lost its way and the Democrats are extremely out of touch with American values and the policy to implement them.

        • Adocracy

          I’m not sure which “original principles” you’re talking about that just Democrats are out of touch with, or how just the Democrats have made America lose its way. Elaborate please.
          If you had said that the corporate monied interests of both parties are extremely out of touch with American values, then I would have agreed out of hand.

  • JLM

    Republicans, like any large group of people, are not monolithic and therein lies the intellectual challenge of ascribing to them “group think.”

    Politicians, successful ones, attract supporters on what may be very disparate terms. One Republican may be focused on the economy while another is focused on national defense.

    Age has a big impact on political support. Senior citizens, those folks who have actually lived and experienced life and thus have a bit of healthy skepticism of the “flavor of the month” political spin, are steady while Millenials are just plain stupid, impressionable, easy to manipulate, and entitled.

    But, at the core of all of this is a sense as to whether you can TRUST a man to do the right thing.

    People trusted REAGAN. It is not important why. We may not be able to articulate why. They just TRUSTED the man.

    Right now, the same people who went to the polls in 2014 angry, trust Trump. Maybe because he’s casting light on the corrupt political process. Who knows why?

    He was the first one to see and tap into this anger and he has only made it more intense by sharing what he knows. Who today does not think that the GOPe is corrupt? That the GOPe is trying to retain a base of power that is not democratically generated?

    They trust him and that is all he needs right now. Like Reagan, he can ride that pony until he gets thrown off.

    LIke Gandhi said:

    First they ignore you,
    Then they laugh at you,
    Then they fight you,
    Then you win.

    Yesterday, Trump sealed the deal. Now, he has to go around and bayonet the wounded and tidy things up but make no mistake. They fought him and he won.


    • I think you are right on the trust thing. You know why they trust Trump? He looks like he can’t be bought. Charles Koch floating phantom support for Hillary will only help Trump.

      • JLM

        It is truly remarkable the people who Trump has had the luck to become enemies and opponents.

        The GOPe. Political correctness. Mitt Romney. The pundits. The media. The corrupt nominating process. The Bushes. The Congress. The donor class. The billionaires. The Kochs. The intelligentsia. The Illuminati.

        He is more blessed by his enemies than his friends.

        The anger from 2014 has grown more virulent, not less so. He gets it.

        Trump has defined the debate. He is the one who has injected EVERY topic into the agenda. He and he alone.

        He has made earned media and social into a political art form while taking the fight directly to his opponents in a very personal way.

        He singlehandedly undid the “fix” — the Jeb Bush fix. And, on an absurd basis — “low energy”? No kidding?