Marquette Warrior: Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan

From the Chicago Tribune, a comparison between the late president, revered among conservatives, and the current Republican front runner.
Today, the polarizing contender is Donald Trump, and it’s safe to guess that many of the voters who like him also liked Reagan. He has built his campaign, in fact, on his appeal to “Reagan Democrats” — socially conservative working-class voters, particularly white men. “Let’s make America great again” was Reagan’s 1980 slogan. Hmm.

The parallel may sound absurd to those who remember the Gipper as a smiling, avuncular statesman whose speeches could touch the heart. When he was running against President Jimmy Carter, though, critics perceived Reagan as a reckless ignoramus with a simple-minded view of the world and a knack for exploiting racial resentments.
But then the analogy breaks down:
But the resemblance is deceptive. The differences between the Reagan of 1980 and the Trump of 2016 are bigger and deeper than the similarities.

Reagan was a consistent conservative with a clear vision of what he thought the federal government should do, drawing on a body of political and economic thought and first-rate advisers. Trump is not consistently conservative or consistently anything else. He appears to listen to few advisers of any caliber.

The 40th president also had experience in office, having served for eight years as governor of California, where he showed he could balance ideology with practical and political necessity. Trump has no comparable experience, and he has shown no such ability.

The two also diverge on some major issues. Trump regards undocumented workers as a dangerous plague, while Reagan signed the 1986 amnesty that let millions of foreigners gain legal status and citizenship. The protectionist Trump deplores NAFTA — which was the brainchild of Reagan.

Less tangible differences are equally revealing. Trump traffics in dark fears about Mexicans and Muslims, brags nonstop about himself and bombards rivals with insults. Reagan was a courtly man who often made jokes at his own expense. He didn’t take disagreement personally, and Hoover Institution fellow Bill Whalen notes, “Reagan wrote the Eleventh Commandment: ‘Thou shall not speak ill of any fellow Republican.’ Trump has broken the entire tablet.”

Reagan was able to inspire and unite Americans as few presidents have because of his generous spirit, his likable personality and his devotion to the idea of America as a “shining city on a hill.” Trump invokes big goals, but often in ways that diminish our highest ideals.

Reagan served a cause bigger than himself. Trump gives the impression that in his mind, there is nothing bigger than himself.

Republicans mulling whether to fall in line behind Trump ought to ask: Would I be advancing the ideals that Ronald Reagan advocated? Or would I be undercutting the legacy of someone I admired?
Indeed, the white working class has every good reason to vote against liberal Democrats. Liberal Democrats, after all, are the people who would discriminate against them in employment, and discriminate against their children in college admissions. Liberal Democrats sneer that their conservative social values, and don’t even bother to conceal their contempt.

But there are better and worse ways to express a legitimate grievance. Right now, the better way is to vote for Ted Cruz, which is actually a vote for an open convention. We don’t see any Ronald Reagan among Republican candidates right now, but we see lot of people better than Donald Trump.

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Blogger tz said...

vote for Ted Cruz, which is actually a vote for an open convention. We don’t see any Ronald Reagan among Republican candidates right now, but we see lot of people better than Donald Trump.

None of those "better" will be the nominee even in an open convention. That is the problem. What happened about Abortion, judges, the gay agenda under the 12 years of the Bushes? And would you have trusted Mitt Romneycare?

Boehnor (a nominal Catholic) was ejected, and instead of Webster or someone "better" we got consummate insider Paul Ryan that in the Omnibus funded amnesty, planned parenthood, and everything Obama wanted until he's out of office. He might be the nominee. Better than Trump? How about Retread Romney? Guiliani or Christie? Others who dropped out because of low voter popularity.

The GOP Establishment will betray Cruz - he won't win on the second ballot and the third or fourth will vote for another Bush clone - maybe even Jeb!

Look on the other side - The choice is between Hillary and Bernie. Could not the Democrats come up with someone better? Yes, but the machine would prevent them - they are working against Bernie.

When it comes down to it, hold your nose and vote for Trump, and I've had to hold my nose for 2-3 decades and vote for the nominee, or go Libertarian or Constitution party

8:46 PM  
Blogger Loved to Death said...

Will you do me the favor of posting pictures of yourself with all your white, working class buddies? Professor? I live in a complex of-- mostly-- working class, white fellows, who own guns(along with some black and immigrant blue collars, who might substitute a snarling pitbull for a tec-9). I have never seen anyone from Academia, gay, straight, Catholic, Libertarian, Socialist, or Wiccan/abortionist. Professors dont hang out with us--doesnt matter at all what vapid ideology they profess; its a class thing pure and simple. Nobody is fooling anyone anymore concerning wealthy conservatives, who seem to think apple pie is much better sprinkled with dollar bills. Nobody with any real power gives a shit about traditional values, unless those values are consistent with obtaining more--or keeping lots of--power. Period.

11:38 PM  

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