Trump vs Reagan

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    So this now looks like a Trump nomination for the Republican party.

    Brings me back to 1980. I know some of you are too young to remember, but unfortunately I am not.

    Ronald Reagan was not considered a strong candidate. He was “an actor”, “a figure-head”, etc, etc.

    Guess what, (well wait, there is no guessing in this)…

    This is beginning to look a lot like 1980.


    I literally cannot believe you’re making even a soft/tacit comparison.


    Yes, it is a soft comparison, but it feels the same as it did in 1980. Show me why you disagree. BTW, I am NOT a Trump supporter.


    I don’t see any comparison.

    If you look at the electoral math, Trump has a very minimal chance of getting the EV’s to win.

    Trump’s brand may do well with the primary voters, but a general election is a whole nother story.


    We can’t see any comparison due to history. Reagan went on to two terms and many in the GOP consider him as one the greats. (I do not).

    So…again, this feels like 1980. I am perhaps putting this out as more of a warning than anything else.


    Reagan was an “outsider” (though he served as governor of California, ran for president and almost got the nomination in 1976, and spent years championing conservative causes and fundraising for them), and Carter was the “established” candidate.

    That is about where the similarities end.

    Our economy in 1980 was a dumpster fire compared to now. We had the Iranian hostage crisis. Things were not well here, at all.

    Reagan also had some class to him, something Trump does not. Reagan didn’t ridicule and scorn his opponents and anyone who did not agree with him, while Trump takes some great perverse pleasure in it.


    “Trump’s brand may do well with the primary voters, but a general election is a whole nother story.”

    I hope Vit is correct here (he has a pretty good track record), but fear that we might possibly discover that the “lowest common denominator” is far lower than rational thinkers might predict.


    I may have misrepresented my opinion here.

    I think this Trump movement is similar to the Reagan movement of 1980. Please understand I am not comparing Reagan to Trump. I am just comparing a landscape of the election, where Reagan came in as the outsider and won, and won again. While I believe Hillary will win, Trump could also win in similar circumstances.


    I’m alarmed by a Trump run. I would have preferred Cruz. Cruz is more predicable. Trump is a wild card.

    But, I’m comforted by the math we are looking at when it comes to the general election.


    Paul said, “Yes, it is a soft comparison, but it feels the same as it did in 1980. Show me why you disagree. BTW, I am NOT a Trump supporter”.

    First, apologies for the delay in reply. I see a number of others have already addressed (some) of the points I was going to raise.

    I just don’t find the two comparable in any meaningful way. In fact, I find it (literally) dangerous to talk about Donald Trump like he’s just another GOP candidate for the Presidency. He’s really, really, not.

    • Enlisted in the armed force; did not see combat due to physical failings (poor eyesight) but there’s no evidence he attempted to avoid anything.
    • Successful actor, SAG president for multiple terms
    • Two term governor of California.
    • Two term President of the United States
    • By all accounts, generally a gentleman. This matters, people. The Republic is not a reality show.

    While he was famously a Hollywood Democrat who later moved far to the right and became a conservative and spokesman for the Goldwater campaign of 1964, his over arcing ideology was quite consistent. For the most part he was who he said he was and attempted to govern accordingly and consistently. He had great respect for the political process and understood both the challenges and benefits of bipartisanship.

    Reagan’s actual record of governance would be inarguably considered centrist Democrat by the stands of the “modern” Republican party. Fact.

    By comparison, Trump

    • Was given millions of dollars by his father to invest in Manhattan real estate. The idea Trump is some kind of business genius is not supported the facts. He’s been the architect of an impressive array of failures ranging from the entirely predictable (Trump Air) to the entirely hilarious (Trump Steaks) to the entirely fraudulent. (Trump University) I’ve read several independent financial analysis of Trump that have concluded had he simply invested that money and done nothing at all he’s be worth more today than he actually is. In other words, he’s an arrogant idiot.
    • Lied to avoid serving in Vietnam; has since gone on to either take advantage of veterans in various ways centered around his own self-aggrandizement or disparaged them for reasons of political opportunism.
    • Long and well documented history of being loud, rude, crude, buffoonish and engaging in racist and misogynist language and behavior. Not in my opinion, in the actual record of fact. He’s a toad.
    • Changes his viewpoints, on anything and everything, day to day and seemingly hour by hour. The only thing Donald Trump believes in is Donald Trump. He’s a willfully ignorant and incredibly narcissistic demagogue. That kind of unpredictability is utterly terrifying to contemplate being anywhere near the levers of power.

    Even to the manner in which each rose to national prominence has little to no relation to one another. Put (overly) simply in deference to time and space:

    • Reagan was the (1980) beneficiary of a really poor national and international economy, incredibly troubled foreign affairs, and a Democratic incumbent who lacked the political acumen to articulate (and convince) the majority of the electorate that staying the course was the right decision. Reagan was the change candidate.
    • Trump is simply the channel for white grievance and its associated ignorance and hate. Despite the dumb continuing to claim the sky is falling, the national economy is actually pretty healthy and the state of the nation is in pretty good shape. The outgoing incumbent has high approval ratings, unemployment is almost historically low, the stock market is historically high, etc. While the middle class has been ripped to shreds for a number of reasons, ironically many of them directly traceable to the pursuance of Republican policies, this alone is not enough to complement the 1980 parallel. Trump is the preferred candidate of a number of prominent white power groups and other racist organizations, and his “platform” (if you deign to call it that) basically consists of mouthing idiotic populist slogans and/or denigrating everyone who isn’t a middle aged or older, white, heterosexual, Christian, Republican.

    Again, Trump is not just another Republican. The media is going to quickly begin treating this like any other national election. And it’s a mistake.

    Trump is dangerous. He’s a willfully ignorant, arrogant, tone deaf, bullheaded, unpredictable demagogue with fascist leanings and no real belief in anything or anyone other than himself. Anyone considering voting for this lunatic needs to be attended by the shame nun from Game of Thrones in the most public way possible.


    Thanks for your thorough post on Reagan. I tend to agree with you.

    At times I tend to wander off into my own little world, and it finally occurs to me what I was trying to present.

    Many on this site have stated, unequivocally, that Reagan was the worst President of the US in the last century. I guess my goal was to challenge that to some extent, thus my “Trump vs Reagan” headline. As I stated, this feels similar to ’80, though they are certainly different men.

    My “soft” comparison was more a look at how this election is bringing some of the same topics into play, though I don’t think Trump can pull it off. However, I remember when I was 20, I also didn’t think Reagan could pull it off either.


    Reagan’s tenure was a mixed bag. He was neither the saint many on the right exalt him to be nor the buffoon (some) on the left have simplified him into. I have never thought he was the worst anything though I was troubled by a number of things about his administration. I wouldn’t even even rank him top 10 worst U.S. presidents. IMO, that’s just hyperbole. We have done far (far) worse in this country even in recent memory. That would be W. (Historians by the way are already clambering over each other to agree with me.)

    And Reagan is FDR or Lincoln compared to Donald Trump. As I outlined, it’s really not even a comparative. Look at this video. Republicans, and Republicans only, on Trump:

    Seriously. He’s a dangerous moron. I don’t see how it can really be substantively argued otherwise. He’s an ignorant, racist, sexist, vulgarian. I’d expect more from children.

    Of course, for those whom are immune to fact, logic, and reason (and are themselves likely utter cretins) such support makes total sense. Like calls to like, etc.


    Reagan, on the other hand, turned me into the liberal that I am today.


    I’d vote for Reagan (or anyone of either party who was even remotely qualified) over Donald Trump. He’s a dangerous buffoon.

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