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Tracing The Path Of The Modern GOP, From Reagan To Trump

A cutout of Republican US president Donald Trump (R) and former US President Ronald Reagan (L) are seen during the American Conservative Union Conservative Political Action Conference 2016 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center March 4, 2016, in Oxon Hill, Maryland.(Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)
A cutout of Republican US president Donald Trump (R) and former US President Ronald Reagan (L) are seen during the American Conservative Union Conservative Political Action Conference 2016 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center March 4, 2016, in Oxon Hill, Maryland.(Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images)

The Wall Street Journal’s executive Washington editor Gerald Seib has been a fly on the wall of the Republican Party for the past 40 years. He joins us to unspool the history that led up to President Trump’s election in 2016, and chart the course of the GOP into the future.

Guests

Gerald Seib, executive Washington editor of The Wall Street Journal. Author of the new book, “ We Should Have Seen It Coming: From Reagan To Trump — A Front-Row Seat To A Political Revolution.” ( @GeraldFSeib)

Oren Cass, executive director of American Compass, a conservative think tank. Author of “ The Once and Future Worker.” ( @oren_cass)

Mindy Finn, co-founder of Stand Up Republic. CEO of Citizen Data. 2016 Independent Vice Presidential candidate with Evan McMullin. ( @mindyfinn)

From The Reading List

Excerpt from “We Should Have Seen It Coming” by Gerald Seib. 

Copyright © 2020. Reprinted with permission from the author.

The Wall Street Journal: How Trump Has Changed The Republicans” — “For almost four decades, the conservative movement was defined by one man, Ronald Reagan, and his movement, the Reagan Revolution. Reagan was an unlikely revolutionary figure, a modestly successful actor with a self-effacing style and no intellectual pretensions. Yet he personally made the Republican Party into a conservative party, and his legacy inspired the movement’s leaders, animated its policy debates and stirred its voters’ emotions long after he left the scene.”

The New York Times: Where Do Republicans Go From Here?” — “Jonathan V. Last thinks President Trump is here forever. Last, the editor of The Bulwark, a conservative site that’s been hostile to Trump, argues that if Trump loses in November, he’ll claim he was cheated out of the election. He’ll force other Republicans to back up his claim. He’ll get a TV show, hold rallies, be coy about running again in 2024.”

The Washington Post: “ If these leaders define the future of the Republican Party, it doesn’t deserve to have a future” — “With President Trump trailing in the polls, there is palpable hope in some quarters that the Republican Party will get back to “normal” before long. That means a Reaganesque agenda of tax cuts, free trade, deregulation, muscular internationalism, social conservatism and a welcoming attitude toward immigrants.”

The Washington Post: Republicans are putting on two conventions this week. One of them will be sane.” — “The Republican Party revealed its descent into a cult of personality by declaring on Sunday that it would have no party platform at its convention this week, only a pledge of complete loyalty to President Trump. The party proclaimed in a resolution that ‘The [Republican National Committee] enthusiastically supports President Trump and continues to reject the policy positions of the Obama-Biden Administration, as well as those espoused by the Democratic National Committee today … [and that] the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.’ Any platform would be ruled ‘out of order,’ according to the resolution. It is quite a confession of intellectual vacuity.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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