Working-Class Republicanism

A new book tells the story of a president who made his name as an entertainer and a Democrat before moving to the Republican Party and then launching a bid for the presidency. This candidate won his party’s presidential nomination despite objections from some party stalwarts that he was unelectable in the fall. He then captured the presidency in part because he was able to perform better than Republicans do in some traditionally white, working-class areas in key states.

This description applies to the current president, Donald Trump, but the book itself is actually about Ronald Reagan. The Working Class Republican, an intriguing new book by Henry Olsen, argues that Reagan was less conservative than is commonly acknowledged, and a close examination of his campaign message and time in office provides a model for Republicans going forward. In fact, Olsen argues, Trump mimicked Reagan in some ways. But now Trump is in danger of squandering his Reaganesque coalition, Olsen says, because unlike Reagan, Trump may be governing too far to the right. CONT.

Kyle Kondik, Sabato’s Crystal Ball