Reagan’s Legacy: How the 40th President Continues to Influence Today’s Republican Party

Controversial Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida often invokes Reagan’s famous “time for choosing” speech from back in 1964.

Trump Uses Reagan to Avoid Abortion Debates

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Even former President Donald Trump, a towering but controversial figure in the GOP, references Reagan when addressing abortion restrictions.

Trump’s nod to Reagan symbolizes an attempt to bridge the divide between the party’s conservative base and more moderate voters.

Reagan Library Hails Him as a Hero

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The Reagan Library, known for its unapologetic praise of Reagan, believes in his status as a political legend. 

Reagan’s Story Told

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The exhibits meticulously detail Reagan’s journey from small-town Illinois to Hollywood stardom and, ultimately, the presidency. 

Reagan’s Legacy – Tainted?

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They encapsulate his commitment to limited government, anti-communist foreign policy, and conservative values while blindly ignoring his contribution to the AIDS epidemic and racial tensions during his tenure as president.

Republicans of Old

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However, the GOP’s landscape has shifted significantly since Reagan’s era. 

GOP Run by Personality Politics

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While Reagan emphasized ideological conservatism and the restoration of limited government, contemporary Republican politics often pivot around personality cults and divisive rhetoric.

Known for his work as an author of presidential biographies, 

Trump vs. Reagan

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Jonathan Alter, said “Unlike Trump, where it’s all about him, where it’s a cult of personality, with Reagan it was heavily ideological. It was all about trying to restore limited government with a strongly anti-communist foreign policy. So it was cut spending, cut taxes, increase defence.

That was their agenda and that became the animating idea of the Republican party.” 

Leadership or Tyranny

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Reagan aimed to reinstate limited government, whereas Trump’s appeal leans more toward demagoguery.

Different Approaches – Same Conclusion?

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Foreign policy stands out as another area where Reagan’s era starkly differs from the present.

Trump’s “America first” approach and reluctance to engage abroad contrast with Reagan’s strong anti-communist stance and “peace through strength” strategy.

Reagan Would Not Have Supported the Wall

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Reagan’s emphasis on the United States as a beacon of hope for the world, coupled with his support for immigrants stands in opposition to the present Republican party’s isolationist tendencies. 

From Anti-communist to Pro-Putin: The GOP’s Downfall

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Many argue that Reagan would be deeply disturbed to see Trump’s Pro-Putin tendencies after fighting tirelessly against communism. 

One in the Same

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A history professor from Princeton, Kevin Kruse warns us not to ignore the similarities between Trump and Reagan.

Kruse says, “Trump is loudly screaming what Reagan said softly with a smile.”

Reagan’s Scandals

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Reagan’s Presidency was plagued with its own scandals, although they seem miniscule compared to what has been normalized since Trump’s election in 2016. 

The Start of Fake News?

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He was known for spinning tales about the “Chicago Welfare Queen” and stories about poor people using their food stamps to buy luxurious goods, all while he continued to cut taxes for the rich. 

Reagan’s Racist Comments

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He had been caught calling African UN Delegates “Monkeys” and was known to be anti-affirmative action. 

Reagan’s Echoes

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As the Republican party continues its evolution, Reagan’s influence remains pervasive.

The debate at his library serves as a reminder of the shifting political landscape within the GOP. 

For Better or for Worse

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Whether Reagan’s party will persist or usher in a new era of Republicanism remains uncertain.

What is clear is that, for better or for worse, Ronald Reagan’s legacy will continue to shape the Republican party for years to come.

This post Reagan’s Legacy: How the 40th President Continues to Influence Today’s Republican Party first appeared on Edge.Media.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Joseph Sohm. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.

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