Washington Post opinion columnist and Graham Parsons fan Joe Scarborough writes today that Donald Trump’s hostile takeover of the Republican presidential primaries represents “the end of Ronald Reagan’s fabled coalition that ruled Republican politics for 40 years.”
Scarborough, as we know, is not actually an opponent of Trump, which takes some of the bite (and most of the point) out of his column. In fact, after proclaiming the end of that Reagan coalition, Scarborough goes on to explain how Trump is actually sort of recreating it:
After absorbing a brutal wave of attacks from the GOP establishment, including a nasty broadside from Mitt Romney, a thrice-married Manhattan billionaire who once loyally supported Hillary Clinton and who continues to lavish praise on Planned Parenthood swept to victory Tuesday night. Donald Trump easily won the night on the strength of a working-class coalition that included evangelicals in Mississippi and Reagan Democrats across Michigan. These are the same working-class voters who feel abandoned by their president, by their government and by the Republican Party.
Ronald Reagan was a twice-married Hollywood actor who once loyally supported Harry S. Truman and continued to lavish praise on the New Deal. He won on the strength of a working-class coalition that included evangelicals in Mississippi and, uh, “Reagan Democrats” across Michigan. Trump is closer to Reagan in biography, message, and appeal than any of the other candidates remaining in the field.
The only element of Reagan’s fabled coalition that Trump hasn’t won over? Highly educated and wealthy ideological conservatives. The ones who have seen their fortunes rise over the last three decades, as every other arm of the coalition has been mired in economic stagnation—or worse—with no serious relief in sight.
So is Donald Trump the end of Reagan’s coalition, or its logical endpoint?Isn’t he showing himself to be, in fact, the rightful heir to what remains of it? It’s the same angry whites. And they’re angrier than ever. But unfortunately for Reagan’s party, there aren’t enough of them left to win landslide elections.