Here’s a VERY short review of Reagan’s background:
He was not a politician for most of his life, working instead in the entertainment industry, until he decided to vigorously support Barry Goldwater for President in 1964. Goldwater was leading an internal revolution within the Republican Party calling for a more conservative party that spent less time compromising with Democrats and more time opposing them.
After Goldwater’s loss, Reagan was convinced to run for political office (Governor of California) and after two terms he ran twice for the Presidency until he won in 1980. He was never encouraged to run by the major donors, but each time was seen as an outsider.
Reagan was well known for saying blunt things and was not considered mainstream enough in his political views to be elected in a general election. He also had a physical trait that was mocked mercilessly in 1980: They said he was too old.
The Establishment GOP politicians mostly opposed and discounted Reagan (dismissing him as a “B-actor”), only begrudgingly coming along towards the end of his 14-year ascendency (1966-1980). Democrats viewed him as a right-wing kook and openly relished the idea of running against him (and his past statements) in a general election.
In the years leading up to his election in 1980, Republicans appeared corrupt. They also seemed at a loss or disorganized in their opposition to Democrat foreign and economic policy which projected weakness in the former and resignation in the latter.
Reagan’s campaign slogan in 1980 was “Let’s Make America Great Again.”
Now, every candidate wants to claim the mantle of Ronald Reagan or imply that they are the Second Coming of The Gipper. No one actually is. However…
Exit question: Whose bio and relationship with the Establishment GOP is the most similar to Reagan’s?