by Rod D. Martin
August 1, 2018
I keep hearing Trump supporters say that “Trump is doing as much good as Reagan” or even “Trump is doing better than Reagan”. But as enthusiastic as I am about the President’s (multiple daily) accomplishments, let me offer some perspective.
Reagan won the Cold War, victoriously ending a half-century global conflict, all-too-often hot, which virtually no one except him believed to be winnable, which most observers thought would continue far beyond our lifetimes, and if it did not, would end in our destruction, in whole or in part. What’s more, it became clear afterward, as we gained access to the Soviet archives and to former Soviet officials, that we had been far closer to that world-ending (or at best, freedom-ending) war when Reagan was elected than we realized. The Soviets were coming for us. When Reagan finished, the Soviets were gone.
At home, Reagan overcame a universal dogma that Keynesianism was the only legitimate approach to “free market” economics. He ended a boom-bust cycle that had existed since the end of WWII, characterized by every-2.5-year recessions (there have been a total of just three recessions since 1982). His policies “transferred the means of production to the proletariat”: when he was elected, just 15% of American adults owned at least $5,000 in stock, but by the 1990s that number was over 54%. When Reagan was elected, 2/3 of blacks lived in poverty: when he left, that was just 1/3. And on and on and on.
He did this with an intractably Democrat House of Representatives that no serious person believed could ever go Republican in our lifetimes. He also did this with an absolute Democrat lock on the media, with no internet mitigating that.
Trump is daily advancing the conservative agenda in ways we’ve been starved for, after 25 (if not 30) years of RINOs just barely giving lip service to us while laughing at us from their Georgetown and Kennebunkport cocktail parties. There’s a lot of pent-up frustration he’s relieving, and none too soon: had Hillary been allowed to pack the Supreme Court for the next generation, the Republic as we know it would have been lost. It could be yet.
But without Reagan, there might not be a Republic to lose.
So comparing Trump and Reagan is like comparing Trump and Lincoln. The circumstances are too different for valid comparison. But if you did compare them, no matter how satisfying the current achievements may be, you’d have to give the nod — and by a wide margin — to the Gipper.
And that takes absolutely nothing from Donald J. Trump.