Like many Republicans before him, Donald Trump has likened himself to Ronald Reagan in many of his public speeches. Even when he’s accused of flip flopping on issues, Trump will cite Reagan to point out that Reagan also used to hold liberal positions.
Even Trump’s (now trademarked) slogan, “Make America Great Again,” was used by Reagan in 1980.
But one person isn’t buying it: Ronald’s adopted son Michael Reagan.
He wrote in a column Tuesday at the New Hampshire Union Leader:
Mr. Trump, I knew Ronald Reagan. And you’re no Ronald Reagan!Of course, I am stealing that line — with a twist. Donald Trump shouldn’t mind. He’s been stealing my dad for his own purposes. Trump frequently invokes Ronald Reagan’s name to defend his sudden, 180-degree switch from being a life-long, pro-Clinton Democrat to a Reagan Republican.
Both men did make a switch, but almost all the similarities between the two end there. Ronald Reagan’s odyssey from Hollywood liberal to conservative backer took place over almost two decades.
Starting with his 1964 “Time for Choosing” speech that galvanized Americans for Barry Goldwater, dad began a 16-year effort of crisscrossing America to support conservative candidates for office. My dad also served eight years as California’s governor. When he ran for President, he had a proven conservative track record.
Donald Trump doesn’t have one. In fact, Trump still can’t explain his sudden change from being a liberal Democrat. When dad ran in 1980, Trump donated the maximum amount to Jimmy Carter. As the Wall Street Journal reported, Trump also donated to a PAC for Walter Mondale, who ran against dad in 1984.Trump has criticized some candidates for their indiscretions made during their childhood. But what can you say for a grown adult who supported both Carter and Mondale over Ronald Reagan?
On policy Reagan, writes:
During the 2008 election, Trump told CNN that he wanted President George W. Bush impeached. Then, during Obama’s first year in the White House, after he rammed through Congress a $800 billion stimulus and proposed a radical health care takeover, Trump praised the President, saying he was “amazing” and “truly phenomenal.”
Obama’s then chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel was a player in passing Obamacare. Rahm eventually left the White House to run for Chicago’s mayor. In 2010, Trump actually donated $50,000 to Rahm’s mayoral campaign! Just last year Trump told “60 Minutes” he wants single-payer health care like they have in Canada and Britain. It’s nothing less than socialized medicine.
For most of his life Trump had been a Democrat, backing strong gun control and abortion rights. Today he says he’s for the Second Amendment and pro-life. But when asked who he’d like for the Supreme Court, he suggested his sister, a sitting federal judge. It turns out she’s liberal and pro-choice.
I’ll have to disagree slightly with Reagan bringing up Trump’s prior pro-choice and pro-gun control stances. Ronald Reagan signed into law a bill that liberalized abortion laws when he was Governor of California, and also passed the Mulford Act which banned the public use of firearms, in hopes of disarming the Black Panthers.
Reagan flipped on a number of crucial issues and became one of the greatest presidents of the 20th century.
But many — like Reagan’s son himself — don’t believe the two men’s political switches are comparable. What say you, readers?
[Note: This post was authored by The Analytical Economist]