Whose Party?

I don’t necessarily like bashing the Never Trumpers, as some of them seem to be seriously reevaluating why they were Republicans in the first place, and reconsidering long-held views (others, like Steve Schmidt, who is now one of Howard Schultz‘s political advisors, appear to be doing everything they can to get Il Trumpe re-elected). But in many of these pieces, regardless of how truly Damascene their conversion is, inevitably, the phrase “the Party of Reagan” surfaces.

Leaving aside my thoughts of Reagan (hint: they’re definitely not complementary), the GOP in the 1980s wasn’t just the party of Reagan–again, that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement)–but the party of Atwater (and Kevin Phillips, who was just a kinder, gentler version, who did the conversion thing long, long before the Trump era). While Atwater might have argued that dogwhistles aren’t explicitly racist, as Andrew Gillum might have put it, if racists think you’re being racist, well…

It was also the party of Jerry Falwell and the ‘Moral Majority’ (who were actually an immoral minority). And without either Falwell or Atwater, there’s no Reagan. It was never just the party of Reagan, even if you think that’s a complement.

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