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Trump is Nothing Like Reagan

If you have read this blog for a while, you know that I love a good rant, and I recently read one. Paul Kengor, who has spent most of his life researching Ronald Reagan, including writing six major books about him, finally got fed up with people comparing Donald Trump to Ronald Reagan. The rant starts out a little slow, but it soon works up a great head of steam.

But to cut to the chase, here is Kengor’s conclusion:

Let me state unequivocally and undeniably that not only is Donald Trump not the “next Reagan,” but he is the anti-Reagan. Really, I find not only that the two men have preciously little in common, from their policies to their person, but I think there may be no two men more glaringly different. Donald Trump is a polar opposite of Ronald Reagan.

For example, while both Reagan and Trump have favorability/unfavorability ratings in the 60 to 70 percent range, in Reagan’s case it was a favorability rating, while in Trump’s case it is an unfavorability rating.

Kengor gives example after example. I’ll let you go read the whole rant.

But while we are talking about comparing Trump and Reagan, Trump himself tried to compare himself to Reagan, saying at a rally “I haven’t even started on Hillary, and my numbers are better right now than Ronald Reagan’s numbers were with Jimmy Carter.” PolitiFact found Trump’s numbers “false”. Trump’s numbers are not better, they are twice as bad as Reagan’s numbers were with Carter. Furthermore in a CBS News / New York Times poll in April 1980, only 13% said they would never vote for Reagan, while in two recent polls, a full 54% said they would definitely not vote for Trump. Every other “number” they could find was worse than for Reagan.

And finally, even Reagan released his tax return.



  1. Carter Shmeckle wrote:

    I recall reading that manuscripts of Reagen’s newspaper columns (before he became president) are available, proving that Reagen wrote them himself, and that he had a much greater command of the issues than he is often given credit for.

    The same does not seem to be true of Trump. (Other than maybe about construction techniques for wall-building).

    OTOH, Hillary supporters are deluding themselves if they think that she isn’t very vulnerable to even a Trump in the general. Her saving grace may be that, for now, Trump’s unfavorable rating is higher than hers. We shall see if that holds up. The email server issue, which would have disqualified anyone but her or Trump, may yet bite her.

    Further, the state of the economy in October will be crucial to the election outcome, as would any terrorist attack at about that time, should one unfortunately occur.

    BTW, did you hear whom Trump just named as his new immigration “czar,” should he win? Hint — it wasn’t Sheriff Joe: (Shameless personal blog-post-plug alert).

    Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 8:23 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    “The email server issue, which would have disqualified anyone but her or Trump, may yet bite her.” This is amusing. It seems obvious the only people who care about Hillary using a private email server (or private email account) are people who already hate her. Jeb Bush used a private email server when he was governor of Florida, as did Rick Perry and Scott Walker. Does anyone care about them?

    According to WaPo, the rules about private email servers were only tightened in 2014, long after Clinton stopped being the Secretary of State, and “John F. Kerry is the first secretary of state to rely on a government e-mail account.”

    The Republicans have been making up scandals about the Clintons for a very long time. How many times do people have to be fooled before they stop paying attention? And yet, people keep saying that Clinton lies, or that she is a warmonger, or that she has done illegal things. Of course, lying hasn’t seemed to have hurt Trump, nor has wanting to use torture and even nuclear weapons hurt the GOP presidential candidates, and Trump illegally hired undocumented workers, while hypocritically writing “illegal immigration is a wrecking ball aimed at U.S. Taxpayers.”

    And multiple proven scandals, including illegally selling weapons to Iran (as admitted publicly by Reagan) and illegally funding a terrorist organization in Nicaragua, hasn’t hurt the Republican love affair with Reagan. And Dubya’s popularity went up when he lied us into war with Iraq, from which we are still suffering the blowback. And you claim that using a private email server should disqualify Clinton?

    Trump/Putin in 2016! 🙂

    Monday, May 16, 2016 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  3. Carter Shmeckle wrote:


    Yep, I still do.

    Sec of State keeps the most vital national security secrets. Governors don’t.

    That said, no matter how bad HC is, if her opponent is worse, she will have my vote.

    But, at the moment, I’m not sure who is the worst choice. Say what you want about Donald, and it’s probably all true, with him there’s at least a CHANCE that the corrupt hold that special interests have on the government could be lessened. Sorry, maybe I’m nuts, but I don’t see that happening with “$600,000 a speech to Goldman Sachs Hillary.”

    It is from that corruption that our most pressing economic problems flow.

    Then again, do I really want DT’s hands on the nuclear “button”?

    Pick your poison, as they say.

    Monday, May 16, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    And you don’t think that DT *is* exactly the corrupt hold that special interests have on the government? He’s just cutting out the middleman. And look with whom he is surrounding himself. Do you know anything about Paul Manafort? Trump has admitted repeatedly that he has donated money to politicians (in both parties) to get favors from them. Why would you think he wouldn’t be even more corrupt in office, passing out favors to his friends (like Cheney did for Halliburton)?

    In addition, as John Kerry is the first secretary of state to use a government email account, are you saying that *every* secretary of state before him violated the law (not just Clinton). So why are you singling out Clinton? And governors are subject to the very same transparency laws that the GOP is accusing Clinton of violating. Are you saying it is ok for governors to violate the law because they don’t have as many secrets? Even if that is a reasonable point, should the Republicans be investigating Colin Powell, Condi Rice, and other secretaries of state?

    I just hope that we survive long enough to look back at the current election and wonder how we were insane enough to even nominate Trump.

    Monday, May 16, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink
  5. Carter Shmeckle wrote:


    I’m no Trump fan, but DT were the “corrupt hold” you write of, the Republican establishment (i.e., the real corrupt holds) would not be looking for a third party candidate right now to wreck his chances.

    Yes, he played the game in the past. But as a private citizen. He freely admits that. And that’s exactly the type of person who can best fix the system. That’s why FDR picked stock swindler Joe Kennedy to be the first SEC head.

    Re the secs of state you mention,did any of them set up an unsecure private email server in their own home? And do you know for a fact that they all used private email to transmit sensitive/classified info?

    My larger point is, if you support HC over DT, there are valid reasons to do so. You don’t need to exaggerate HC’s virtues, or exaggerate DT’s faults (if that’s possible :)). Doing so only impinges on your own credibility.

    You’ll convince the church chorus to persist in your “faith,” but you won’t convince anyone else. Quite the contrary. I suspect Trump receives a not insignificant level of his support from those who perceive the mendacity of some of the more wild accusations pundits have hurled against him, and would like said punditry to receive its comeuppance, in the form of a Trump victory.

    Monday, May 16, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    Ah, I see your logic. Trump can’t be corrupt because another corrupt group hates him. Isn’t that like when we funded and gave weapons to Osama bin Laden because he was fighting the Russians? Would you support fighting the Hells Angels by giving weapons to the Crips and Bloods?

    You ask “did any of them set up an unsecure private email server in their own home?” Are you claiming that Clinton’s email server was insecure? Or is this just a clever smear? Likewise, “used private email to transmit sensitive/classified info” — do you have any evidence that she sent any messages that contained classified info (i.e., classified at the time she sent the emails)?

    And I thought you said it was probably impossible to exaggerate DT’s faults? But compared to Clinton, Trump consistently gets a pass from the media for most of his faults.

    If you think that cutting off our noses in order to spite our faces is a good idea, then you’re right, I can’t use logic or facts in order to convince you otherwise. Sad.

    Monday, May 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  7. Carter Shmeckle wrote:


    “Trump can’t be corrupt because another corrupt group hates him.”

    Nope. Rather, it’s unlikely that Trump is promoting the interests of the political elite if they are opposed to him. That elite is not that stupid.

    “Are you claiming that Clinton’s email server was insecure?”

    Not me, heaven forfend. But see, e.g.,


    or maybe this conservative rag:

    “you said it was probably impossible to exaggerate DT’s faults”

    I followed that by a smile emoji, n’est pas.

    “If you think that cutting off our noses in order to spite our faces is a good idea…”

    I only rarely advocate rhinoplasty. And certainly not for myself.

    “I can’t use logic or facts in order to convince you otherwise. ”

    You most certainly can. I’m waiting. 😉

    Monday, May 16, 2016 at 3:31 pm | Permalink
  8. ThatGuy wrote:

    The GOP establishment is calcifying behind Trump. See what McConnell and Ryan have said about him recently. Their main bone to pick with Trump was that he was giving away the game on how the GOP wins elections: outlandish promises tinged with racial innuendo. He just said it, they thought, too loudly and too proudly.

    But now he’s the presumptive nominee and we’ll see the #NeverTrumpers fall one by one back into the fold because Trump is the GOP. He’s very much the Frankenstein’s monster the GOP have been working on for fortyish years. He’s just as happy to take the money of the moguls backing the GOP for the last several decades as anyone else in the party. Rich people are the special interest of the GOP, and they are or soon will let fly with their pocketbooks. You think Trump “self-funding” his campaign was some mark of purity? Well, he’ll be reimbursed by the party (and by extension, their donors) because he “self-funded” through personal loans to his campaign, which he can claim from the RNC once nominated.

    I’m no fan of Clinton, but to think Trump would be better in any way is laughable. If an email “scandal” disqualifies Clinton, doesn’t knowing absolutely nothing about foreign or economic policy disqualify Trump? Doesn’t hiring illegals whilst decrying them disqualify Trump? Doesn’t making his campaign apparel in China while promising, vacuously, to bring manufacturing back to the US disqualify Trump?

    For all you can say against Clinton, and there are plenty of things to say, she’s putting forward sensible policies. Not as far to the left as I’d like, but early childcare, improving the ACA, increasing the minimum wage by 60%, equal pay, and parental leave are all steps in the right direction. Meanwhile you have Trump thinking we can default our way out of our debt (which is at least two misunderstandings in itself), that trade war with two of our biggest trade partners is a good idea, that murder is a sensible COIN/CT policy, and that tried-and-untrue GOP standby that massive tax cuts for the wealthy are economic boosters.

    Will Clinton be as tough on Wall St. as I’d like? Almost certainly not. Will she shoot high enough for the minimum wage? Nope. Will she be as careful with international intervention as I think is wise? Probably not. But Trump will go exactly in the opposite direction on all of those things; because he is the GOP, and the GOP hasn’t gotten any smarter on any of those issues.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 7:16 am | Permalink
  9. Ralph wrote:

    I hope the irony isn’t lost on anyone when Trump compares himself to Reagan, as the Gipper in any other guise would be labelled a socialist liberal, or worse, by today’s Republican standards. Not that Trump could be labelled conservative by any such standard as well, despite paying token lip service.

    I mean, if I told a typical Republican of today that Obama sold weapons to Iran, banned assault weapons and concealed-carry, granted amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants and tripled the national debt, they’d probably shake their head and say something like “sure, just what you’d expect from a flaming libtard.” Nope, just kidding, that was Reagan! And that’s just the tip of the berg:

    And still, St. Ronnie retains practically Christ-like status by the Republican establishment. All while denying the historical facts, of course. Because facts…pffft, that is soooo old school. We go with our gut feelings today, schmuck! If any comparison is apt, it’s the ability of both Reagan and Trump to achieve iconic status through their innate ability to play the media like a fiddle (both being actors, albeit C-grade) and with comparable business/economic track records (one with a history of running businesses, some rather shady, into Chapter 11 bankruptcy; the other with a history of running treasuries, under shady “trickle down” economic theory, into the red).

    As for the whole email “scandal”, the whole thing seems to be more a tempest in a teapot to this humble observer, the FBI’s interest aside (due diligence?), given that more and more gov’t correspondence seems to be getting swept into the “classified” bin over the years, often retroactively, apparently including some of Clinton’s emails that would have been cataloged as unclassified when first written. So much for Obama’s pledge of increased transparency in gov’t (not that his was the first such pledge).

    And as for the level of security with her personal servers – anyone see the recent 60-minutes piece on mobile phone security? Or insecurity, I should say. You’re left with the notion that the term “internet security” is just the latest oxymoron. Very alarming when you think of it in the context of the financial sector and national security, given that almost everything ends up on someone’s phone eventually, if not immediately. But security, being the unsexy side of the internet, has been given relatively short shrift over the years and, unsurprisingly, it’s coming back to bite us all in the ass one way or another.

    But I digress. In the final analysis, in this age of flawed candidates, some clearly more flawed than others, and with anonymous and obscene amounts of moneyed interests, I’ll take the devil I know over the one I think in this case would give even the “real” devil a run for his money.

    That’s my story and I’m stickin’ with it!

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  10. Iron Knee wrote:

    Unfortunately, the GOP has been claiming that the government *is* the problem (and working hard to prove it) for so long that more and more voters are going for the unknown candidates. This not only applies to Trump and Sanders, it includes Obama (who was relatively unknown) and goes way back to Reagan. Expect more celebrity presidents in the future, and by “celebrity” I include people like Sarah Palin.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 10:20 am | Permalink
  11. ThatGuy wrote:

    IK just reminded me of how people tried to tear down Obama for being a celebrity… I think it was in 2008 where they (can’t remember if it was the McCain campaign or some other group)ran ads showing crowds of cheering Europeans at an Obama speech and mocked how a celebrity was unfit for office.

    Et tu, GOP?

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  12. ThatGuy wrote:

    Bah, should have quickly googled first. It was the McCain shop who ran it:

    Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 10:45 am | Permalink