Go get Rick Perlstein’s great book Reaganland: America’s Right Turn, 1976-1980 and see how we got here from ‘There’, the turn to the right wing in the dawning of Reagan’s presidency. Even the slogan that Trump ‘borrowed’ from the Reagan campaigns: Let’s Make America Great Again was bundled with all the other techniques that Ronnie’s handlers chose. Remember the famous ‘Welfare Queens’ slogan to indict an entire race for being lazy, crooked and shiftless? It was remarks like that one and other rhetoric that frightened white suburban families, especially the Moms, from the coming ‘Black Plague’ to their neighborhoods. This past election cycle saw Trump going on the desperate defensive by telling white Suburban housewives that HE was keeping the low income ‘Chaos’ from their neighborhoods. As with Trump’s campaign, Reagan in the late 70s was always ‘Top shelf’ regarding the Christian community. Riding on the coattails of anti-abortion/ anti-gay rights, both Trump and his mentor married the evangelicals and diehard Catholics. Of course, neither Reagan or Trump were regular churchgoers. Matter of fact, in Perlstein’s book he relates a story from Charles Colson, one time Nixon insider, who later ‘found Jesus’. Once, in 1971, Colson ran into Reagan and asked him if he was ‘Born Again’. Colson said that Reagan looked at him as if he just landed from Mars. The man did not have a clue as to what that meant.
As far as appearances, or the ‘Acting’ of how one appears, Reagan and Trump were as different as ‘Night and Fog’. Reagan, the polished actor and low brow intellectual, always had that smile beaming. His use of rhetoric could hide the fact that he really Did not know shit about anything of substance! Trump, his political right wing protégé, uses that Mussolini like grim and overconfident smirk to hide the fact that he knows little about squat! Reagan’s handlers would have him sit and go over 3X5 or 5X8 ‘gyp sheets’ (as we called them in college) to best handle issues he knew little about… which was most of them… except the ‘Hot Button’ ones on race, crime and Communism. Trump needed a teleprompter when available, or else he would just ‘Wing It’ and scare the shit out of his handlers and entourage. The more he told outright lies or went off on a tangent of foolish talk, the more an intelligent person would see thru him. Of course, Trump’s base is made up of mostly folks who like the fact that he ‘Let’s it fly’. They think that makes him a ‘Not so bright regular guy’ like them… except for the fact that he is a super rich, spoiled ‘Silver spoon’ man-child.
One common denominator that not only the two aforementioned share, but most of the ‘Cream’ of both parties, is their feelings about militarism. They all want to keep spending more and more on our military. They all wish to keep our nearly 1000 foreign bases open and funded properly. None of them gives a rat’s ass that our Safety Net is cut to shreds while over Half of our federal taxes goes down the Pentagon’s rabbit hole. Reagan and Trump could argue all day with opponents when it comes to 1001 issues… but DON’T CUT MY MILITARY!! Equally, when it comes to putting our ‘corporate flag’ throughout the world, with our jackboots to match, once again the Two Party/One Party charade remains intact. A few days ago was the anniversary of JFK’s demise in Dallas, Texas (which no one in the mainstream media even covers much nowadays). He, sadly, was the last one of these figureheads to go against the empire. Thus, it is simply understood by the politicians and their media sellout partners that this is the deck they all must play with. Reagan and Trump, the megalomaniac, were just the ‘ Usual Suspects’ in that film, and NOT the dynamic rulers they were perceived to be.
Reading and digesting Reaganland (900 + pages) one comes away realizing just how powerful the right wing has become. My pal and former radio talk show host Jay D. says that it was the advent of right wing talk radio in the 1970s that corralled white Americans and drove them further to the right. Look at the influence that Russ Limbaugh has had since the Reagan years. His success spawned a myriad of other right wing radio shows, with Glen Beck (former shock radio jock turned conservative ‘intellectual’ author) and Sean (mega slumlord) Hannity to be found throughout the dial via syndication. In my area of Central Florida the AM dial usually has these shows on more than one station at the same time. Unreal! Since Reagan took office in January of 1981, until now in the age of Trump, those right wing mega channels are pumping the shit throughout our nation. Factor that with Fox Television and you have a ‘Royal Flush’, as smelly as it can be. Yes folks, Reaganland and Trumpworld don’t seem to want to go away… unless more of us say ‘Enough is Enough!’