Since Donald Trump’s shocking primary and general election victories in 2016, arguably the biggest long-term question confronting political analysts has been what the events of that year portended for the era that began with Ronald Reagan’s defeat of Jimmy Carter in 1980. Would Trump end the Reaganite dispensation by fully transforming the GOP into a worker’s party? Or would he fail, opening up the possibility of a future Democratic president liberating himself and his party from the constraints Reagan placed on them decades in the past?
Four years later, we are much closer to knowing the answer.
For a few short weeks after Trump’s defeat of Hillary Clinton, I wondered if Trump might just pull it off. Trump was a real-estate developer, after all. What if he came out of the gate in January 2017 with a bold infrastructure plan, combining his promise of a big, beautiful border wall with a proposal to spend trillions of dollars on vast public-sector building projects around the country — roads, bridges, trains, nuclear power plant construction, electrical grid revamps, and more? If he combined this with a turn against immigration, combativeness on trade, and follow-through on campaign vows to defend the welfare state and expand health-care coverage — Trump just might succeed in pivoting sharply away from Reaganite orthodoxy and peeling off crucial working-class support from the Democratic Party.
But of course this isn’t what happened. “Infrastructure Week” became a four-year-long running joke, as the administration repeatedly gestured toward producing and pushing a plan and ended up choking every time. Instead, we got the usual Reagan-era obsession with tax cuts, a failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (with no replacement anywhere in sight), and constant culture war trolling by the president on Twitter and at campaign-style rallies before throngs of adoring supporters. And incompetence and scandals and impeachments and a shambolic response to the worst pandemic in a century.
Now it’s the other party’s turn.
If the opening months of the Biden administration are any indication, the Democrats seem far more eager and prepared to seize the opportunity to define the end of the Reagan era and shape the one to come. We can see this most clearly in the sweeping infrastructure plan the Biden White House released this week. It proposes a dramatic shift for American politics — potentially the biggest lurch to the left since FDR succeeded in passing the New Deal in …read more
Source:: The Week – Politics