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Trump’s Administration Is More Conservative Than Reagan’s

As Donald Trump’s transition unfolds three things have become clear; first, Trump is serious about making a break with the establishment conventional wisdom in DC.; second, Trump is serious about erasing the disastrous Obama – Clinton worldview from our government; third and finally, Trump has put conservatives largely in charge of his administration and charged them with carrying out those goals. 

In fact, in my 55-years of involvement in the conservative movement at the national level, there’s never been a Reagan Trumptime when conservatives occupied more positions of influence and power than they do today – and that includes the election of Ronald Reagan and during the Reagan transition. 

Consider that the two previous presidential candidates of the modern conservative movement, Senator Barry Goldwater and Governor Ronald Reagan, didn’t have actual conservatives running their campaigns.  

While Senator Goldwater’s grassroots effort was powered by conservatives, the national campaign was run by his so-called “Arizona Mafia,” Goldwater’s trusted home-state political team.  

The Arizona Mafia regularly fought the idea of running the campaign on conservative issues, even to the point of opposing one of the highlights of the campaign – then-actor Ronald Reagan’s nationally televised “A Time for Choosing” appeal on Goldwater’s behalf. 

Sixteen years later, as conservatives celebrated Ronald Reagan’s victory, the Republican establishment quietly stole the victory conservatives fought so hard to achieve. 

With George HW Bush as Vice President and James A. Baker III as White House Chief of Staff the Reagan administration and White House quickly filled up with big government establishment Republicans:

  • * Wall Street insider Donald T. Regan was appointed Secretary of the Treasury, 

  • * Ford administration alumni Gen. Alexander Haig became Secretary of State,  

  • * Prominent corporate lawyer William French Smith became Attorney General,  

  • * Illinois Ag Commissioner John Block was appointed Secretary of Agriculture,  

  • * Liberal Republican Senator Richard S. Schweiker was appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services,  

  • * Establishment Republican Drew Lewis became Secretary of Transportation,  

  • * Rockefeller Republican Samuel R. Pierce was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development,  

  • * Establishment Republican politician James B. Edwards was Secretary of Energy,  

  • * Longtime Republican education administrator Terrel H. Bell ran the Department of Education that Reagan had vowed to eliminate. 

Of course, conservatives weren’t entirely shut out of the early Reagan administration. We had great committed conservatives like Casper Weinberger at Defense, Jim Watt at Interior, and Edwin Meese III, Richard Allen, Judge William Clark and Marty Anderson in other key positions. And we had some good conservatives in subcabinet positions, such as Don Devine at OPM, Gerald P. Carmen at GSA, Gary Bauer at Education, Frank Gaffney at the Pentagon, Doug Bandow as a Special Assistant to the President, Becky Norton Dunlap at Presidential Personnel, and T. Kenneth Cribb, Jr., as Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs, among them. 

But contrast that record to where we stand today with Donald Trump as President-elect. 

Trump’s campaign evolved into a potent coalition of conservatives and populists, run by movement conservatives Kellyanne Conway, Steve Bannon and David Bossie. 

The campaign was framed by conservatives and run on conservative issues; reestablishing American sovereignty, winning the war Islam has declared on America, enforcing immigration laws, law and order, ending the war on religion, ending corruption and crony government, cutting taxes and waste, encouraging economic growth and rebuilding the military to name but a few of the key issues in the campaign. 

In the aftermath of the 2016 election, which establishment Republicans predicted would be a defeat of epic proportion, the Republican Party, particularly in the states, is the strongest it's been in 80 years. 

Republicans now dominate state government, with control of 32 state legislatures (17 with veto proof majorities) and 33 governors elected, the GOP controls 68 state legislative chambers and Democrats control just 31. 

And Trump has given conservatives key roles in his administration:

  • * The Vice President-elect is Indiana movement conservative Governor Mike Pence, 

  • * Limited government constitutional conservative icon Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama will be nominated Attorney General, 

  • * EPA will be headed by conservative Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, 

  • * Conservative Rep. Mike Pompeo will head the Central Intelligence Agency, 

  • * Business turnaround expert Wilbur Ross will head the Commerce Department, 

  • * Iran nuclear deal critic retired four-star Marine general, James "Mad Dog" Mattis, will head the Pentagon, 

  • * Pro-life conservative doctor and Obamacare critic Rep. Tom Price will head Health and Human Services,  

  • * Illegal immigration and war on drugs hawk General John Kelly will head the Department of Homeland Security, 

  • * Cultural conservative Dr. Ben Carson will head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. 

What’s more, key Cabinet appointees who seem to have more establishment Republican backgrounds, such as Department of Education Secretary designate Betsy DeVos and Labor Secretary designate Andrew Puzder, have publicly embraced Trump’s conservative populist agenda. 

DeVos, who had seemed to back Common Core in the past, appeared on stage at Trump’s Michigan “thank you rally” to say making education great again means “finally putting an end to the federal Common Core.” 

And Puzder, a successful fast-food entrepreneur who had previously seemed to support more foreign workers entering the American workforce said, “My job as the Secretary of Labor, if confirmed, is to serve U.S. citizen workers – that is my moral and constitutional duty. The public spoke loud and clear in this election, and delivered a mandate to protect American workers. It makes no economic sense to spend trillions on welfare and jobless benefits for out of work Americans while bringing in foreign workers to fill jobs in their place… As Secretary of Labor, I will fiercely defend American workers and implement my piece of the ten point plan the President-elect laid out.” 

And unlike the situation after Reagan was elected, conservative superstar Steve Bannon has been brought into the White House as Chief Strategist to hold the conservative populist coalition together by making sure the administration delivers on Trump’s campaign promises. 

Not long after Ronald Reagan was elected Lou Cannon of The Washington Post, interviewed an anonymous “senior Reagan transition official.” When Cannon asked him what conservatives and the Religious Right, who had been so instrumental in Reagan’s election, would get out of the new administration this senior official said, “We’re going to give ‘em symbolism.” 

And in many, but not all, areas, that’s what conservatives, especially cultural conservatives, got.  

As great as Ronald Reagan was, today is better for conservatives. While Trump won’t bat 1000 any more than Reagan did, conservatives are in positions of real power in this administration, and it appears we can count on getting much more than symbolism out of Donald Trump.

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Not long after Ronald Reagan

Not long after Ronald Reagan left office republicans and conservatives alike began their quest to find another Ronald Reagan. However, they some time later realized that was going to be impossible. Some thirty-five years later along came Donald Trump much to the surprise of the so called republican establishment which seems more like a progressive democrat than conservative.

The establishment viewed Donald as an enemy putting an end to their gravy train so they fought him. The citizens from both parties however, elected him much to the chagrin or perhaps dismay of those establishment take over (control) artists. I as well as many like me have predicted for sometime now if Donald Trump is elected, as we now know he has been, when he leaves office in eight years, real conservatives will again search for an identical person to follow only this time we may have him in the VP position preparing to take the helm in 2024. Many, if not most, never felt that way about George HW Bush. Consequently, I agree with this article and believe this administration is much stronger (conservative) than even Ronald Reagan’s was. I believe that task at hand is even more serious than what America faced after Jimmy Carter. Carter was not out to fundamentally transform America. Barack Obama actually promised to do just that to the cheers of tens of thousands of progressive democrats when elected. Consequently, Donald Trump was elected to get America back on track that is his goal and he shall succeed.

Regardless of party Donald Trump offers exactly what every real American wants, or should want, for this nation. Freedoms and prosperity for all citizens. Our job continues in support of these capable people while we do so lets also enjoy the ride back to making America Great Again.

James in Texas

It is my hope and requirement that Mr. Trump be as honorable, as
solid on the American Dream, and becomes the next Mr. Reagan in the memories of this nation. It is a different time and both faced a nation that had been badly damaged by an unfit and unqualified President. Mr. Reagan never forgot that he was the "Choice of the people" and never turned his back on the people! If Mr. Trump does this also, he will be "the next Best President" in my lifetime!

james in regrad to comment

I so agree with your comment james, I am also from Texas.....Bush, clinton, obama,had to be the worst most corrupt presidents in the history of america.. The clintons brought such shame upon the whitehouse, with all his raping women and sorid affairs.
I feel that Trump will be the first president in a long time that has the best interest of us americans at heart. I know for sure there were millions of christians praying daily to God to save america from corrupt hillary Clinton. We can not expect President Trump to be perfect for no man is perfect but Jesus christ. What we americans expect is that Trump keeps his word and is honest with all of us americans.

It wasn't the Russians, it was GOD!

"Millions of christians praying daily to God to save America from corrupt Hillary Clinton."

Of course! That's it - but of course the godless Dems can't comprehend the power of prayer, or in terms they can understand, how praying helped strengthen the spirits of Trump supporters even when their press told us it was hopeless.

The more I see, the more I like - let us pray now that nothing subverts Trump's efforts to hit the ground running next month.

TWO unqualified presidents preceded Reagan and Trump

Reagan had to battle the damage done by both Carter AND Nixon - Nixon sowed the seeds of stagflation, Carter perfected it; Nixon created unnecessary and worthless Three Letter Agencies, and Carter piled on; Nixon weakened the Dollar to pay for government and war, Carter proved it was possible to lose the "peace" and still bankrupt the country.

Trump will have to deal with the legacies of BOTH Bush and Obama - much as I admire "W" the man, his humility, and his committment to our armed forces, it was Bush who brought us Medicare expansion, endless wars, favored amnesty, and ran up huge debt. Obama doubled down on everything bad and then piled on some more - more spending, more debt, more executive power, more damage to our healthcare system, and less freedom for individuals.

In sum, 16 years of government on steroids to unwind, and 104 years of Progressive damage to this Constitutional Republic.

If Trump can make a dent in all that, he will be a hero, and we might look forward to several Republican administrations. God Speed Donald!


You are, of course, correct. In the case of Reagan however, there was Gerald Ford in between Nixon and Carter. Whereas in the case of Donald no one was between GW Bush and Obama. However, Nixon and Carter gave us Ronald Reagan just as Bush and Obama have given us Donald Trump.