Monday's HOT MIC
Continuing the discussion amongst Steve, Roger, Rick, and myself ... Rick, I think you've made some very important points. Winning elections has always been about building coalitions — uniting disparate factions under the banner of one party or another. Reagan was the master of this. Everyone believed he would go to his grave fighting for the issues they cared about. If protecting the unborn was your issue, Reagan was your guy. If you wanted to defeat the Soviets, so did Reagan. Probably more than you did. If you cared about the economy, again, Reagan was the man to fix it. Part of his appeal was his ability to speak the language of all the disparate factions fluently. He didn't wake up one morning and pop a Rosetta Stone "conservative" CD into his computer. He spent years studying the movement and its principals and honed his speeches over a period of many years to the point that he was a convincing advocate for any and every conservative cause. That allowed him to secure a solid base, which led to his ability to govern effectively. But there was also another side to Reagan. He was popular amongst non-ideological Republicans and also many Democrats because he was inspirational and communicated a vision that made sense to Americans sitting at home watching on TV. Trump excels at the visionary/inspirational part but is deficient in the coalition building and governing skills that the job requires. To Roger's point downplaying the importance of ideology, while that's certainly true for a lot of people, the opposite is also true for many who have supported the GOP over the years. Ideologues are the highly motivated voters who GOTV and do the hard grassroots work of campaigns. Lose those voters and you're left with little more than raw populism. That'll get you one (two at best) elections. After that, what remains is what the Democrats are dealing with now. Once the star fades away, the party splits into factions.