If the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he isn’t real, the GOP’s greatest trick is convincing working Americans that literally destroying the federal government is in their best interests.
Their second most impressive trick was convincing the Rust and Bible Belts of the U.S. that Donald Trump is an iconoclast. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Donald Trump has not distanced himself from traditional Republican and Libertarian dogma — instead, he has single-handedly ratified and in many cases transmuted into binding law virtually every bad idea the Party ever dreamt up.
Let’s take a look at these ideas, shall we?
Saint Reagan and Trump “On the Issues”
Whether it’s social justice, foreign policy, fiscal and economic policy, or coziness with every parasitic industrial entity under the sun, Donald Trump is a virtual carbon copy of Ronald Reagan. In fact, their beliefs align entirely on all the issues American voters consistently rank among their top concerns.
Conservatives and Evangelicals championed Trump — and still do! — because he “speaks his mind.” They’re right, obviously. But it means the only thing that makes Trump different from Reagan is that he’s far less polite. Yay?
But they’re both paid actors, too. Bought and paid for exclusively because of their showmanship. That, and the fact that they might not possess the self-awareness required to detect when they’re hatching a dumb idea.
You don’t have to take this writer’s word for it, though. Here are Reagan and Trump on the issues:
- Reagan ran on a political platform that promoted supply-side, trickle-down economics not just as wise fiscal policy but as inviolable fact. The GOP’s tax cuts under Trump are more of the same. Virtually all the evidence available says this doesn’t create jobs and never has.
- In 2003, Reagan implemented a global gag order on family planning, just like Trump did in 2017, to throw a bone to his Evangelical base.
- Reagan explicitly campaigned on the promise that removing government from the daily lives of working Americans would lead to prosperity. This is tantamount to a psyop campaign, since we knew then — and still know under Trump — that union membership, strong banking and health regulations and oversight for compliance in the pharmaceutical industry have always been strongly tied to equal economic opportunity.
- Trump and Sessions have essentially rebooted the Reagan-era war on marijuana and just-say-no approach to drug use prevention.
- Reagan’s administration inflated the national debt — despite his rallying cry for a tightening of the federal purse strings — from $1 trillion to $3 trillion between 1980 and 1988. Trump’s Republican administration is expected to worsen the national debt by a trillion bucks with their tax cuts alone.
How about this little gem? Reagan stood in opposition to 1965’s Voting Rights Act because he felt it would “humiliate” America’s South. This is the grossest sort of pandering.
And remember when Reagan threw his weight behind a Constitutional amendment that would have explicitly allowed organized prayer in public schools? He also believed prayer should be mandatory in school. There’s a hard, red line between the “church” and the “state” — that is, until Christian zealots need somebody to protect them from imaginary bullies or when presidents need to pander to the only people that’ll have him. Half a dozen religious leaders said prayers at Trump’s inauguration — I feel safer already.
And how about pandering to corporations? According to just about every economist who cares about the facts instead of some plutocrat’s agenda, Reagan was almost single-handedly responsible for fetishizing and then embedding deregulation into the Republican ethos. To that end, Reagan pushed corporate taxes lower and chose to reward huge, already-successful corporations based on their capital accrual rather than their business investments.
In 1980, one of Reagan’s major platform planks was to abolish the Department of Education. Sound familiar? Trump appointed Betsy DeVos, who, rather than stating that goal aloud, is merely doing Saint Reagan’s posthumous work behind closed doors. She’s turning a blind eye to campus sexual assault, while simultaneously selling out public schools in favor of charter and private schools instead.
In 1981, Reagan successfully removed price controls from natural gas and oil. He supported practically unchecked offshore oil drilling and loosened regulations on coal. All of this is of a kind with Trump’s plans to ignore solar and wind, continue throwing money at “clean coal” and oil companies and keep ruining literally every square inch of planet earth that’s potentially profitable. When asked about the environment, Trump said this:
Finally, Reagan even objected to the establishment of OSHA. Trump’s Republican administration, likewise, is actively chipping away at a host of worker and other protections that directly benefit and make life tolerable for millions of Americans.
History Is Getting a Rewrite
What can we even say about all of this? What’s even the point? All of the above information is freely available to the public, and virtually none of what you’ve just read is opinion — aside from a few remarks.
And yet, a veritable parade of human megaphones like “The Mooch” and Sarah Huckabee Sanders have gotten in front of the nation and told obvious lies about Trump, Reagan’s legacy, what Republicans stand for and what words like “justice” and “freedom” mean.
Less and less talented liars do the lying for him with each staff shakeup. The result is the creation of a parallel universe. A universe of fantasies where nothing actually needs to be true so long as it’s delivered half-convincingly to folks who are already unaccustomed to doing political research.
How long will we let industrialists hold politics and world peace hostage by hiring showmen to do their lying for them? We can’t keep doing this decade after decade if we want humanity to survive what’s coming — and what’s already here.