What was Ronald Reagan’s relationship to Franklin Roosevelt? Was he an admirer? A supporter? Michael Barone examines Reagan’s relationship in history with FDR, who the Gipper voted for four times. While Reagan wasn’t, as some say, the anti-thesis of FDR, he certainly approached the presidency and governance from a different perspective. Barone writes at The American Conservative (abridged):
When the historian David McCullough interviewed three of the living presidents, he found Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter detached and uninterested. But the incumbent president, Ronald Reagan, was brimming with enthusiasm….
It was conventional wisdom in Washington when Reagan was elected president that he represented a reversal of all that Roosevelt stood for. That was partisan delusion. Both the 32nd and 40th presidents were broadly favorable toward free trade and mass immigration…
The Reagan coalitions of 1980, 1984, and (with his vice president, George Bush, running) 1988 were tilted toward high-income voters, like the Republican coalitions of the preceding half-century. Thus in the critical state of Pennsylvania, Reagan and Bush carried metro Philadelphia with big margins from its affluent suburbs, but ran far behind Democrats, even in 1984, in more blue-collar metro Pittsburgh. Since Reagan left public view, those affluent suburbs in the north and, in 2016, even in Georgia, Texas, and Arizona, have moved toward Democrats on cultural issues; Republicans have lost the presidential popular vote in six of seven elections because their gains among white, non-college voters have not offset these losses and because immigrants have leaned Democratic….
In only three of the last seven presidential elections have the nominees of either party received more than 50 percent of the vote, as nominees of one party or the other did in 12 of the 15 presidential elections from 1932 to 1988.
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