Jeffrey Lord, a former aide to Ronald Reagan, explains that President Trump today faces a similar situation to that the Gipper faced during his reelection campaign in 1982. Lord explains that the best strategy is to let Trump be Trump. He writes in The American Spectator (abridged):
As with President Trump today, President Reagan was pictured at the end of 1982 as being unreasonable, isolated, stubborn, and out of touch.
Which is to say, Reagan saw things quite differently than some of the timid “advisers” that were in his White House, not to mention others in the timid precincts of the Republican congressional leadership and the Republican Establishment.
It was out of this kind of sentiment that conservatives on the White House staff began pushing back by saying, “Let Reagan be Reagan.”
Which was not only a political pushback but was in fact a recognition of the obvious — to conservatives — fact that Reagan’s political genius was his own, and indeed far better and more astute than that of those who sniped at him from inside and outside his own White House.
Two years after this Reagan book was written, President Reagan won reelection in a 49-state landslide.
Which brings us back to President Trump.
As this is written the Trump White House is awash in almost the identical kind of political nonsense that engulfed the Reagan White House. The mantra is the same: The polls are a disaster, the president doesn’t get it, he needs to change course, he may withdraw and not run again, he’s going to lose in a landslide.
To wax Seinfeldesque? Yada, yada, yada.
My belief in the 1980s Reagan era was, Let Reagan be Reagan.
And looking back now, that is exactly what Americans loved about him.
And all these years later, as I suggested in 2013 when the political savants of the day said the very idea of a Trump candidacy was absurd?
Let Trump be Trump.
That is precisely why millions of Americans voted for him in the first place. And will again.
Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp.