Magazine August 1, 2011, Issue

Reagan’s Lasting Realignment

Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C., October 19, 1983 (Mal Langsdon/Reuters)
It shapes politics still

Gallup polls consistently show that the American public esteems Ronald Reagan as much as or more than any other president. Admittedly, such polls tend to favor recent presidents, along with those whose faces appear on our currency, but even so, Reagan usually manages to outpoll Bill Clinton, JFK, FDR, Lincoln, and the founding fathers. Reagan stands out so strongly not just for his economic and geopolitical achievements, but also because he realigned the American electorate both ideologically and on a partisan basis in ways that are unique in the period following World War II. Equally important, he did this by

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In all fairness, he promised he’d stop the seas from rising. He didn’t say anything about the debt ceiling.


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