Magazine November 30, 2020, Issue

The New GOP

Marco Rubio (left), Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and John Kasich participate in a Republican primary debate in Detroit, March 3, 2016. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
And what it has in common with the old one

Ronald Reagan was dubbed the “Great Communicator.” Donald Trump might well be labeled the “Great Accelerator.”

U.S. politics was polarized before President Trump, with both coalitions motivated mostly by fear of each other. We have gotten more polarized since Trump rode down that escalator. The Upper Midwest has long been moving toward the Republicans. Both the George W. Bush and Mitt Romney campaigns made Wisconsin a target, and the state’s legislatures have been Republican for a decade. In 2016, Trump was the first Republican since Reagan to get its presidential vote. Pennsylvania, too, finally tipped toward the Republicans while Trump led …

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Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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During the campaign, Democrats used the coronavirus pandemic as a cudgel against Trump and other Republicans.