The Collapse of the Reagan Conservative Coalition

Thirty-six years ago Ronald Reagan built a conservative coalition that dislodged Democratic control of DC, dismantled Soviet Communism, and reignited America’s culture and economy here at home. Since the Gipper’s transformative presidency, Republicans have generally aspired to be viewed as Reagan Republicans who are fiscal, social, and national security conservatives. This coalition of conservatism, cobbled together by President Reagan, fostered a philosophy of constitutional limited government that promotes individual freedom and personal responsibility.

This coalition that has held the Republican Party together, and helped guide a nation, collapsed with Donald Trump’s emergence as the presumptive 2016 GOP nominee tonight. The Republican Party has now, effectively, nominated a candidate who is neither a fiscal nor a social conservative. Mr. Trump’s entire appeal has been securing the border and “bombing the hell out of ISIS,” which, while important, do not make a president. Social and fiscal conservatives are being left on the sidelines and the coalition that elected Reagan, and recently elected a Republican Congress, is fractured.

I sadly believe that Trump’s nomination all but assures a Hillary Clinton presidency, which means that consistent conservatives need now to either rebuild a Republican Party that reunites the Reagan coalition, or an entirely new party that can replace the GOP and rebuild that coalition on its own. The only way for a conservative to become Commander-in-Chief is by rebuilding and reuniting the Reagan coalition and bringing all of its elements back into the fold. It will be my mission over the next several years to rebuild that coalition in South Carolina, as a model for a national conservative comeback.

I love our country, and want to see it return to the conservative Judeo-Christian principles that built it. Sadly, I see neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton leading us there. Perhaps God is leading us into the wilderness for a few more years as we search our national soul to reclaim our first principles. God help America and safe us from ourselves.

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15 Responses to "The Collapse of the Reagan Conservative Coalition"

  1. Mark Osborn says:

    Thanks Josh. Completely agree that we need to rebuild a true conservative coalition. Let us know how average citizens can help.

  2. Dwight Shearn says:

    Excellent commentary!! I stand with you, Josh!!

  3. Patricia says:

    Lindsey Graham, Joe Wilson, John McCain, Boehner, and a long list of traitors dismantled Reagan’s legacy long ago. Where have you been?

  4. Jackie Plumley says:

    As a Republican who voted for and supported President Regan, I’m sad that this younger generation can’t see that Mr. Regan was treated just the same way Mr. Trump is being treated now.

  5. Hardy King says:

    I think the coalition collasped many years ago, our last two Republicans choices for the president of the US were not much to write home about and didn’t win the White House either. To blame it on Mr. Trump when there were what 8 to 10 other choices, and he beat them all, still makes him the winner, whether he can beat Hillary I don’t know, but I think he has a better chance than the last two had in 08 and 2012. A new crowd has come to the table, we can either stay and eat or move to a new table. So lets see how inclusive the GOP really wants to be, or is this just a control issue.

  6. Tom Dillard says:

    Your defeatist views will lead to the installation of three or four liberal Supreme Court justices. Surely you recognize that abandoning a somewhat conservative (Trump) will enhance the likelihood that a purely self centered control freak (Clinton) is elected and in turn will nominate only likeminded big government control the dependent serfs justices. She will also attract support for like- minded Senate and House candidates.
    Grow up and support the candidate and party for which there remains some hope of improvement. All the effort made so far to support the GOP has only resulted in two liberal parties. Surely you can see that the attempt to turn the GOP around in one or two election cycles has utterly failed. Let’s take part of the potential gain rather than throw in the towel, then work to replace the remaining Constitution bashing liberals in future races.

  7. Steve Pettit says:

    Thank Josh for your timely message!

  8. Joyce Smart says:

    I’m a lifelong Republican who is losing faith in the GOP candidates we’ve elected over the last several years. No one successfully addressed immigration reform, tax reform, environmental issues, infrastructure problems – need I go on? Face it, the party you speak of is out of touch with the people! Stop posturing and start governing!

  9. Richard Delorme says:

    Dear Mr. Kimbrell,

    I worked on R. Reagan 1980 campaign and spent hour with him on tours through Alabama. The late president would be the first to tell you to support Trump and work to guide him to more conservative positions. Reagan frequently accepted partial victories as steps towards the final goal. Too many conservatives are making the mistake of demanding total victory with out laying the ground work; this is why we are constantly being beaten by the left.

    Is Trump my ideal conservative: NO, I did not vote for him in SC; but he is for repeal and replacement of Obama Care, he has moved to a pro-life stance, and he desires a reduction in regulatory burden. Instead of pounding Trump, we need to remember he is a lot better than either democrat. The real battle be need to fight is to put conservatives on the court and keep control of congress. Given the ages of the three liberal judges on the court, the next president may appoint two of three judges. Do you really think Clinton appointment are going to have any conservative values. So Reagan conservatives should support Trump but lobby him to put conservative judges on the court. If I can get two or three conservatives appointment on the high court; I will be very happy.


  10. Don Goldman says:

    Mr. Kimbrell,

    I have always considered myself a person with a strong conservative belief, but I do not see the Republican party working for the conservatives. Where I use to be able to relate to the Republican party because they held my conservative views, now all I see in the Republican party is a bunch of elitist tied to special interest and lining their own pockets. The great work of Reagan and “reaganomics” has been left by the wayside for special interest.
    Trump may not be an ideal conservative but sadly he is the only one that will call a spade a spade. Many conservatives are tired of the Republican party’s inability to get anything done because they are more interested in serving themselves than serving the people. I know what I am getting with Trump. He may not hold all my conservative, evangelical beliefs but at least I am not listening to the lies of the other candidates.
    The call to divide the party is truly shameful on your part. The conservatives will be farther ahead with Trump in office than Hillary. Your disdain for Trump is a vote against conservatism and a vote for the liberals. The people have spoken and the party elitist are gasping for life. Either they can get on board with conservative America or they can start a new party but it is time for the conservative people of America to take back their party and replace the dead growth that has taken it over.

  11. John Bell says:

    If you and the rest of the defeatist don’t get behind Trump we will have eight years of Clintonism. It will mean the end of the Republican Party.

  12. Fred says:

    I normally love your commentary, Josh, but you’ve got this wrong. You need to recognize the reason that Trump is winning is because his supporters feel like the people in Washington, the “conservatives” such as John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, et al, have helped them lose and they’re sick of it. The people are sick and tired of a political class that serves the financial elite, multinational corporations and continually supports endless war and conflict.

    To wit, Trump seeks to stop free trade agreements which have bankrupted millions of Americans. He has promised to stop an out of control immigration/refugee policy which constitutes a clear and present danger to all Americans with the increased risk of terrorism. And middle-class America is currently witnessing a trend curve which suggests that their future holds the promise of lowered life-expectancy.

    And Trump’s biggest endorsement to date isn’t a politician or a celebrity: it’s the fact his most vehement opposition groups are made up of communists, social justice warriors and other authoritarians.

    If the “conservative” Republicans had done their job, Trump wouldn’t even be in the picture.

  13. cowboy says:

    I am a conservative and I am truly concerned and saddened by the condition(spiritual, moral, economic) to which this nation has degraded. We are getting exactly what we deserve. We can only pray that our gracious GOD will give us what we need instead of what we deserve. If the people(“my people”) who love this nation and what it used to stand for, will “humble themselves, seek God’s face, turn from their wicked ways, then HE will heal our land”… otherwise it isn’t going to matter if humpty dumpty is president , we will slip further into moral degradation. When a nation is so consumed by greed, persecuting what is good, promoting what is bad, more concerned about animal rights than the rights of unborn children… the list goes on and on. You get the picture. One big problem is we don’t have a righteous president.Ps 28: “when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding…29:2 …when the wicked rule, the people groan. 29:12 If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked. 29:16 when the wicked thrive, so does sin,…. and that list goes on and on. Wake up nation, in particular, all those who claim the name of JESUS.

  14. Karen says:

    Trump will do what the people want. If you want a Christian nation you will have to get the churches guiding the people who will guide Trump.

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