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TJ: America today finds itself in a similarly precarious situation, as it was before Reagan. Massive debt, low wage growth, foreign policy concerns such as China, Russia, Islamic terrorism, not to mention the divided public. How would you compare the moods of then and now?

PJ: I think America has had a weak presidency for these last few years, and nobody pays much attention to Obama. So they have to recover from that, and I think they will. People are very critical of Trump, but I think that Trump may well turn out to be an above-average, maybe rather impressive president, once he gets going.

TJ: Reagan was a Hollywood actor who transitioned to politics. Trump is somewhat similar, being a businessman and TV celebrity. How would you compare them background-wise?

A lot of people didn’t think Reagan would do well, but he was probably one of the best presidents of the 20th century, and I think that is something very much to his personal credit — he created it all himself. So I think in that way they are alike. Both are self-made.

TJ: We had Reagan Democrats, and Trump seems to have attracted similar blue-collar votes. Is there a connection between their particular personalities, backgrounds, and ability to attract that demographic?

PJ: Yes. Trump has a strong appeal to white, conservative, youngish, but most importantly working-class people. And this is something which not many Republican leaders have, and partly why the Left fears him so much. He can expand from that starting-point to include a very large number of ordinary Americans.

TJ: I suppose those people may feel more connected to a Trump or Reagan?

PJ: If you take white working-class American males, there is obviously something that Reagan appealed to very strongly, and which I think Trump can also appeal to in the same way. But experience shows that they don’t come alone — they also bring a strong contingent of working-class (and indeed middle-class) women too, and if you appeal to the men strongly, as I think both Reagan and Trump did, you will appeal to a lot of women too.

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January 17th, 2017
11:01 PM
"TJ: America today finds itself in a similarly precarious situation, as it was before Reagan. Massive debt, low wage growth...? It was Reagan,who started the US economy on the current slippery slope for thefigures say it all, taking the USA from a creditor to a debtor nation. In 1981, shortly after taking office, Reagan complained of "runaway deficits" that were then approaching US$80 billion, or about 2.5%GDP Within only two years, however, his policies had succeeded in enlarging the deficit to more than US$200 billion, or 6% GDP. At the end of the Reagan/Bush era it had was down to US$150 billion, still almost double what it had been under Carter. However the National Debt had climbed from US$995 billion, when Reagan took office, to $4 trillion by the end of Bush1's presidency, Under Reagan and Bush Republican Administrations it climbed as a % of GDP from 26% to 42%.

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