The Reagan coalition was a group of voters brought together by Republican Ronald Reagan in order to establish a major political realignment with his massive victory in the 1980 United States Presidential Election. Democrat Jimmy Carter’s failure in majority of socio-economic groups made the formation of the Reagan Coalition possible.
It was in the year 1984 that Reagan corroborated his support by claiming nearly 60% of the popular vote and carried 49 of the 50 states. The Reagan Democrats, who were mainly white, socially conservative blue-collar workers of the Northeast, were Democrats earlier but voted for the Republican in favor of Reagan’s social conservatism on issues such as abortion, and to his hawkish foreign policy. However, these voters who brought landslide victories to Ronald did not vote for the Republicans in 1992 and 1996. Thus, the popular term “Reagan Coalition” soon fell into abandonment, except as a reference to the 1980s. The term is now usually used to describe the southern whites who permanently changed party affiliation from Democrat to Republican during the Reagan administration, and they have largely remained Republican to this day.
The Founding Principles of the Coalition:
o Individual Liberty
o Personal Responsibility
o National Security
o Limited Federalist National Government
o Free Market Capitalism
o Traditional American Values
o The Rule of Law
The Present: Obama Heading the Carter Way:
The biggest question that needs to be answered today is whether Obama can create a sensation and improve his favorable rating, which has recently dropped down to the below-50 mark, by revivifying the dilapidated Reagan Coalition. Obama’s radical and expensive policies have caused his approval ratings to tank in a very short span of time. Several Conservatives have already started to believe that President Obama is headed more and more in a Jimmy Carter direction. With President’s high expenses, government control of the economy, especially on energy, and apparent signs of retreat abroad, it seems like Jimmy Carter has again won his second term of office, 28 years after getting booted by the American electorate!
The Future: Are We Ready for Another Reagan Coalition?
Reagan had established himself into a redoubtable candidate by discussing politics and philosophy on the speaking circuit for years and then adhering to conservative values as the governor for 8 long years. it was his clear optimism that allowed him to form the coalition. He led the coalition to power in 1980 and people were aware about the agenda that he would follow as a President. But, the point of interest here is that it took a Carter to put Reagan in Office. If we go by what most Conservatives are feeling today, we already have a Carter ready in form of President Obama. But, do we have a Reagan ready to go? Years 2010 and 2012 will give Conservatives a golden opportunity to revive a kind of ‘Reagan Coalition’ if they could find a candidate who has the experience and credibility in office and activism to give it that kind of strength.