Wednesday Nov 09, 2016
They made fun of his hair, his hands, they scorned him for the way he treated his contractors, the way he did business and the views he held, they were infuriated by the way he treated women, they said he wasn’t seriously going to become president; they were wrong.
They’ve been wrong before. 35 years ago the pundits dismissed the candidacy of a ‘B-movie actor’ who was a celebrity in his own right having climbed the ladder in business, radio, television and Hollywood – they said he was never going to win, but he did.
The non-serious candidate in 1981 was Ronald Reagan, a former broadcaster, actor who later went on to become governor but never served in congress therefore remaining an outsider to Washington, just like Donald Trump.
Trump too has enjoyed the celebrity limelight and has managed to make a brand out of himself.
Both Reagan and Trump started out as Democrats and later became Republican.
Make America Great Again
From the campaign slogan to the ups and downs of personal life, there is much that Reagan and Trump share. In 1980 when Ronald Reagan was running for president his slogan was “Let’s make America great again” – Trump removed the contraction and ran with it and like Reagan won the election.
Donald Trump will be the second president who has been divorced. The first was, you guessed it, Ronald Reagan.
Reagan was married twice, first to Jane Wyman (1940-1949) and then again in 1952 to Nancy Davis. The new first lady of the United States Melania Knauss is Donald’s third wife, the couple wed in 2005. He was previously married to Ivana Zelnickova (1977-1991) and Marla Maples (1993-1999).
Like Reagan the establishment attacked Trump, but domestically like in the 80’s Americans are quite unhappy with the way things are. It might not be a landslide victory similar to Reagan vs Carter but in light of what the pundits predicted, Trump’s victory is scalding them no less.
Over three decades ago Reagan stated that unless it can be proven that an unborn child is not alive, it should be entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Trump started out pro-choice but then declared in 2011 he was pro-life.
Reagan was strong against illegal immigration, just like Trump. In 1986 Reagan signed the Immigration Reform and Control Act making it illegal to hire illegal-immigrants.
Will Trump prove to be a Reagan?
Presidents of the United States have been ranked time and again on varying factors. In 2015 insidegov.com a government research portal that provides detailed information on national and government activities, ranked the 13 presidents since Franklin D Roosevelt. The rankings focused on quantifiable factors such as approval ratings, margin of victory by popular vote, change in unemployment, change in deficit, change in federal debt and the number of seats gained or lost by the president’s party during his administration.
Out of the thirteen presidents ranked since FDR, George W Bush came in at number 12, Obama came in at number 10, Bill Clinton at number 7 and Ronald Reagan came in at number 4.
If Donald Trump’s victory speech to his supporters is anything to go by, President Trump may not actually build a wall and he may not actually be as bad for the world as pundits had been predicting.
Ovais Jafar is a Multimedia Journalist, he tweets as @ovaisjafar