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Journalist Gerald Seib's Chronicle Of The Rise & Decline Of American Conservatism

Penguin Random House

There are less than two weeks to go before voting ends, and as we enter this critical stretch in the presidential race, the political and cultural divisions in our country appear more pronounced than they have ever been in modern times.  And the differences between the Republican and Democratic parties are also more pronounced, when viewed over the past four decades. 

In his new book, We Should Have Seen It Coming: From Reagan to Trump -- A Front-Row Seat to a Political Revolution, veteran journalist Gerald Seib, the executive Washington Editor of The Wall Street Journalobserves that for 20 of the 36 years after Ronald Reagan was elected, “someone pledging loyalty to his precepts occupied the Oval Office.” 

In Reagan’s first term, Republicans controlled 14 state legislatures.  By the Clinton years, that number had increased to 25.  By the time Donald Trump was inaugurated, it had grown to 30. 

But Trump’s brand of conservatism bears little resemblance to Reagan’s...

Credit The Wall Street Journal
Gerald F. Seib, a veteran politics reporter and columnist, is Executive Washington Editor for The Wall Street Journal.

It is that evolution of the Republican Party that Gerald Seibcalls “the most important political story of the new millennium.”  He asks, “Is [the] turn toward nationalism and populism permanent or a passing fad?”  We’ll find out sometime in the next several weeks. 

Today on Midday, Gerald Seib joins Tom to discuss the remarkable transformation of the Republican Party, a story that has unspooled over the forty years that Seib has been covering politics.  

Gerald Seib joins us on Zoom. We welcome listener comments and questions.

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Rob is a contributing producer for Midday.