We Should Have Seen It Coming: From Reagan to Trump—A Front Row Seat to a Political Revolution

Gerald F. Seib. Random House, $28 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-13515-0
Wall Street Journal reporter Seib debuts with a judicious and approachable chronicle of the evolution of the Republican Party from the Reagan revolution in the 1980s to the rise of Trumpism. Rather than focusing on demographics and statistics, Seib tells a more human story of the individuals and grassroots infrastructure that drove the evolution of the conservative movement. Biographical sketches of key Republican figures including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sit alongside explorations of under-the-radar tactical developments, such as direct-mail fund-raising, that enabled the development of a sustainable movement. Revisiting the presidential candidacies of Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot in the 1990s and the rise of the Tea Party in the late 2000s, Seib identifies precursors to Trump’s electoral victory and argues that it was less surprising than it first seemed. Avoiding wonkishness while making such policy elements as supply-side economics and the Reagan-era tax cuts comprehensible, Seib draws on his insider perspective to deliver an incisive assessment of “the most important political story of the millennium.” Political junkies will savor this evenhanded, anecdote-rich account. Agent: Raphael Sagalyn. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/19/2020
Release date: 08/25/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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