What If Ronald Reagan Hadn't Run for President?
Was the strength of the conservative movement in the United States entirely due to Ronald Reagan? I recall obituaries being written for conservatism (especially economic conservatism) in the mid 1970s. This was partly due to the “Even-Nixon” phenomenon and partly due to scarcity of real conservatives in the political class. A few more Presidents who were either Democrats or RINOs might have eliminated American conservatism as an organized movement. (Lisa Schiffren has some similar thoughts along these lines.)
One problem is that the usual climb to the top in politics requires a personality who believes in political power. The best way around that is to have a candidate who climbed high in the business, academic, or entertainment worlds before switching to politics. I suspect much of “political correctness” is for the purpose of ensuring that few future Reagans will come from the academic or entertainment worlds. On the other hand, there might be an adequate supply of conservatives from economics departments.
So … Maybe we should try recruiting economics professors now …