The funeral today of Nancy Reagan at age 94 reminds everyone of a better, more inspiring era of American conservatism. Yes, the Reagans both worked in Hollywood and they established themselves as popular celebrities long before they ever ran for office. But they used their celebrity status on behalf of numerous conservative causes prior to Reagan’s entry into electoral politics. He spoke out against Communist tyranny, fought socialized medicine and the growth of big government, and campaigned energetically for Goldwater before his campaign for governor in 1966.
By contrast, Donald Trump did nothing for conservative causes until his current campaign for the White House. The only grass roots political fight in which he played a prominent role involved the embarrassing and groundless challenge to Obama’s birth certificate.
Reagan discovered politics as a means to advance the issues he always cared about. Trump belatedly discovered issues as a means to advance the drive for attention that he always cared about.