#8 The Transformation of American Politics: From Reagan to Trump

Stan N. Katz, Ph.D., teaches courses on democracy, civil society, and nonprofit organizations at the Woodrow Wilson School. He writes about the United States and human rights and higher education policy. Katz works on projects in Cuba and elsewhere. He directs the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at WWS and is the President Emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies.

February 13 and 27, 2018 - 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Stanley Katz, Ph.D., Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs Associate Director for Education, Princeton University Art Museum

We will discuss the conservative transformation of politics that culminated in the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan, and ask how the “Reagan Revolution” begat the 2016 election of Donald Trump.  What historical forces enabled Reagan to dominate U.S. politics after nearly half of century of Democratic triumph, from the New Deal to the Great Society? What role did Richard Nixon play in creating the conditions under which Reagan could be elected? And then there is Trump. Is there any sense in which the 2016 election was the logical historical outcome of the development of American political conservatism? Or was it more the failure of Barrack Obama and Hilary Clinton to mobilize the forces of twenty-first century democracy?