The Reagan Revolution Is Over
This is the end of the “Reagan Revolution.” I’m not saying that because the first African-American in history was elected president of the United States last night or because the Democrats won. What ended last night is the cultural warfare that used to decide former elections. For the first time in decades, the American people didn’t judge their favorite candidate based on their respective attitudes on abortion, gay marriage, evolution, and immigration. In fact, even when John McCain grasped the last remaining straw and promised tax cuts, the traditional Republican panacea that has worked so well since Reagan, it didn’t help him much. This time, the American people voted on issues that actually matter: the war in Iraq, the economic crisis and the desolate state of the American health care system.
Great challenges bear great opportunities
Perhaps it took a near catastrophe like the current state of the nation to make that happen. Many experts agree that Barack Obama, as president, won’t be a revolutionary but rather a reformer, in many aspects resembling the moderate Democrat Bill Clinton in office. What’s revolutionary about this election is the magnitude of the problems America is facing – and the fact that people seem to expect substantial, systematic change from their new president. Great challenges bear great opportunities. Besides ending the war in Iraq in a responsible way and reducing the gigantic state deficit (like Bill Clinton did during his presidency, following Bush senior), Americans expect their president, Barack Obama, to lead them through a fundamental economic crisis that’s shattered their trust in capitalism and finally help bring about fundamental changes in the health care system.
Sonja Bonin is co-editor of the Atlantic Review and a freelance journalist and translator based in Switzerland.
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