Resurgence of the Reagan Democrats

Jamie Roe and Stu Sandler

President-elect Donald Trump rocks out with the Motor City Madman.

That’s the kind of activity which caused Trump to resurrect a coalition of blue-collar voters in rust belt America. For decades, Macomb County has been a pivotal destination for Republican and Democrat presidential candidates alike.

Where Macomb County, the middle class, and the Reagan Democrats went, so went America.

The people of Macomb County are hard-working, faithful, patriotic, and not looking for handouts from government. They closely hold their families, and the liberties guaranteed by our Constitution, including the right to keep and bear arms. Macomb County is pro-military and deeply engaged in the defense of our nation. It has Selfridge Air National Guard Base, a growing defense industrial base anchored by General Dynamics Land Systems and BAE Systems, and is home to countless veterans. Macomb County is a microcosm of working and middle class America in our midst, and the perfect place for candidates to hone and highlight their economic message.

And now those are the exact type of voters that Republicans needed to ensure a presidential victory in Rust Belt states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

President-elect Trump won Macomb County by a whopping 48,000 votes despite President Barack Obama winning Macomb County twice by wide margins. Those 48,000 votes in Macomb helped propel Trump to win Michigan by 13,000 votes. This pattern repeated itself across the industrial Midwest once thought of as the Democrats’ “Blue Wall.”

What caused this? Trump’s position on trade, and the belief that American jobs and American workers should come first. Trump’s position on a strong America, combined with a humble foreign policy that protects American interests. Trump’s position on protecting our rights, particularly the 2nd Amendment. Trump’s belief in secure borders that will protect our communities and our jobs. Trump’s advocacy for lower taxes and a growing economy. And Trump’s willingness to fight back against any individual, group, the media, or political elites that stood in the way of his agenda.

Macomb County believes Trump will fight for them, just as they believed Ronald Reagan would be their champion.

On Sunday evening before the election, Donald Trump brought his campaign to the heart of Macomb County, Freedom Hill County Park in Sterling Heights. A raucous, yet peaceful crowd of Trump supporters filled the venue to capacity, and thousands were turned away disappointed they couldn’t get in, yet still dedicated to Trump.

Detroit rocker Ted Nugent emerged from a Michigan deer camp to address the crowd with blunt, coarse language espousing support for liberty, and asking whether the people of Michigan were still tough enough and willing to stand strong for freedom. His message was perfectly crafted for this coveted voting bloc.

When Trump himself arrived, it was more of the same. Tough and blunt talk was greeted with loud cheers, and on the following Tuesday the people flocked to the voting booth.

The people of Macomb County saw their reflection, and their champion, in the billionaire they now entrust to carry their cause in Washington. If that cause is successful we may once again be experiencing a political realignment in one of Michigan’s, and the nation’s, most important bellwether communities.

Jamie Roe and Stu Sandler are co-founders and partners at Grand River Strategies.