What the Final Stage of Reaganism Looks Like

Thom Hartmann
8 min readDec 16, 2022

The question today is whether we as a nation and a people will recover from it, or if it will, as Reagan promised, destroy the American experiment of pluralistic liberal democracy

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Back in 1981, when Ronald Reagan was sworn in and implicitly promised to destroy our government because it was “the problem,” many of us who strongly opposed him wondered what the final stage of Reaganism would look like.

Now we know. We’re there.

Violence toward women and minorities has exploded. Armed militias tried to assassinate the Vice President and Speaker of the House in an attempted coup directed by the Republican President of the United States. They tried to kidnap and murder the governor of Michigan. They’re blowing up power substations from Oregon to the Carolinas. They’ve embedded themselves in DHS, police departments, and our military. They’re coordinating with fascists overseas.

Leading up to this moment was a 41-year political war that splattered the American Dream like gut-shot blood across a dystopian Republican hellscape mural.

Reaganism brought us:
— the collapse of the middle class;
— student and medical debt that’s impossible to climb out of;
— an explosion of predation from health insurance companies and for-profit hospitals;
— political manipulation by corporations and billionaires;
— an explosion of homelessness and untreated mental illness;
— and turned our elementary schools into killing fields.

The question today is whether we as a nation and a people will recover from it, or if it will, as Reagan promised on January 20, 1981, end the American experiment of pluralistic liberal democracy.

The seeds of Reaganism were planted in 1972 when President Nixon put tobacco lawyer Lewis Powell on the US Supreme Court.

Powell had written his infamous “Memo” a year earlier, arguing that corporate America and the morbidly rich needed to join forces to wrest back control of America after forty years of

Thom Hartmann

America’s #1 progressive talk show host & NY Times bestselling author. Thom’s writings also appear at HartmannReport.com.