Supposing that Ronald Reagan and the New Right never comes to power in America, how would US society (economy, social policy, politics, etc) be different today? I'm not focusing on how the 1980s would have been different as we already have a plethora of TLs on that. Instead this thread is meant to explore what 21st Century America would look like without Reagan. The POD is that a moderate Republican like Baker or Bush is elected over Carter in 1980.
 
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GeographyDude

Gone Fishin'
Reagan believed God spared him from the 1981 assassination attempt for a purpose, and he thought preventing nuclear war may have been that purpose.

And Ronnie Reagan did not believe nuclear war was inevitable, unlike both many liberals and conservatives.

PS I’m trying to find unique features of the man other than just down-the-middle conservatism.
 

GeographyDude

Gone Fishin'
The US would still have been deregulated. The economic trends leading to it had already begun in the 70s, the policy had already been adopted by Carter in trucking, airlines, telecommunications I believe and a few other industries. Without the Reagan coalition, you might not have had the evangelicals launching a cultural war or the Defense hawkers derailing detente, but the broad outlines of the economic impact of the Reagan administration would still probably be there, minus perhaps the Defense spending-induced deficits.

Alternately, if you go with a Democratic administration at some point in the 80s, you could have a continuation of Carter/earlier version of Clinton, and that is a deregulation, financialization and globalization porogram but pursued from the left; sort of like an American analogue of what happened in Australia and New Zealand at around the same time.
 
but the broad outlines of the economic impact of the Reagan administration would still probably be there, minus perhaps the Defense spending-induced deficits.

Without Reagan, the US would probably remain the world's largest creditor nation and not become it's largest debtor.
 
SO how come the debt kept ballooning regardless of the party in power ?

Because Reagan slashed taxes while pumping new billions into federal spending. The decreased revenue caused the US to borrow more from foreign lenders in order to pay off what it spent. That is a major reason why our debt is out of control. As for why this never changed under the Democrats, this is because Clinton and Obama were neoliberals who accepted Reaganism as the status quo. At the most, they made some minor tweaks here and there like expanding the private health care system and raising taxes by small amounts but not enough to pay off our deficit and debt.
 

RousseauX

Donor
So Democrats could not change course because of just one man ?
Reaganism wasn't one man, it was a set of political and economic ideologies that had being building up in the US since 1938 or so in response to the perceived economic problems coming out of the new deal order and the cultural upheavals of the 1960s
 

longsword14

Banned
Reaganism wasn't one man, it was a set of political and economic ideologies that had being building up in the US since 1938 or so in response to the perceived economic problems coming out of the new deal order and the cultural upheavals of the 1960s
All true, but the poster dumped the entire thing on one man.
 
So Democrats could not change course because of just one man ?

Not necessarily. By the 1980s Democrats generally were trying to position themselves as more moderate and often distanced themselves from liberalism. Even Cuomo and Richards, the Democratic stars of this period, would clarify that they were "pragmatic progressives" and not the old school LBJ liberals. That said, in 1992 there was a chance to take the country in a more progressive (or less right wing) direction like FDR did after 12 years of Republicans. However Clinton blew his electoral mandate in 1993 and 94 and from then on governed using liberal rhetoric and conservative policies (Triangulation).

All true, but the poster dumped the entire thing on one man.

The country's right ward shift and the revolutions in both parties weren't the faults of just one or two men alone, they came about thanks to social changes that were years in the making. That said, the election of one person over the other makes a huge difference depending on how he or she governs. The mainstream of the GOP in 1980 was moderate, in fact ever major contender for the nomination that year was a moderate. So given the right POD that butterflies away a Reagan Presidency, neocons don't assume national influence and the country would look very different. A similar divergence from OTL would result if you change the Democratic nominee in 1992.
 

GeographyDude

Gone Fishin'
As far as the cold war with Reagan and Brezhnev and his successors, 1983 was a dangerous year.

In Sept. ‘83, there was the false alarm and the save by Stanislav Petrov.

In then separately in Nov. ‘83, the Soviets worried that the annual military exercise Able Archer might be cover for the real thing, in part because of an upsurge in tensions, and in part because we were using new communication methods. Well, shit, you’re always trying new things in military exercises.

* I bring this up to temper how much credit Reagan usually gets.
 
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As far as the cold war with Reagan and Brezhnev and his successors, 1983 was a dangerous year.

In Sept. ‘83, there was the false alarm and the save by Stanislav Petrov.

In Nov. ‘83, the Soviets worrid that the annual military exercise Able Archer might be cover for the real thing, in part because of the upsurge in tensions, and in part because we were using new communication methods. Well, shit, you’re always trying new things in military exercises.

* I bring this up to temper how much credit Reagan usually gets.

So in the long run (which is what this thread is meant to focus on; no offense you do bring up some really good points here) do you think international relations would be more stable provided that neocons don't take over the GOP under Reagan? No Reaganism in foreign policy could have some interesting repercussions down the road...
 
The US would still have been deregulated. The economic trends leading to it had already begun in the 70s, the policy had already been adopted by Carter in trucking, airlines, telecommunications I believe and a few other industries. Without the Reagan coalition, you might not have had the evangelicals launching a cultural war or the Defense hawkers derailing detente, but the broad outlines of the economic impact of the Reagan administration would still probably be there, minus perhaps the Defense spending-induced deficits.

Alternately, if you go with a Democratic administration at some point in the 80s, you could have a continuation of Carter/earlier version of Clinton, and that is a deregulation, financialization and globalization porogram but pursued from the left; sort of like an American analogue of what happened in Australia and New Zealand at around the same time.
to be accurate, it should probably be labelled "The clinton revolution" given how 90% of what Reagan's credited for happened under clinton
 
imo only the uk and nz had the 'right' conditions to ensure some kind of neoliberalism was likely(and even that could have been avoided or at least delay it quite a bit by changing election tiiming a bit for the uk. NZ? dunno) on it's own post-70s. The US, well it took a combo of Carter's winning in 1976+Reagan lucking out and his alzheimers not being visible yet -- a Bush 80s would have been tighter budgets but it wouldn't have even been Reaganism lite. No reaganism, no clinton revolution in the 90s... and that's just in the US. Overseas? Well, without the example of Reaganism...
 

Deleted member 109224

The Christian Right aligning with the GOP was pretty Reagan-tied. Goldwater, Buckley, Dole, Kemp, etc wouldn't have engaged them as much I think.

Aside from that, the GOP probably wouldn't be that different for the next couple of decades. The big shift would be in the 2000s when you had a large influx of people into the GOP column primarily on cultural grounds who weren't all that fiscally conservative.

Bush in 1980 probably has to pick a conservative running mate and govern more conservatively then he'd like. Kemp is the easiest cultural fit (kind of liberal on a variety of issues while still a supply sider) but Laxalt might work too given Laxalt's closeness with Reagan.
 
Without reagan (and any similar presidency after 1980, either economic neoliberalism would remain associated solely with Thatcher and third world dictators like Pinochet. Likely no blueprint for "reforms" elsewhere which created the economic insecurity and instability we're suffering from in many countries. Also, without US debt explosion, many developing countries would not have been as caught in spiralling deficits because of higher global interest rates.

This might well mean more social cohesion both in Western and in developing countries than IOTL.

Same with all the madness the neocons supported in the Muslim world. The US might never have been plagued by such a threat of terrorism, had it not been for neocon failures.

On the flip side, it's not clear whether the Eastern bloc would have collapsed on time without Reagan's additional military spending pressure. So maybe bloc confrontation and dictatorships in eastern Europe continuing into the 1990s...?
 
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