There are untold numbers of Hispanics and also blacks who plainly are not liberal, who are especially conservative on social and religious issues, but who vote Democrat reflexively. They’re not alone. There are countless old, traditional Roman Catholics (a demographic I know very well) who do the same.

So, what does all of this mean, particularly as applied to the Reagan era?

It means that a self-described conservative, Reagan-loving electorate has twice voted for a hardcore leftist, Barack Obama, to, in effect, end the Reagan era. That wasn’t the intent, but that’s the result.

Thus, it also means — and this would shock Ronald Reagan — that we conservatives really cannot trust the American public. Reagan, of course, insisted just the opposite; he was the quintessential optimist, with an unflagging faith in the American people. He had the greatest confidence in his fellow Americans.

The deeper truth, however, is that the American voter cannot be trusted; the American voter cannot be depended upon to vote rationally.