It is like Trump set out to kick down the door of the House of Reagan and the structure teetered to the brink of collapse, more decrepit than anyone had noticed.
Trump will make occasional reference to Reagan, although all he seems to know about him is that he used to be a Democrat — just like you know who. Often when Trump mentions Reagan, he refers to him as “somewhat” conservative, apparently unaware of the Gipper’s long career as a leader of the conservative movement, defending and representing views considered outrageously right wing at the time.
What Trump has discovered by accident is that many conservatives aren’t as attached to conservative policies as they seemed; that labels don’t mean much to voters; that you can bring new people into the Republican coalition instead of playing by the old rules; and that at least a significant plurality of Republican primary voters don’t care whether you bend your knee to the memory of Ronald Reagan or not.
In fact, Trump is showing how a secular Northeastern moderate can threaten for the Republican nomination as long as he says he’s pro-life and pro-gun and taps voter anger and the right’s hatred of the media.