There are some similarities, of course, but the political landscape is very different today than in 1980. The same can be said between now and the 1960s and the 1930s. That fact says less about the modern party than a simple reflection of changes in the country and electoral reality. Taking away any other lesson is a waste of time and energy.

You could argue that conservatives are standing on the shoulders of Reagan — and that we are still in many ways living in the age of Reagan. He built the foundation. But Reagan had different experiences (he grew up an FDR Democrat) and faced different challenges. Times change.

Could Obama have won the Democratic nomination in 1980?