Could today’s much-maligned conservative insurgents similarly be laying the groundwork for a new Reagan, as Goldwater did? Does the establishment need to yield in order to move forward?

Perhaps, but the lessons from the Reagan Revolution were different, some say. Reagan took something that was already a reality on the ground – the New Deal – and gave it Goldwater’s conservative spin, said Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, to the Monitor. “He permitted a conservative interpretation of the New Deal’s development that moved politics rightward.”

Today’s Republicans, by contrast, appear to be working against political realities rather than looking for ways to massage them. Mr. Trump has made his mark by advocating for the deportation of immigrants in the United States illegally – a position at odds with the country as a whole. And the political crisis that precipitated Boehner’s decision to depart also goes against broader public opinion – shutting down government to defund Planned Parenthood, an abortion provider.