Where Trump did achieve policy victories, all were straight out of the zombie Reaganism playbook. This isn’t to say they were always in line with the policies pursued by Reagan himself: Reagan’s brand of conservatism has taken on a life of its own, concisely expressed in the Gipper’s famous quip that “government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Casey Mulligan, who served at Trump’s CEA and wrote a memoir of his time there, reminds us that the gap between Reaganism and Reagan can be large. Nevertheless, zombie Reaganism represents a specific mythos, one that has infused the GOP for decades. And if Trump’s policy victories are any indication, it isn’t going anywhere.
Trump’s accomplishments fall into two categories: constitutional wins (dealing with how America’s governing covenant is interpreted and applied) and post-constitutional wins (succeeding in the rough-and-tumble melee of partisan politics). The clearest examples of Trump’s constitutional victories are his Supreme Court justice picks. As for post-constitutional victories, it’s hard to beat his tax cuts and deregulation. Both kinds of wins carry the distinctive odor of Reaganism warmed over.