To repeat a Reagan-like transformation of the party, Republicans have to offer an alternative vision that is appealing enough to voters to serve as a replacement for the dwindling politics of tax cuts.
This is easier said than done, but there are many things in the Republican toolbox that could form the nucleus of that alternative politics. For example, one theme could be emphasizing equality of opportunity—a deeply American concern—by making a big push on education, from elementary and secondary education, to vocational education, to retraining and reskilling, to college access and affordability. The Republican Party could become the party of opportunity, of mobility, of strivers, of dreams. They don’t have to give up their opposition to “socialism”—the opposite of socialism is putting people back to work in a free economy. Policies that focus on improving the quality and accessibility of education can do exactly that, as would a push on parental leave that prevents the drift of workers away from the labor force, or health care policies that make workers more mobile and able to take entrepreneurial risks, or climate change jobs that could rebuild the working class. These are policies that could appeal across the board, including to working-class voters who have found themselves drawn to Trump.
Reagan showed it’s possible to completely reorient a political party; just consider that before Reagan, the GOP was seen as the party that was more likely to increase taxes. But we also shouldn’t underestimate how hard it is to establish that new orientation and to communicate it to voters. Reagan and allies like the late Rep. Jack Kemp spent years persuading, haranguing and browbeating, and at first they couldn’t even convince other Republicans.