Daniel S. LucksDec 16, 2020
Racism, Republicans, and the Road to Trump
Beacon Press 2020
Ronald Reagan is regarded today as one of the most consequential presidents of the postwar era, yet many aspects of his legacy are largely unappreciated. In Reconsidering Reagan: Racism, Republicans and the Road to Trump (Beacon Press, 2020), Daniel Lucks looks at Reagan’s approach to racial issues over the course of his political career and details how his policies on race impacted Black and Hispanic populations in the United States. Though he was raised in a racially tolerant household, as he embraced conservatism in the 1950s and 1960s Reagan echoed much of the rhetoric of the opponents of the civil rights movement that was then transforming the country. When Reagan ran for political office in the mid-1960s he benefited politically from the white backlash against racial unrest and often took public stances on controversial issues that aligned with their views. While undoing the civil rights revolution was not a priority of his as president, Reagan nonetheless presided over an administration whose policies challenged many of its achievements, culminating in a racially-focused “war on drugs” that contributed to the problems facing African Americans down to the present day.