Since Marco Rubio is the real path to a Trump nomination, I thought I would look at something he said recently in his attempt to stop Trump. Rubio referred to the Republicans as the party of Lincoln and Reagan. Here’s the problem with that.
Abraham Lincoln was part of the Whig Party until the 1850’s. After the Republican party formed, he became their first presidential nominee and won. Unfortunately, his term coincided with the Civil War. As the War wound down in 1864, the Republican Party thought that Lincoln was too divisive a figure and nominated John C. Frémont. A coalition of other Republicans and War Democrats nominated Abraham Lincoln under the National Union Party. Eventually, Frémont dropped out and the “Radical Republicans” who broke away from Lincoln endorsed him.
Ronald Reagan supported Barry Goldwater 100 years later in 1964. After two years as governor of California, Reagan ran for president in 1968. He made it all the way to the convention against Richard Nixon. Nixon made it to the convention just short of the majority of delegates needed to win the first ballot. However, he was bale to secure 11 more delegates to win the nomination. Reagan ran again in 1976, but the party backed current (appointed) president Gerald Ford. It took until 1980, 12 years after he first ran, for Reagan to win the nomination and the presidency. And Reagan is supposed to be the greatest Republican since Lincoln.
Ironically, Rubio is correct, but not in the way he thinks. The Donald Trump campaign has some precedent in a Republican Party who doesn’t always know a good thing when they see it. The Republicans almost killed their party 4 years after it started and also passed over one of their greatest standard bearers for a man who is synonymous with presidential scandal.