Lynnette and Rochelle for Donald Trump: Why the 80s were so great

I remember what it was like in the 80s. Actually I campaigned for Ronald Reagan as a 7th grade student. In my history class I was the leader of the debate team defending Reagan from supporters of Jimmy Carter, which was hosted by three of the most popular girls in the school at the time. The two people I had to help me with the debate were not comfortable speaking in public, so I ended up doing the whole presentation and I had the class on Reagan’s side by the end of the discussion. At the time I didn’t know that Reagan had been a labor union leader, a Democrat, and had tendencies toward bleeding heart liberalism. I just liked his confidence, and what he created during his presidency was enthusiasm for capitalism that America has been missing since. In many ways Donald Trump does remind me of the early days of Ronald Reagan. He’s not conservative enough for me, but I think he can sell what conservatism he does have better than anyone running—and could at a minimum create in America a resurgence of enthusiasm similar to the 1980s. Somehow Republicans will have to break loose the current split that the country finds itself in and create new demographics favorable to those who call themselves conservative. And the first hint of that potential enthusiasm I can see clearly in the two wonderful women rising in popularity of late who are unapologetic Donald Trump supporters, Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson. Check them out! I featured them in yesterday’s article, but they have continued to impress now making the television rounds.

I first heard that interview with Lynnette and Rochelle on Doc Thompson’s The Blaze Radio Show from 6 AM to 9 AM and it had me laughing out loud. Each morning I have been riding a bicycle 24 miles and during that time I catch Doc’s show, and it’s often that he says funny things. But it’s pretty rare where laughter cannot be held back, and I was in traffic, and I’m sure people were wondering what in the world I was laughing so hard at. The Viewer’s View girls were funny and passionate—their enthusiasm was intense–so I really couldn’t help but laugh out loud as people in the car next to me looked on in bewilderment. It instantly reminded me of the type of hope and enthusiasm I remembered from the 1980s where artists like Michael Jackson would do appearances at the White House with Ronald Reagan, and social and economic barriers weren’t as pronounced as they were in the 60s and 70s. Hope was alive and it was exciting.

Communists, socialists, progressives and Democrats—which are all the same thing in my book, didn’t like Reagan because he put a stop on the Soviet plans to spread communism to every corner of the globe. I never thought of Reagan as a bastion of conservative value. Much to my dislike, he was a little too socially liberal in regards to Nancy Reagan, and other aspects of this life. Reagan believed in astrology and strange superstitions, which is clearly not something I believe in. But, wow, did Reagan get Americans feeling good about themselves again, and the byproduct of that enthusiasm was undeniably present in our music, movies, products and global presence.

In the early stage of the Trump run for president I identified the power of his celebrity and fighting ability to pull people into the party who would otherwise reject Republicans. Lynnette and Rochelle are clearly the types of women who would not get excited about Jeb Bush or Scott Walker. Even though Walker, Cruz, or Rand Paul might be better candidates as far as people go—they do not have the power of celebrity and charisma to win people over who would otherwise stand against them. Trump in just a very short time has elicited a passion from demographic groups who would not otherwise call themselves Republican, and that is a very powerful thing. It is interesting that Lynnette and Rochelle have so directly connected Trump to job creation. That was the type of environment that Reagan was able to create. If a person wanted to make money in the 1980s, they could—there were jobs and barriers to entry that were being removed. There were hopes and dreams of wealth that Americans had which led to much critical appraisal of excess—particularly from the political left and generally lazy. But the option was there and it was a generally very positive time. I knew it would be that way as a 7th grade student and I felt passionately enough about it to actually work on behalf of the Reagan campaign as a young person.

But Reagan then and now was not conservative enough for me, even though just about every Republican refers to him as a way to tie themselves to former president. Reagan to me was not “Republican” enough. However I saw the strategic opportunities of his presidency early on, and turned out to be glaringly correct. Even older people who were skeptical about my enthusiasm for Reagan as such a young person doubted that my passion was anything less than youthful hope. It wasn’t. I saw in Reagan an ability to unleash opportunity that had been suppressed for a long time within the United States. I was able to pretty much dominate any social situation, overcome most legal hurdles, meet people of any demographic, and make all the money I wanted before Reagan was in his seventh year as president. I was making as much money as an 18-year-old as my dad was making after 25 years at a regular company. The only limits to my life were in the things I needed to learn—which I worked very hard at. The music was great, the money was excellent, and the direction of the country was very promising. Then came George H Bush. Within four years of his presidency, the establishment Republican had me leaning toward Ross Perot. Clinton won the election of 1992, and everything went downhill from there. Literally.

If a true conservative had been available to take the reigns of Ronald Reagan after he left office, things might have gone very different for America. We might in fact look like the film Back to the Future II and have flying cars, and hover boards. Instead we have iPhones and Facebook. If there had been a Ted Cruz in 1992, we might have to this day a shopping mall on the Moon complete with hotels and night clubs. Ronald Reagan was a paid spokesman for GE and learned to speak the benefits of capitalism from them before becoming a governor or president. His liberalism evolved the older he became into a more conservative personality. I was however born extremely conservative, so everyone falls short in my book. Reagan did a good job of making America feel good about itself, and I think Donald Trump has that same quality. It will be up to some good candidates in 2024 to be ready to take that enthusiasm so evident in women like Lynnette and Rochelle and apply it more toward a laissez-faire capitalist system instead of the socialism of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and of course Bernie Sanders.

There is a reason that Bernie is packing stadiums, socialism is very real and is the policy of Democrats. If you want to beat them in elections and pull spirited Democrats who are questioning that system back to the Republican side of the political spectrum, you need someone who can sell capitalism to people like Lynnette and Rochelle. If they are on board with Trump, it is only a matter of time before a whole lot of other people will be on board as well. And what they are boarding is unapologetic capitalism blasting against a world slipping into socialism. This is the most important election of our lives, and if I were still in the 7th grade, I’d be supporting Trump just as I did Reagan. And that youthful ambition would not be derived from naiveté. It would come from scientific plausibility and deductive reasoning. It’s a numbers game, and Republicans have been too weak in the past to appeal to people like Lynnette and Rochelle. And we’ve lost them to the Democrats and along with them, a hunger by them for the opportunities of capitalism.

The 1980s weren’t perfect. But they were a whole lot better than what has happened since and before. I should know, I experienced it first hand. I think that explosive enthusiasm could in fact be much greater than what we saw in the 80s. For me in the next election it’s not the border, the Iran deal, ISIS, or Planned Parenthood, it’s the $18 trillion dollars in debt that is facing the United States. I think only someone with the ego of Donald Trump has the fortitude to take that on with the gusto it will take to pull off the task. And solving that problem gives me hope that wasn’t there before he announced himself for President of the United States. In that hope I share in common a lot with Lynnette and Rochelle. It is in the purity of their passion that I found myself laughing as sweat poured off my face in the early morning sun and motorists looked at me wondering why I was laughing so hard. It wasn’t them that was funny, it was that they unlocked within me the enthusiasm I have been yearning for in America really since the 1980s to come again, and it has in the wake of Donald Trump.

Rich Hoffman


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