Ronald Reagan was a "Greatest Generation" Conservative Democrat. He survived the Great Depression, and served his country during World War II. He respected unions, and he was even the President of one: The Screen Actors Guild. His leadership prevented the infiltration of Communist elements into the movie industry, but he stood up for the professionals in this guild.
When the Democratic Party refused to take a tough stand on Communism, Reagan openly endorsed Barry Goldwater, the first Republican Presidential candidate to talk tough about Communism, Big Government, and the dangers of an expanding welfare state. Goldwater's inarticulate stance on civil rights and his misguided jingoism, plus the nation's hurt feelings following the sudden assassination of John F. Kennedy, hurt Goldwater immensely, and the Republican Party suffered its worst "shellacking" in U.S. History.
But Goldwater's failure turned into Conservative-Democrat-turned-Republican Reagan's success, first for his two terms as California's governor, then his two terms as United States President. He did not get there with Republican votes only, especially in 1984, when he swept forty-nine states, including liberal Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the rest of the "moderate" Northeast. He needed a lot of help from Democrats, who go by unique labels:
Gun-rack Democrats: these men and women work for their bread and provide for their fields and their families. They care about God and country. Some Gun-rack Democrats live in the Central Valley, where they take care of business, but more importantly they want a party that will take care of the "working man."
Reagan Democrats: this term is more comprehensive, but refers to those who liked the strong leadership and charisma of a President who understood what they went through growing up during the Great Depression, who understood the preeminece of working hard for pay to make your way in this world from day to day.
Moderate Democrats: these men and women honor the individual interests of people, and they perceive the growing distance of party elites with the well-being of working people on Main Street. They do not like abortion, but they are concerned that a woman's right to choose will be completely removed. They would prefer wise governance, but out of tradition they vote Democrat.
Conservative Democrats: These men and women care about faith, family, and finances, but they believed that the Republican Party represented the "Rich, Elites", while the Democratic Party cared about "you and me". This seeming respect emerged during Franklin Delano Roosevelt's four terms in office; however, his policies caused more harm than good for a country whose small recession expanded into a "Great Depression" because of Roosevelt's ruinous policies. The realignment of a growing welfare state has now created a culture of confusion and unrest for many, and conservative Democrats, who recognize the failures of FDR's agenda, deserve to maintain their conservatism where it will be honored: in the Republican Party.
Then there are the "Greatest Generation" Democrats, who fought for this country, whether in World War II or Korea. They understand the value of a dollar, they worked hard for themselves and their future, and they look forward to raising their children and their grandchildren. Today, the Democratic leadership in Sacramento respects neither the vote nor the values of these "Greatest Generation" Conservatives.
The values of faith, family, and fiscal responsibility no longer define the Democratic Party. Today, the Democratic Machine has become a coalition of competing ideologies, in which different pandering, self-serving special interests demand a different piece of the state's revenue, whether individual taxpayers want to pay for them or not.
The union lobby has a stranglehold on the statehouse and the schoolhouse. The Greatest Generation never assumed that the government would take care of them, but union leaders have forced working employees to take "union support" and then demand that future generations pay for retired workers pensions and benefits, which school districts and cities can no longer afford without cutting basic services.
The environmental lobby has put the welfare of plants, animals, and the earth ahead of people. Conservative Democrats did not fight for this country and work their way into prosperity, only to see a dedicated vocal minority of environmentalists take it away with high regulations and red-tape interventionism. The rugged outdoorsmanship of "gun-rack Democrats" is also being displaced by this elite cadre of "Green freaks," whose policies are just as wasteful and dangerous as the tax-and-spend statism of current Democratic leaders like President Barack Obama.
The divergent social views of the LBGTQ Lobby clash with the traditional attitudes about faith and family, abortion and marriage, which conservative Democrats have always honored. Frankly, "Greatest Generation" Democrats are more socially conservative than a growing number of young Republicans and limited government advocates. The CA GOP tent is wide open, and there is a special place for Conservative "Greatest Generation", Reaganite, and "Gun-Rack" Democrats, where their voice, their values, and their vote will find the honor and respect which they deserve.
Conservative Democrats: your party has passed you by, but you are not passed your prime. The Republican Party will not pass you over. The Republican Party respects you and your vote more.