If you grew up in America in the 1980s, as I did, your first memory of politics was almost certainly of Ronald Reagan. His dignified patriotism, moral decency, sunny optimism and positive vision of our country set the tone for a decade that was the last time Americans as a whole really felt good about ourselves as a people. Our country was so united, in fact, that in 1984, President Reagan was reelected in a historic landslide, winning a stunning 49 out of 50 states over his competent and experienced opponent, the former Vice President Walter Mondale.
How different it must be for children growing up in America today. Their childhood political memories will be of a nation of people who despise each other — united only by the feeling that our country is in decline — so deeply divided by partisanship that a landslide election like 1984 would be unthinkable.