Trinity University Press

Reagan’s Comeback

Four Weeks in Texas That Changed American Politics Forever

Gilbert Garcia (author)

The story of the real roots of the Reagan Revolution

Reagan's Comeback is the surprising story of a pivotal point in Ronald Reagan’s career: a single dramatic month during the 1976 presidential election in which he found his footing on the national stage and turned American politics upside down. Never before has anyone told the story of how Reagan fi nally found his voice as a presidential contender and overcame the powerful Republican establishment to forever change American  history. Approaching the Texas presidential primary, Reagan’s insurgent campaign against President Gerald Ford was on life support, and it was likely to mean the end of Reagan’s political career. With Ford primed for a knockout punch, Reagan mobilized a rabid coalition of disaffected GOP outsiders and conservative Democrats to secure a landslide victory. It was the worst primary defeat ever experienced by an incumbent president.

Revealing never-before-told stories from campaign insiders and observers, Gilbert Garcia chronicles how backroom deals, emergency fundraising, and innovative campaign strategies led to Reagan’s victory. His success was a springboard to a serious challenge at the Republican National Convention, opening the door for his eventual victory in 1980.

Reagan’s seeming demise but sudden rise mirrors much of the unease today between grassroots movements and the GOP, and shows how the Reagan campaign prophetically gave birth to much of what would become the Tea Party more than three decades later. The Reagan Revolution of the 1980s would not have happened without this decisive win in Texas.


  • Winner of Independent Publishers Best Book Silver Award (regional nonfiction)


“Gilbert Garcia has written an excellent account of the 1976 Texas presidential primary campaign between President Gerald Ford and challenger Ronald Reagan that was crucial in the evolution of Texas from a predominantly Democratic state to a solidly Republican one.”

Dallas Morning News

“An absorbing read for anyone interested generally in politics and particularly in the elements of Ronald Reagan’s success.”

Washington Times

Reagan’s Comeback cover
  • Price: $17.95 buy »
  • Pages: 216
  • Size: 5.75 x 8.75
  • Published: Aug 2012
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595341426
  • Price: $22.95
  • Pages: 216
  • Size: 6 x 9
  • Published: Jan 2012
  • Status: Out of print
  • ISBN: 9781595341150
  • Price: $17.95
  • Published: Feb 2012
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595341174


Regional, Politics, Texas