The 1950s, was great for America in many ways. We were not just the economic superpower of the world, but became the number one military and diplomatic power in the world. This was post-World War II where our economy boomed and our infrastructure system boomed as a result. But the problem with this era was that many Americans didn't benefit from these American advances. Not because of anything that they did, but because of how they were born. Their complexion, their race, their ethnicity, their religion, their gender. Not because they were, or could be any less productive than Anglo-Saxon Protestant men. What the 1960s and the 1980s brought to America, was true individual freedom. Both from a personal and economic standpoint.
If you watch this video, think you see Pat Buchanan, essentially acknowledging what I'm arguing here. That the America that he grew up with in the 1950s simply no longer exists. And when he was asked, "do you want to use government to bring that America back?" He answered truthfully and honestly and said he doesn't believe that, because its simply not possible. Which is a very practical answer and the correct answer. As far as the 1988 presidential election, you had Vice President George H.W. Bush, for the Republican Party. Who represented President Ronald Reagan and his policies in that election. Going up against Governor Michael Dukakis, who represented the New America and the direction that America has been moving to ever since.