This all started with Bush sr. and Lee Atwater as the Bush sr. campaign adviser way back in the 1988 for POTUS.
Reagan had deregualted to hell and back and The "80's Business Man" was up and rolling strong. Greed had become a virtue, admirable. But! to sustain this they needed the desenfranched middle class whites. Of course, they were not about to give them anything substational, like good affordable health care, affordable college educations, good paying jobs, etc. No way! The new political philosphy of the day was a pirate philosphy, every man for himself. So the tatic had to be an appeal to the darker, mindless side of human nature, whisper campaigns, complicit right wing radio cranking out the bilge of Government is bad, just pull youself up by your own boot straps, liberalism is evil, etc.
And it worked! But!, it worked tooo good. They inadvertently opened up a Pandora's box. They created the Trump Frankenstein. The useful idiots over the years had become the majority, and now they own the Republican store, while the old country club Republicans sit ,with their faces in their hands, and shake their heads.