In less than four decades the Republican party went from Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump. Just how did that happen?

Gerald Seib, the executive Washington editor for The Wall Street Journal, says it’s not too surprising at all.

“There was always a kind of populist national sentiment working up from the grassroots, especially in the Republican Party. Donald Trump walked through an open door in 2016,” he said. Seib was a guest on the “Utah Politics” podcast. He charts the factors that led to the Trump presidency in his new book “We Should Have Seen it Coming. From Reagan to Trump — A Front Row Seat to a Political Revolution.”

Seib also moderated a Republican debate during the 2016 GOP primary process. He says the preparation to head up such a high-profile event is unlike anything he’s ever faced in his long career.

“You have to be prepared for sixty-five different eventualities, knowing about three-quarters of what you’re cramming into your head is going to be useless,” he says.

“The last thing people want to see when they watch a debate is the moderator. Your job is to ask questions and get out of the way, but you also have to keep control of the thing. And that’s a very tricky balance,” Seib added.

Gerald Seib on Twitter: @GeraldFSeib

You can listen to the full interview here or click below.

Subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or wherever you get your podcasts.