In season 2 of Stranger Things, we see a Reagan campaign sign on the Wheelers’ front yard. It’s 1984 and Ronald Reagan, actor-turned-politician, would go on to win. President Reagan eventually became a Republican golden boy, known especially for his policy of lowering taxes for the rich in what would become known as “Reaganomics.” From that sign we know the Wheelers are the stereotypical rich, Republican family of the ’80s. Reagan was a somewhat divisive president, especially for families like the Byers, who as working class people did not fare well under Reagan’s policies. Reagan’s vice president, listed on the sign, was George H.W. Bush, whose presidency would close out the ’80s.
Reagan was also fervently anti-communist, having crusaded against communism during his time as head of the Screen Actors Guild. As President he would become a vocal anti-communist warrior, which has obvious ties to the show. In one of his top speeches, Reagan’s top implored Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin wall.
But Reagan definitely presented his battles against communism and his fiscal policy as being patriotic. And as Mr. Wheeler says while saluting federal agents when they’re at his house looking for Eleven, “We’re all patriots here” — even if as a patriot, his contributions to his country’s protection pales in comparison to the actions of his children and their friends.