Presentation on theme: "Presidential Election 1980 Jimmy Carter versus Ronald Reagan."— Presentation transcript:
Presidential Election 1980 Jimmy Carter versus Ronald Reagan
Realigning Election Reagan’s success as a conservative and strong belief in decreasing governmental reliance encouraged liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats to either drop out of politics or change party allegiance throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
Economy was bad in 1980 Steep hike in OPEC oil prices pushed fuel costs up and propelled inflation to its highest levels since the end of World War II The Carter administration assumed a tight-money policy to reduce spending in an effort to combat inflation. Result was the worst of all economic worlds real growth slowed, inflation soared to double-digit levels, and budget deficits climbed to peacetime records
Nomination Process Carter announced his candidacy in 1974, which was very early by standards of the day. Importantly, Senator Edward Kennedy challenged Carter for nomination days after the Iran Hostage Crisis and almost won with Carter’s low ratings in the polls, however the crisis had the effect of the American public rallying around the president. This circumstance in addition to a slight uptick in the first quarter of the fiscal year thwarted Kennedy’s efforts
Ted Kennedy Challenges Jimmy Carter Carter defeated Ted Kennedy for the Democratic nomination winning 24 out of 35 primaries and entering the Democratic convention in New York with 60 percent of the delegates pledged to him on the first ballot. (Wikipedia). Kennedy tried to get the Democratic convention to repeal the system of pledged delegates, for in his estimation if delegates could vote freely, they would certainly not vote for Carter. After this bid to change the rules, Carter was re-nominated with 2,129 votes to Kennedy’s 1,146 (Wikipedia). Part of Carter’s platform was a warning against Reagan’s conservatism as a threat to peace and social welfare programming from the New Deal to Johnson’s Great Society.
Nomination Process Continued On the Republican side, in addition to Reagan, six Republicans ran in the nomination process in 1980: Senate minority leader Howard Baker of Tennessee, former Texas governor John Connally, Senator Robert Dole of Kansas, Representative Phillip Crane of Illinois, former CIA director George H.W. Bush, and Representative John Anderson of Illinois. Early in the primary, Reagan lost the Iowa caucuses to Bush, after which some questioned Reagan’s ability to deliver on campaign promises to lower taxes, increase defense funding, and balance the federal budget. However, Reagan bounced back, and Bush’s win in Iowa only served to strengthen Reagan’s morale. Reagan won 29 out of 33 primaries in which he competed with George Bush. At the Republican national convention in Detroit, Michigan, Reagan then reached out to the moderate wing of the party by choosing Bush as his vice presidential running mate. A Gallup poll run after the primaries held that Reagan was favored and 58% of people were upset with Carter’s handling of the economy.
Third Party John Anderson moderate Republican platform, which provided an alternative to Reagan extreme conservatism Carter's strategists worried that he would win the votes of disaffected Democrats, especially in populous Northeastern states Reagan worried that Anderson would win over moderate Republicans and independents to make things competitive in Republican-leaning states
Pre-election Polls After the Republican National Convention in July of 1980, Regain had a decisive lead over Carter in the polls By mid-October, Carter was no longer trailing so far behind his competitor, though Reagan managed to retain a small lead in the polls
Domestic and International Policy Platforms of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan Reagan and Carter differed on domestic and international policy. Reagan’s conservative platform was anti-government, but included selected elements of Kennedy-Johnson legacy: free trade, aggressive anticommunism, and deficit spending. Reagan’s platform emphasized strong defense and a stronger stance towards the Soviet Union. He opposed SALT II, Carter’s arms treaty with Moscow. Carter admitted his foreign policy stance was moderate and warned that with Reagan as president the United States was more likely to become involved in war. Carter supported environmental regulations and protection of abortion rights, whereas Reagan opposed abortion and claimed environmental regulations were putting a damper on the economy. Reagan claimed the country was in recession and Carter claimed the country was rebounding economically as signaled by recent growth in the housing market and business loans.
Candidates’ Temperments The candidates had very different temperaments, and perhaps this quality played to Reagan’s advantage and Carter’s disadvantage: Regan was temperamentally optimistic whereas Carter was defensive even stopping White House press conferences because he did not like the intrusive nature of their interviews
Debate Notice the singular form The League of Women Voters had sponsored three presidential and one vice presidential debates in 1976 and had agreed to do so again; however, Carter pushed back and refused to participate. When it was said John Anderson might come on the debate, Carter refused to participate, and Reagan said he would not consider a debate without him.
Debate Continued: Critical Moment Finally, the event was put together and held at the Baltimore Convention Center. Carter tried to point out Reagan’s opposition to Medicare in order to portray him as excessively conservative, but Reagan shrugged off this statement and surveyed the audience on Carter’s first term—most did not want a repeat of the last four years. It is said that as an incumbent, Carter’s showing was the worst of any incumbent since Herbert Hover.
Results Frustrations with Carter for the poor state of the economy and Regan’s powerful performance in the last debate helped many undecided American voters lean Republican. Reagan did well among Catholic voters and made inroads among working-class Democrats and union families. He also did well in the South, which was Carter's base. And the country as a whole was in the mood for change. The Republicans picked up thirty-five seats in the House of Representatives and twelve in the Senate, giving them a majority for the first time in the Senate since 1954. A Gallup Poll showed Carter receiving most support from evangelical Christians.
Reagan’s Decisive Victory Reagan won a decisive victory over Jimmy Carter who acquired only six states plus the District, receiving 489 electoral votes to Carter’s 49 and 43,901,812 in the popular vote as compared to Carter’s 35,483,820. The 1980 election was the first election since 1952 Republicans gained control of the senate. The Democratic Party controlled the White House, however Reagan, aided by the Iran Hostage Crisis and a worsening economy at home, won the election in a landslide, receiving the highest number of electoral votes, but not percentage, ever won by a non- incumbent presidential candidate