- Term Papers and Free Essays

The Presidential Election Of 1980

Essay by   •  March 18, 2011  •  1,550 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,605 Views

Essay Preview: The Presidential Election Of 1980

Report this essay
Page 1 of 7

"The U.S. presidential election of 1980 featured a contest between incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter and his Republican opponent Ronald Reagan, along with a third party candidate, the liberal Republican John Anderson."(USPE1980, 1) By the beginning of the election season, the lengthy Iran hostage crisis sharpened public perceptions of a crisis. In the 1970s, the United States was experiencing a wrenching episode of low economic growth, high inflation and interest rates, intermittent energy crises. This added to a sense of discomfort that in both domestic and foreign affairs the nation was headed downward. With candidates and their reasons why they should be president, who would win the 1980 presidential election?

There were many problems in which Carter had been blamed for, especially the Iran hostage crisis which proved to be very humiliating. He failed to deal with any of these situations. Either as hesitant or ineffective is how many Americans viewed Carter. He also had attacked Reagan as a dangerous radical after he defeated Tom Kennedy for the nomination. For his part Reagan, the charismatic ex-Governor of California, repeatedly made fun of Carter's powerlessness , and won a landside victory that carried the United States Senate for the first time in 28 years. Reagan's victory marked the beginning of the "Reagan Revolution."

George Bush and Ronald Reagan went head to head for the Republican spot. It certainly paid off for Bush in January 1980 when he won the Iowa Republican straw poll. He only defeated Reagan by a small margin. It was looking as if Bush might actually beat Reagan to the nomination. The debate between Bush and Reagan was very upsetting yet disturbing. Bush refused to participate, which led to a problem on the stage. The problem on the stage was that As Reagan attempted to explain his decision, the editor of Nashua Telegraph ordered the sound man to mute Reagan's microphone. With Reagan being filled with rage he responds "I am paying for this microphone, Mr. Green."(R.V. ,169) After that unfair debate Reagan swept the South with their votes, and although he lost five more primaries to Bush, including one where he came in third behind John Anderson, the former governor had a lock on the nomination very early in the season. Reagan would always be grateful to the people of Iowa for giving him " the kick in the pants" he needed.(USPE1980, 4)

Reagan was a follower to a policy known as "supply side economics." Supply-side economists were critical of the economic policies of New Deal and Great Society. Many disagreed to take economic decisions away from the government and place them in the hands of individuals. Reagan promised an economic revival that would affect all sectors of the population. Even though cutting taxes and regulation would actually increase government income due to the economic expansion that would follow, it would also be necessary to target "big government."He had also promised a drastic cut in "big government", which he pledged would make a balanced budget for the first time since 1969.

After Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and John Anderson won their national convention. It was time to let the campaigning begin. Because of federal election laws, Anderson received 18.5 million while Carter and Reagan both received 29 million each Even though their campaigning was a success, Reagan and Carter were the only two to do campaigning on television. The campaign was largely negative, with many voters disliking Carter's handling of the economy, but also perceiving Reagan as an intellectual lightweight, possibly unable to handle the presidency and with questionable policies.(CNN, 3)

The election of 1980 was a key turning point in American politics. It signaled the new electoral power of the suburbs and the Sun Belt. Reagan's success as a conservative would initiate a group of parties, as liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats would either leave politics or change party affiliations through 1980's and 1990's to leave the parties much more in disbelief. After the 1980 election being marked down as one of history's best event.

The most important event of the entire 1980 presidential campaign was the second presidential debate, which was held on the Friday before the election. The entire race changed suddenly, and what was considered an extremely tight race with the President slightly ahead became a comfortable Republican victory, in just over the course of two hours.(RR vs. JC, 2)

On September 21st in Baltimore, Maryland the first debate had taken place. It was really a dud because the debate was with Reagan and Anderson. Many thought that Anderson would dispatch the former Governor. The first debate seemed meaningless and the ratings were low because Anderson was high as 20 percent in polls but then he had dropped to five. When September had turned into October, the situation had remained pretty much the same. Even though Reagan had demanded Anderson in and Carter demanded him out so it was like some big royal rumble about Anderson being in or out. So as the standoff continued, the second round was canceled, even the Vice Presidential debate as well.( USPE1980, 11) The presidential debate between President Carter and Governor Reagan received among the highest ratings of any TV show in the previous decade. The debate was moderated by Howard K. Smith. Many was discussed at the debate such as the Iran hostage crisis, nuclear arms treaties and proliferation, Carter's campaign sought to portray Reagan as a reckless " hawk." It came to no surprise when the



Download as:   txt (9 Kb)   pdf (110.4 Kb)   docx (12.2 Kb)  
Continue for 6 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2011, 03). The Presidential Election Of 1980. Retrieved 03, 2011, from

"The Presidential Election Of 1980" 03 2011. 2011. 03 2011 <>.

"The Presidential Election Of 1980.", 03 2011. Web. 03 2011. <>.

"The Presidential Election Of 1980." 03, 2011. Accessed 03, 2011.