The election of 1980

The election of 1980

The election of 1980 ensued plenty of turmoil nation wide. The problems ranged in a spectrum from political corruption, new philosophies, and an energy crisis and to top it all off, the United States had to stand through the Iran Hostage Crisis. In the election there were campaign promises, foreign policies, domestic affairs, and party platforms. Carter, from the Democrat party, Anderson, an independent party, and Reagan, from the Republican party, were the front runners for the election.

Prior to the election, many problems plagued the United States. Before Carter ran for his first term, Richard Nixon was in office. Nixon, who was a Republican, disgraced his party with the Watergate Scandal. Later that decade, America faced the Oil Crisis of 1973. During this crisis, OAPEC (Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries) declared an oil embargo. Towards 1980 a new political philosophy, Neoconservatism, emerged. The Iran Hostage Crisis, a diplomatic crisis between Iran and the United States, was where fifty three Americans were held hostage for four hundred and forty four days after a group of Islamic students and militants took over the American Embassy in support of the Iranian Revolution. While this crisis lasted into Reagan's presidency, it started during Carter's term.

Carter was the First candidate elected from the Deep South since the American Civil War. His presidency is best known for failing to bring home the hostages taken captive in Iran, The Energy Crisis, and his aid in establishing a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. Carter tried to stop the Arms Race with the SALT II agreement, the Islamic Revolution, the Nicaraguan Revolution, and the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. In 1979, Carter gave his "Malaise speech, in which he claimed that there was a crisis of confidence among the American people, this speech damaged his reelection hopes because it perceived a negative outlook and looked to the American people like he was blaming the people of America for his failed policies.

In 1937, Reagan began his "Hollywood Acting Career, it was in acting where he learned two things that would be essential in his political career. As an actor he had to be honest in what he was doing and he had to be in touch with his audience. Reagan went from being a "New Deal Liberal to a leader of the "Anti-Communist Force in Hollywood, to a Republican. He became the governor of Californian in 1966 and won the reelection in 1970. As a governor he funneled a large share of sate tax revenues back to local governments, cut the state welfare rolls, and placed limits on the number of state employees. He also attacked black militants and student protesters before running for president i the election of 1980.

Anderson ran as an Independent Candidate against Carter and Reagan. His political career did not start with the 1980 campaign. In 1956, Anderson was elected State's Attorney of Winnebago County, Illinois. Then in 1960 he was elected to Congress for a total of ten terms. He didn't stop there, and in 1969 he became Chairman of the House of Republican Conference. By 1970 John was considered one of the most articulate of the Rockefeller Republicans. Anderson dropped out of the primary as a Republican candidate and ran as an Independent after the Wisconsin primary when it was evident that Reagan would win the Republican nomination.

The party platforms for the Republicans included a cut in personal taxes, the belief that people should be free to make their own choices, and creation of a welfare system that would help the needy. Also, the veterans administration should give benefits to the veterans, private property needed to be protected, as well as improvements in highway, automobile, and driver safety. Individual's privacy was to be ensured, new jobs for Hispanics wee to be created, as well as new education advances for Hispanics and the less fortunate. Last but not least, Republicans wanted life for the handicapped to be improved, help America to better understand people with disabilities, and they strived for women's equality.

Democrat's party platforms asked for some similar things as the Republicans. These things included a welfare system, women's equality, and education for all. Their views also differed. Democratic candidates wanted economic fairness, adequate wages for workers, to eliminate waster and run the government more effectively. They wanted relief for small businesses, investigations into illegal prescription abuse, consumer education, low income energy assistance, and an end to age discrimination.

Though Independent John B. Anderson didn't have a chance in the election except for detracting votes from Carter, he still brought the Independent's party platforms with him. He supported the individual liberty of people, and reduction of the size of the government. He opposed government control of behavior unless fraud was involved and that people have the right to protect themselves. Along with all of that Anderson wanted to repeal the 16th amendment and the drug prohibition.

Campaign promises were another part of the campaign. While Reagan was fresh with new ideas Carter had to try and think of new promises that hadn't failed in his previous term. Carter was widely criticized for not having a grand plan and often looked down on Reagan's economic plan though he had none of his own. Carter did however support the Equal Rights Amendment and he vowed to keep up the fight for equal rights to all.

Reagan on the other hand promoted a restoration to military strength. He wanted to introduce and use a supply side economy that would boost the economy, and a balance to the budget. He wanted a tax reduction in the same three years that he had planned for a balance in budget. Reagan also promised to repeal the "Windfall Profit tax, a tax on the difference between the price control mandated price and the market prices. During a speech about his promises, he became famous for the quote, " A recession is when your neighbor loses his job, a depression is when you lose yours, and a recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his.

Carter's domestic policies were aimed to be a little like Woodrow Wilson's. He didn't want to lie to the American people and he wanted his leadership to help everyone and not just a small group. Carter urged Congress to pass the Emergency Natural Gas Act, an act that allowed the government to control interstate natural gas, as well as creating a department to regulate the use of energy known as the Department of Energy.

Reagan's domestic policies were short and sweet. He wanted to cut taxes for everyone and begin implementing his trickle- down theory. He was going to try and balance the budget or at least reduce the deficit that the country was in. He wanted to take the government and make it smaller. Last but not least, he wanted to reduce government spending.

Reagan's foreign policies became known as the Reagan Doctrine or Reaganomics. The doctrine offered financial assistance to any anti-communist opposition in Europe. He rose against socialists and communists in many countries. Reagan also planned to support "peace through strength. He planned to make Russia stop the cold war and arms race by keeping the United States one step ahead of Russia making Russia make themselves better and better eventually driving them bankrupt.

Carter also had hopes of improving the relation with the Soviets. He promoted an end to the Cold War, as well as the United States and the USSR's ability to reach an economic and arms agreement. Throughout the world, Carter wanted the United States to use military force as little as possible. However, he did want the country to take the lead role in promoting human rights and he also believed in self-determination for all. Peace in the Middle East was on top of Carter's list.

On November 4, 1980, Americans went to the polls to select their next president. The two most popular vote receivers were Ronald Reagan and his running mate George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter with his running mate Walter Mondale. Reagan and Bush won 489 electoral votes, carried 44 states excluding Washington D.C., Hawaii, Georgia, Minnesota, Maryland, Rhode Island, and West Virginia, they had a popular vote of 43,903,230 and 50.7 % of voters voted for them. Carter and Mondale carried the six states and D.C. that Reagan didn't have, he had 49 electoral votes, 35,480,115 popular votes, and 41% of the voters voted for them. John Anderson had no states, 5.5 million popular votes and 6.6% of the voters voted for him. The population of voters in 1980 was about 10,000 more than in 1976 and 10,000 less than 1984. However, the percent of people who voted for the president was .7% higher in 1976 and .5% higher in 1984 than it was in 1980.

Though there were many problems before the election, the voting turnout was around the same as surrounding elections. Anderson slowly faded as Carter and Reagan took the spotlight. Their views were criticized by many but accepted by numerous people as well. The backgrounds of the candidates were different but none of that mattered as voters went to the polls, cast their ballots, and elected Ronald Reagan as the 40th president of the United States.

Amanda Moyer

Bibliography

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