Presidential Election 1980 | Ronald Reagan’s Election |

November 06, 2018

Ronald Reagan’s Victory in the Presidential Election of 1980

It is, once again, election season, as politicians from both sides of the aisle go head to head on the airwaves, the debate floor and, ultimately, in the voting booth. This has been a highly anticipated election season, with control of Congress at stake, and with results that are expected to set the tone and direction of the 2020 presidential election.

 The history-making nature of this season harkens back to the presidential election of 1980 when Ronald Reagan secured a victory and set the course of the country for decades to come. Reagan, the former governor of California, ran against Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter and Independent John B. Anderson. It was a hotly contentious race, one that highlighted the serious issues affecting the country at the time, such as inflation, high unemployment, the threat of Communism, and other ongoing international issues. Reagan focused his campaign in the months leading up to the presidential election 1980 on the country’s economic state, pledging to cut tax rates, create jobs, eliminate wasteful spending and increase government spending. While Carter ran a campaign focused on personal attacks against Reagan and decidedly pessimistic views on the state of the country, Reagan took the opposite approach, projecting an optimistic outlook about where the nation was headed.

Reagan’s strategy paid off, as he easily bested the other candidates, capturing nearly 44 million votes, 8 million more than Carter, as well as 489 electoral-college votes compared to Carter’s 49. Carter’s loss represented the worst defeat by an incumbent presidential candidate in more than 50 years and marked a turning point in Republican politics. Reagan wasn’t the only one who was ushered into power that night: Republicans picked up 12 Senate seats, as voters flocked to the polls to support Reagan. The Senate flipped to Republican control, the first time in nearly 30 years that Republicans took control of either Congressional chamber.

The presidential election of 1980 marked a significant turning point for the Republican Party, setting the stage for the Reagan Revolution—and decades of American politics since, leading right up to this month’s election.

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