Reagan’s 1980 Landslide was a Shock at the Time
Back in 1980, running up to the election, just a couple of weeks prior to the election — throughout that campaign, by the way, Ronald Reagan in 1980, Jimmy Carter — and the country, in comparative terms, was exactly where it is now. It’s worse today than it was then, but back then people didn’t know that today was gonna — it was horrible. The misery index had been created to quantify how horrible it was. And Jimmy Carter was giving speeches like Obama does, the malaise of the country. Obama’s out telling the rest of the world that American workers are lazy and so forth, and Jimmy Carter was basically saying we were in a long national nightmare of malaise and so forth. It was utter despair. It was disaster.
Reagan’s negatives? He was a bumbling buffoon; he was dangerous; he was a cowboy; he was a bad actor; he was unproven; he was unstable. He was everything that they’re saying about every one of our candidates except Romney. Whatever they said about Reagan, they’re saying about Rick Perry, they’re saying about Bachmann, they’re saying about Newt. Reagan was outspent by Jimmy Carter. Carter had the media on his side just like Obama does. And up until the last couple of days in the 1980 campaign, pollsters had it close, a toss-up with Carter perhaps leading in a couple of ’em. And then, miraculously, the pollsters stopped reporting. A couple, three days before the election they started dwindling the reports of the polling numbers because the pollsters realized that they were gonna have to adjust here to avoid being mocked and made fun of.
Now, back then, you didn’t have 47% of households not paying income tax, and back then you didn’t have 44.2 million people on food stamps, and back then you didn’t have the foreclosures that you have today. It was bad for the times. It’s worse now than it was then in any comparative way that you want to look at. Much worse. And yet the cycle is repeating. Even though we get numbers here, like Obama’s approval numbers are below Carter’s. You tell me if I’m wrong. The assumption wherever you go — ABC, CBS, NBC, New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, USA Today, wherever you go, the assumption is Obama’s gonna be reelected and the assumption is that the Republican nominee, whoever it is, is an idiot, is a flawed character, something terribly wrong about every one of them. They’re intellectually deficient or they’re flip-floppers, or they are liars, or sexual harassers, or you name it.