Reagan victory – A new American political mood

By Yarema Kelebay and William Brooks

This article was written in the wake of the 1980 presidential election in the United States. It was published by the News and Chronicle, Montreal, Thursday, November 13, 1980.

Ronald Reagan’s victory represents nothing less than the emergence of a new political disposition in America. Dazed pundits have wasted no time in coming up with a variety of poor excuses for President Carter’s defeat.

Among these are inflation, the hostage crisis, taxation, government regulation, quotas and affirmative action, defense, education, the ERA, Salt II, the intrusion of the “moral majority,” brother Billy, the “Anderson difference” and so on. One journalist even suggested it was the charming way Reagan said to the President: “There you go again” during the televised debate. Montreal’s ever-incisive press explained that it was a result of a “strong streak of nostalgia” in America.

This frenzied search for a single cause or even a combination of causes to explain the election results generally leads nowhere. In most cases it reduces the analysis either to a form of political gossip or betrays a conscience intention to demean and reduce the stature of Reagan’s victory.

No single issue buried Carter. No single event gave Reagan victory. Reagan succeeded as a result of a new “climate of opinion” in the United States.

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