Magazine October 19, 2020, Issue

The 1980 Presidential Election in Retrospect

Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan debate in Ohio in 1980. (Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images)
It was unusually important

What qualifies an election as “the most important election”? Even in the days when politics was considered by some to be a mundane and boring profession, there was never an unimportant presidential election. But let’s face it: Some are more important than others. Think about the elections that did matter, such as in 1800, between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These men agreed on nothing, especially the role and scope of the national government. It was so vicious, a supporter of Jefferson’s called Adams “a hideous hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the

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Craig ShirleyMr. Shirley is the author of four books on Reagan as well as December, 1941 and the newly released Mary Ball Washington: The Untold Story of George Washington’s Mother. He is the Visiting Reagan Scholar at Eureka College, a member of the board of governors of the Reagan Ranch, and a frequent lecturer at the Reagan Library.

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The Week

The Week

It turns out that the Democrats don’t fear that women will be put into red robes but that they will be put into black ones.

Most Popular

Elections

How Trump Could Have Reacted to the Election

It was predictable, and widely predicted, that Donald Trump would respond to an election loss, particularly one by as narrow a margin as this, with claims of fraud, efforts to delegitimize the outcome, and increasingly implausible attempts to find some lever to overturn it. Handling setbacks without grace or ... Read More
Elections

How Trump Could Have Reacted to the Election

It was predictable, and widely predicted, that Donald Trump would respond to an election loss, particularly one by as narrow a margin as this, with claims of fraud, efforts to delegitimize the outcome, and increasingly implausible attempts to find some lever to overturn it. Handling setbacks without grace or ... Read More
White House

A Justified Pardon

President Trump’s pardon of retired General Michael Flynn, who fleetingly served as his first national-security adviser, was a justified act of clemency. You don’t have to be a fan of how Trump has wielded his pardon power (often recklessly and on behalf of friends and supporters) or believe that Flynn was ... Read More
White House

A Justified Pardon

President Trump’s pardon of retired General Michael Flynn, who fleetingly served as his first national-security adviser, was a justified act of clemency. You don’t have to be a fan of how Trump has wielded his pardon power (often recklessly and on behalf of friends and supporters) or believe that Flynn was ... Read More