The End of Ideology?

The End of Ideology?

Reagan’s reelection by a landslide fully conformed to the well-established precedent that incumbent presidents win new terms when relative peace abroad and prosperity at home prevail. Of 13 incumbents before him who ran for election in this century, only four were defeated. That two of the latter were Reagan’s immediate predecessors perhaps accounts for the spurious air of uncertainty created even by interpreters of American politics who should have known better. Carter in 1980 had faced a unique combination of inflation at home and humiliation abroad (the Iranian hostage crisis) that was enough to defeat him, even if this was not quite comparable to the challenge from a popular former president of his own party confronting Taft in 1912 or to the Great Depression that doomed Hoover in 1932. As for Gerald Ford, he was the only president who had never previously been elected even to the vice-presidency, a by-product of the scandals of the Nixon administration that also largely accounted for Ford’s defeat.

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Wurgraft | University of California Press Lima