Analiese Gerald

Reagan is Elected

Election of 1980

  • Republican Reagan vs. Democratic Carter (former president) vs. Anderson (Independent party)

  • Reagan ran conservative, with a "populist political philosophy, and focused on the middle class and supporting the individual

  • Reagan was a "neoconservative" who believed in free market capitalism, not restricted by the government, and a harsh anti-Soviet policy

  • Carter was largely disliked even by his own party

  • Reagan won easily with 498 electoral votes and 50% of the popular vote as to Carter's 49 electoral votes and 41% of popular votes

Election of 1984

  • Republican Reagan vs. Democratic Mondale (VP to Carter)

  • Mondale's VP was female Geraldine Ferraro, making history

  • Mondale was tainted with his association to Carter while Reagan was generally loved with his good looks and charming personality

  • Reagan won by a landslide with 529 electoral votes to Mondale's few 13 and with around 16 million more popular votes

National Budget

  • Reagan set out to reverse New Deal and Great Society policies and wanted to lower taxes and save money by cutting spending on social programs

  • met surprising success in cutting the budget and reversing the political evolution that had been happening for half a century

  • first congress allowed Reagan's budget proposals ($695 billion in expenditures and deficit of $38 billion) then passed his tax cut bill (cutting taxes up to 25% over a period of 3 years)

  • "supply side economics"- belief that strict budgeting and tax reductions would create economic growth by stimulating investment and productivity while reducing the federal deficit

  • Reagan recession occurred in the 80's while he waited for his supply side economics to work

  • income gap grew wider creating "yuppies"- young, urban, and wealthy professionals who made a habit of spending money carelessly

  • Reagan put a large and questionably beneficial amount of money to U.S. defense

Cold War

  • Reagan's strategy to deal with USSR- build up army and nuclear weaponry enormously and then negotiate with Soviets to end war when they were in no position to go against the new and more powerful U.S.

  • Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI)- known as "Star Wars" was a plan to create laser beams kept in space that could shoot down any nuclear missiles; was received poorly by congress, experts, and scientists alike

  • relations worsened when the Soviet had a hand in the creation of a massive union called "Solidarity" in Poland and America applied economic sanctions to both countries

  • even worse was when the Soviets attacked a Korean passenger airline killing some Americans

Iran-Contra Imbroglio

  • Reagan was called the "Teflon president" because nothing hurtful stuck to him

  • 2 main problems: chaos in Lebanon with American hostages being held by Muslim extremist AND left wing Scandinista government in Nicaragua fighting against the pro-American "contra" rebels

  • Reagan pushed for military aid in both these places and congress refused

  • 1985- American diplomats secretly bargained with Iranians, offering weapons in return for the hostages; money was also being secretly given to the contra rebels in Nicaragua

  • when news of these scandals came out, Reagan claimed he was innocent and unaware of this going on; nevertheless it put a big damper on his reputation

Economic Legacy

  • Supply side economics were meant to increase government revenue by stimulating the economy with lower taxes and less money spent on social programs

  • the opposite happened; $200 billion in annual deficits, a huge revenue hole, and Reagan actually added $2 trillion dollars to the national debt

  • Reagan's economic failure forced congress to pass legislation in 1986 requiring a balanced budget by 1991 but the evening out the governments expenditures and income was not so easily done

  • income gap and the decline of the middle class also happened during his time

  • Reagan's economic failure actually meant political success as he was able to repel social programs and retain the welfare state