Let’s take a look at the 1980 Presidential Election. The outmoded Electoral College often does not reflect the viewpoint of the people. Despite his overwhelming victory in electoral votes, Ronald Reagan in 1980 did not have the popularity that many Right Wingers claim. This is not old news but very relevant today. People like Newt Gingrich and Richard Viguerie want some statue, street, or building named after RR in every county in America. They hope, of course, to invoke Reagan’s legacy to further both their fiscal and social agenda. Democrats did this with both Woodrow Wilson and John Kennedy and they were just as wrong.
Here are the popular and electoral results of the 1980 Presidential Election.
Popular Vote-Reagan (R) 50.8%, Carter (D) 41.0%, Anderson (I) 6.1%, and Other 2.1% Total 100.0%
Electoral and State Vote-Reagan won 44 states and 489 electoral votes or 90.9% of the total electoral vote. Carter won six states and Washington DC for 49 electoral votes or 9.1% of the total. By the way, there are 538 electoral votes.
The six states that President Carter took were Rhode Island, West Virginia, Maryland, Georgia, Minnesota, Hawaii.
There were two Wild Cards.
(1) For several months prior to the election, officials of the Reagan campaign discussed with the Iranians an arms-for- hostage deal. No one in this country seemed to know where Vice Presidential Nominee George Bush was for about two weeks in August. Some diplomats says he was in France no doubt discussing anything that might help the campaign. About 10 days before the election, Ed Meese, Jim Baker, and Bill Casey finalized a deal at the L’Enfant Plaza hotel in DC with Iranian Diplomat Abar Hashemi Rafsanjani. This luxury place is on Independence Avenue about half way between the Jefferson Memorial and Capitol Hill. It is eerie and isolated at night. Very few people would recognize them.
The result-the Iranians were to hold the hostages until after the Presidential Election. If Reagan won, the United States would sell arms to Iran in exchange for the their release. Everything worked out as Ronald Reagan wanted. We all remember the freeing of the hostages during the Inauguration and we began selling arms to Iran within a few days. This, of course, violated the Arms Export and Control Act.
(2) The presence of an Independent, John Anderson on the ticket. Anderson took votes away from the incumbent President Jimmy Carter. More on this later.