Chapter 43 - Chapter 43 ~ The Resurgence of Conservatism ~...

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Chapter 43 ~ The Resurgence of Conservatism ~ 1980 – 1996 I. The Triumph of Conservatism i. President Jimmy Carter’s administration seemed to be befuddled and bungling, since it could not control the rampant double-digit inflation or handle foreign affairs, and he would not remove regulatory controls from major industries such as airlines. 1. Late in 1979, Edward (Ted) Kennedy declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for 1980. But, he was hurt by his suspicious Chappaquiddick 1969 driving accident in when a young female passenger drowned and he delayed reporting the incident. ii. As the Democrats dueled it out, the Republicans chose conservative former actor Ronald Reagan, signaling the return of conservatism, since the average American was older than during the stormy sixties and was more likely to favor the right (conservatives). 1. New groups that spearheaded the “new right” movement included Moral Majority and other conservative Christian groups. iii. Race was a burning issue, and in the 1974 Milliken v. Bradley case, the Supreme Court ruled that desegregation plans could not require students to move across school-district lines. 1. This reinforced the “white flight” to the suburbs that pitted the poorest whites and blacks against each other, often with explosively violent results. iv. Affirmative action, where minorities were given preference in jobs or school admittance, was another burning issue, but some whites used this to argue “reverse discrimination.” 1. In the Bakke case of 1978, the Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 that Allan Bakke (a white applicant claiming reverse discrimination) should be admitted to U.C.—Davis med school. The decision was ambiguous saying (1) admission preference based on any race was not allowed, but conversely that (2) race could be factored into the admission policy. v. The Supreme Court’s only black justice, Thurgood Marshall, warned that the denial of racial preferences might sweep away the progress gained by the civil rights movement. II. The Election of Ronald Reagan, 1980 i. Ronald Reagan was a man whose values had been formed before the turbulent sixties, and Reagan adopted a stance that depicted “big government” as bad, federal intervention in local affairs as condemnable, and favoritism for minorities as negative. 1. He drew on the ideas of a group called the “neoconservatives,” a group that included Norman Podhortz, editor of Commentary magazine, and Irving Kristol, editor of Public Interest, two men who championed free-market capitalism. ii. Reagan had grown up in an impoverished family, become a B-movie actor in Hollywood in the 1940s, became president of the Screen Actors Guild, purged suspected “reds” in the McCarthy era, acted as spokesperson for General Electric, and become Californian governor. iii. Reagan’s photogenic personality and good looks on televised debates, as well as his attacks on President Carter’s
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Chapter 43 - Chapter 43 ~ The Resurgence of Conservatism ~...

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