Reagan ran a campaign of upbeat optimism together with implications of a more

Reagan ran a campaign of upbeat optimism together

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Reagan ran a campaign of upbeat optimism, together with implications of a more militarily aggressive foreign policy. This contrasted with the "malaise"- ridden attitude of the late Carter administration and its apparent impotence in the face of the Iran hostage crisis. Towards the end of the campaign, as Carter's poll numbers continued to slip and Reagan's rose, Carter responded with more militaristic rhetoric and announced plans to reinstitute the military draft; this succeeded only in alienating some of Carter's supporters. With inflation and interest rates at record highs, and unemployment stubbornly high, Carter had few boasts to make about the economy. He had a pro- feminist record, but the management of many women's groups attacked him for not doing even more. On foreign policy the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan spelled the end of detente and the renewal of the Cold War. Carter moved to the right, but Reagan was already there. Reagan promised a restoration of the nation's military strength. Reagan also promised an end to "'trust me' government" and to restore economic health by implementing a supply-side economic policy. Reagan promised a balanced budget within three years (which he said would be "the beginning of the end of inflation"), accompanied by a 30% reduction in taxes over those same years. With respect to the economy, Reagan famously said, "A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. And recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his." In August, after the Republican National Convention, Ronald Reagan gave a campaign speech at an annual county fair on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Mississippi, which civil rights leaders said was an insensitive reminder of the Mississippi civil rights worker murders of 1964. Reagan announced, "I believe in states' rights." He also said, "I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal
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establishment." He went on to promise to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them." [1] Critics claimed that the speech signaled Reagan's opposition to the civil rights reforms of the 1960s. However, Reagan supporters would argue that the speech was simply a statement of Reagan's conservative political ideals. As in most elections fought against an incumbent, the voters already had a clear impression of Carter, which was largely negative by this time, and both sides spent most of their effort trying to define Reagan, the challenger. The campaign was largely negative, with many voters disliking Carter but also perceiving Reagan as an intellectual lightweight, possibly unable to handle the presidency and with various questionable policies. The election of 1980 was a key turning point in American politics. It signaled the new electoral power of the suburbs and the Sun Belt. Reagan's success as a conservative would initiate a realigning of the parties, as liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats would either leave politics or
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