Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Could Ted Kennedy have won the 1980 Presidential election?

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
denem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 08:58 AM
Original message
Could Ted Kennedy have won the 1980 Presidential election?
Edited on Sat Aug-29-09 09:18 AM by denem
I have no idea. I wasn't around at the time, but re-reading through Kennedy's 1980 convention speech, I remain impressed with his strategy:

Jobs First: "Let us pledge that there will be security for all those who are now at work, and let us pledge that there will be jobs for all who are out of work; and we will not compromise on the issues of jobs."

Stop the Misery: "Let us pledge that we will never misuse unemployment, high interest rates, and human misery as false weapons against inflation."

(Kennedy, in truth could not promise lower interest rates, but certainly could argue that bigger deficits 'increase pressure' on interest rates, clawing back the fist full of dollars Reagan was offering. Volker surely obliged in 1982)

Smarter Government: "The demand of our people in 1980 is not for smaller government or bigger government but for better government... It is surely correct that we cannot solve problems by throwing money at them, but it is also correct that we dare not throw out our national problems onto a scrap heap of inattention and indifference."

Reconstruction: "To all those who doubt the future of our economy, let us provide new hope for the reindustrialization of America. And let our vision reach beyond the next election or the next year to a new generation of prosperity. If we could rebuild Germany and Japan after World War II, then surely we can reindustrialize our own nation and revive our inner cities in the 1980's

Fair Taxation: "And to all those overburdened by an unfair tax structure, let us provide new hope for real tax reform. Instead of shutting down classrooms, let us shut off tax shelters. Instead of cutting out school lunches, let us cut off tax subsidies for expensive business lunches that are nothing more than food stamps for the rich.

The tax cut of our Republican opponents takes the name of tax reform in vain. It is a wonderfully Republican idea that would redistribute income in the wrong direction. ... But the Republican tax cut is bad news for the middle income families. For the many of you, they plan a pittance of 200 dollars a year, and that is not what the Democratic Party means when we say tax reform."

Progress: "The great adventures which our opponents offer is a voyage into the past. Progress is our heritage, not theirs. We are the Party of the New Freedom, the New Deal, and the New Frontier. We have always been the Party of hope. So this year let us offer new hope, new hope to an America uncertain about the present, but unsurpassed in its potential for the future."

EMK's election strategy was to offer an alternative version of Reagan's 'Hope and Optimism'. Carter could say -'We won't make the same mistakes twice and we didn't make them once'.

Yes, I know this is 'what if' nonsense. EMK had little chance, if any, of a convincing victory in the primaries, and arguably damaged Carter's chances of re-election. But as Ted launched into his famous frontal assault on Reagan, more than a few of Carter's delegates, sullen and perplexed, seemed to be wondering if they had chosen the wrong man.

What do you think?

The 1980 Republican convention was awash with crocodile tears for our economic distress, but it is by their long record and not their recent words that you shall know them.

The same Republicans who are talking about the crisis of unemployment have nominated a man who once said, and I quote, "Unemployment insurance is a prepaid vacation plan for freeloaders." And that nominee is no friend of labor.

The same Republicans who are talking about the problems of the inner cities have nominated a man who said, and I quote, "I have included in my morning and evening prayers every day the prayer that the Federal Government not bail out New York." And that nominee is no friend of this city and our great urban centers across this nation.

The same Republicans who are talking about security for the elderly have nominated a man who said just four years ago that "Participation in social security should be made voluntary." And that nominee is no friend of the senior citizens of this nation

The same Republicans who are talking about preserving the environment have nominated a man who last year made the preposterous statement, and I quote, "Eighty percent of our air pollution comes from plants and trees." And that nominee is no friend of the environment.

And the same Republicans who are invoking Franklin Roosevelt have nominated a man who said in 1976, and these are his exact words, "Fascism was really the basis of the New Deal." And that nominee whose name is Ronald Reagan has no right to quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt.


http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/tedkennedy1980...
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
JeanGrey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 08:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. No. He could not have overcome Chappaquidick.
IMHO
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:01 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Or his honesty about Liberalism ,a form of Leprosy in the early 80's
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
denem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:03 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Did you read any of the OP?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
orpupilofnature57 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 10:06 AM
Response to Reply #3
12. Yes , especially the last Ronnie Quote that gave neo- nuts Grist for ..
unchecked Greed ,with only the 12% benefiting ,not a LIBERAL view.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
JeanGrey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #2
17. Yes, very true at that time. Good point.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Euromutt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #1
8. I concur
Still comparatively fresh back in 1980. Besides, when's the last time either party had an incumbent president seeking re-election and didn't nominate him?
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
JeanGrey Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:07 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. Also true. He picked a bad time to try.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
exboyfil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:12 AM
Response to Original message
4. What policy differences would he have had with Carter?
I have always seen the 1980 challenge as an exercise in hubris on Kennedy's part. He should have backed Carter to the hilt if he wanted to stop Reagan from getting elected.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
NewJeffCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:15 PM
Response to Reply #4
20. Carter was seen as too moderate & willing to compromise
Sort of the DLC of his day - which goes to show you how far right the Democratic Party has gone over the last 30 years.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
bluestateguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:14 AM
Response to Original message
5. I posted on this a couple days ago
Edited on Sat Aug-29-09 09:15 AM by bluestateguy
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...



Would Ted Kennedy have been a better candidate in '80 against Reagan?

I say yes, but I suspect he still would have lost. The country was in the middle of a major reaction against liberalism, and while Kennedy did not have Carter Administration baggage, he was still the symbol of liberalism.

But I think he would have suffered a "less bad" landslide. And I think the John Anderson candidacy would have been less damaging to Kennedy.


more
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Papa Boule Donating Member (363 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #5
15. "The country was in the middle of a major reaction against liberalism"
Bingo.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
LuvNewcastle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:16 AM
Response to Original message
6. I think Kennedy would've gotten a few more votes,
but I don't think he could've cut too deeply into Reagan's landslide. 1980 was such a bad year for Democrats. It just wasn't in the cards for Teddy to be President -- the time was just never right for him. Fortunately for us, he realized this after 1980 and strove to become the best Senator he could be.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
PATRICK Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
7. In hindsight
Yes he would have won the election, separate from the Carter baggage. In different times with different people a similar thing like Bradley instead of Gore would not have been better because he simply did not have the political force Kennedy had.

The problem was always the primary and the party beating itself with the conservative Dems locked in a political stupid power struggle against their liberal party base. In the state based primary system it is hard for a challenger to beat an incumbent and moreso if the conservative base is solid as it would be against a Kennedy or Cuomo. The main destruction in any event would always be against the split conservatives who share a disgruntled base and lose the middle to GOP real RW "change". The liberals would split as well, ensuring the incumbent's future problems in the general election. So was doing something with a tempting challenge worse than doing nothing and trying to unite behind Carter? Cuomo tried doing nothing and nothing happened.

He would have quashed Regan in the debates and removed a lot of the machinations against the current administration. All Chappaquiddick all the time would be sensational but a poor substitute for the advantages they had over Carter, all MSM opposition being equally against Dems but actually less against a Kennedy- at that time.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
saltpoint Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
9. The River Stupid was rising fast and about to overflow its banks
in 1980, and Reagan sailed it to a big win.

U.S. voters have not always chosen wisely.

For reasons that are still relatively unclear and mystifying, they almost picked Richard Nixon in 1960, a paranoid, cadaverous monster over John F. Kennedy. It is unsettling that that was a close election, IMO.

By landslide margins they also election the same cadaverous monster over George McGovern in 1972 and the brain-dead Ronald Reagan over Jimmy Carter in 1980, and I use 'brain-dead' because I believe Reagan was imbecilic long before the Alzheimer's diagnosis.

And Poppy over Dukakis and on into more recent elections in which, up until 2008, thieves and numbskulls in the GOP were preferred over intelligent, decent, and dedicated men like Al Gore and John Kerry. The Pukes had to cheat to beat both of them but in both elections, U.S. voters were far too swayed by Bush et al.

When the River Stupid reaches flood stage, not even Ted Kennedy can stop the water. I think he would have marshalled resources more effectively than Carter, although even with a notable chunk of Reagan's totals across demographics, I'm not sure it would have been enough. Stupidity is a dumb, blind, unswerving force, one that strongly favors the GOP. In the same election extraordinarily decent people like Sen. Birch Bayh were swept from office, in Bayh's case because stupid voters in Indiana thought Dan Quayle would make a superior U.S. Senator.

The triumph of Barack Obama, then, is no small thing. Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Barack Obama is also no small thing.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Kahuna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:36 AM
Response to Original message
10. Not a chance. Chappaquidick ruined any chance of that ever happening..
Sadly.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
cayanne Donating Member (682 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:12 PM
Response to Reply #10
19. I agree
IMO, his true sentence was forever being denied POTUS.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Kat45 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:18 PM
Response to Reply #19
24. I also agree.
Sad, but true.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:46 AM
Response to Original message
11. No his campaign was a disaster - his interview killed his chances
when he was asked why he wanted to be President and he couldn't answer.. same thing that happened to Caroline when she was asked why she wanted to be Senator in NY. If you don't have a clear short answer to the question of why you want the job, you're not gonna get it. Jack Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Carter, Clinton and Obama all had very clear answers to that question when asked.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
roamer65 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 10:12 AM
Response to Original message
13. No, unfortuately the country was trending rightward in 1980.
No Democratic candidate would have won the 1980 election, espeicially with the backchannel Republican treason regarding the hostages.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Laelth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 10:14 AM
Response to Original message
14. No. But I think he would have done better than Carter. n/t
:dem:

-Laelth
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Still Sensible Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 10:45 AM
Response to Original message
16. I believe he would have run and won
in 1976 were it not for Chappaquiddick. Jimmy Carter was so weakened politically in 1980 that he was indeed beatable and another candidate without that baggage would have very possibly done it. Ted without that blight would probably have done it by some clear margin and, while it would have been an unprecedented event in the party--denying the nomination to a sitting president with the certain painful divides that would have come with it--I think there is a very good chance that we would never have had the Reagan years. Unfortunately, there wasn't another potential democratic candidate with anywhere near Ted's passion or stature... and that is what it would have taken to withstand the Reagan movement.

I love Jimmy Carter. I believe he is one of the finest, most honest men to ever hold the office. But his political failures, and a combination of events, left a climate ripe for change. Jimmy was not going to be reelected. Ted was the only democrat with a chance to take the nomination and win in 1980--I'm sure he knew that and that is why he tried.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DaveinMD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:17 PM
Response to Original message
21. Reagan
was likely winning that election no matter what. But what a wonderful debate it would have been. I really don't understand how any Democrat voted for Carter over Kennedy in that primary.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
david13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:17 PM
Response to Original message
22. Dude, no way in hell. Celebrity always trumps Politician. Doesn't matter
which side of the aisle it comes from.
If Arnold ran against Hillary, we would want Hillary to win, and she is more qualified, but Arnold would win.
Hands down.
dc
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
JonQ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-29-09 09:18 PM
Response to Original message
23. Chappaquiddick
For some reason people thought that whole incident reflected negatively on his character.
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Wed Oct 22nd 2014, 02:08 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC