The great Reagan era (or not)

Reagan, a good or bad president

  • One of the greatest presidents

    Votes: 30 20.7%
  • A good president

    Votes: 35 24.1%
  • Neither

    Votes: 22 15.2%
  • A pretty bad president, but not horrible

    Votes: 22 15.2%
  • A greedy, evil man who was a horrible president

    Votes: 36 24.8%

  • Total voters
    145

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,282
here
Putting the specifics of Reagan's presidency aside for a moment, is being reelected indicative of anything?

Bad apples get through sometimes. But it doesn't seem like they are picked twice.... (rarely, anyway)

..... if that makes sense?

And I'm not just applying this logic to Reagan.
 
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May 2012
847
Puerto Rico
Putting the specifics of Reagan's presidency aside for a moment, is being reelected indicative of anything?

Bad apples get through sometimes. But it doesn't seem like they are picked twice.... (rarely, anyway)

..... if that makes sense?

And I'm not just applying this logic to Reagan.
In the case of Reagan, he has the interesting case of having clearly dominated both the popular and electoral vote in 1984, although the electoral vote much more.

1984 Presidential Election

For that election, turnout out of those in the voting age population was, according to the link below, 53.27%.

Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections

One can thus conclude that many people didn't really want to vote for either Reagan or Mondale. Having said this, it is still curious that Reagan managed to dominate Mondale as he did.

People who have looked more into the circumstances of that Presidential Election can prob say more than me about the causes of Reagan's re-election.

However, I'm pretty sure that stagflation had ended by 1984. If that's correct, it should have significantly helped Reagan's re-election.
 
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Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,109
VA
Putting the specifics of Reagan's presidency aside for a moment, is being reelected indicative of anything?

Bad apples get through sometimes. But it doesn't seem like they are picked twice.... (rarely, anyway)

..... if that makes sense?

And I'm not just applying this logic to Reagan.
Presidents, particularly in the last century or so, get reelected far more often than not. I'm not sure that tells us anything.

Would anyone really suggest Nixon's landslide over McGovern is evidence that Nixon wasn't a bad apple?
 
Jun 2017
2,971
Connecticut
Putting the specifics of Reagan's presidency aside for a moment, is being reelected indicative of anything?

Bad apples get through sometimes. But it doesn't seem like they are picked twice.... (rarely, anyway)

..... if that makes sense?

And I'm not just applying this logic to Reagan.
No.

First of all no one on either side of this debate will deny Reagan was an excellent politician which is the main factor in being elected. Second of all since when is popularity by itself evidence if someone was good or not? The majority's decision is not always the right one. Third, Reagan(and any other dominant American politician except maybe FDR where he had the Republicans below 20 senators out of a 100) 's victory's are made bigger than they seem by the electoral system. Reagan won a majority in 49 of the 50 states but more than 4 out of 10 people still supported Walter Mondale. Furthermore, the race was pretty close until the debates where Reagan's witty one liners carried the day. In 1980, Carter's reelection was seen as very likely going into the stretch. Of course this is forgotten and all that matters is the final outcome in terms of who's elected but Jimmy Cater was very unlucky to not be elected President and Walter Mondale had a chance a few months before the race. In 1988 same thing happened, Dukakis was winning in the polls and a few PR mistakes/effective Bush ads and Bush ended up winning 40 states.

American elections are by the nature of the large swaths of people locked in to vote for either party, close. Getting above 50% is thus no easy feat and getting near 60%(like Reagan did) is a landslide despite the fact that a good chunk of the country still went the other way. That was also in an era where parties weren't entirely based on ideology and both liberal and conservative wings meant their was a larger amount of voters who were in play for both sides that made getting to 55%+ a realistic goal for both parties. In recent decades since parties have become all ideology based, President Obama's 2008 victory is the biggest landslide since 1988 and he didn't even get to 53%. From 1932 to 1988 only four election victors didn't surpass that number and 3 of them were races with unusually strong third party candidates with the fourth being the nail biter in 1976. So that election looks much more impressive over today's landscape than it did in the past.

If we're playing by that game should FDR's and LBJ's landslides(both of which broke the rare 60% threshold Reagan couldn't)be proof their policies were positive? I think their policies were very positive when we look at the facts but the fact the policies polled well isn't evidence by itself because it says nothing on the merits of the policies only of the abilties of the salesman and even this is limited as I've explained above.
 

Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,282
here
Presidents, particularly in the last century or so, get reelected far more often than not. I'm not sure that tells us anything.

Would anyone really suggest Nixon's landslide over McGovern is evidence that Nixon wasn't a bad apple?
Are you condemning Nixon based on Watergate alone?

I admit, my knowledge of him and his time in office is paltry. But I'm really unaware of any major blemishes on his record, besides Watergate.
 
Jun 2017
2,971
Connecticut
Are you condemning Nixon based on Watergate alone?

I admit, my knowledge of him and his time in office is paltry. But I'm really unaware of any major blemishes on his record, besides Watergate.
This is a good point. I know we aren't supposed to get modern political on here but I'd advise Democrats and Republicans to compare Nixon to our previous Democratic President. I'm not asking you to agree, just separate Nixon from Watergate and our recent President from your love and/or hatred. Take out the scandals and shame of Watergate and their resume's are nearly identical, it's quite uncanny. Both sides could and should learn something from that about how our country's changed.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Both sides could and should learn something from that about how our country's changed.
At the risk of upsetting some, I will give my opinion on this subject. Really the chasm between the two ideologies started during the Reagan era - at least in the modern period of U.S. history. Prior to that politics did not seem so antithetical. Nearly 40 years after Reagan's election there are people with a great aversion to him. I don't mean that in a judgmental manner, just factual. What has transpired since, we aren't permitted to discuss on this forum. I will simply state that it has snowballed since, even more so. As for Nixon, his record was rather good at the time of his second election. I have said this before, I wonder how something like Watergate would play out today. I would venture to say the American people were much more innocent and wide eyed back then and more cynical, with lower expectations today.
 

Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,109
VA
Are you condemning Nixon based on Watergate alone?

I admit, my knowledge of him and his time in office is paltry. But I'm really unaware of any major blemishes on his record, besides Watergate.
Committing treason to win the election and his pointless continuation of the Vietnam War costing over 20,000 more American lives (and far more Vietnamese) to no end springs to mind. Nor is Watergate even close to the only example of Nixon abusing his power. His administration was also the origin point of the inflation that wracked America in the 70s, and the beginning of the war on drugs (which Nixon advisors have admitted was a war on black Americans by design.)

I find the lengths some modern revisionists go to in praising Nixon absolutely bizarre; he had plenty of legitimate accomplishments and was an intelligent man, but also an incredibly flawed one, who used some truly despicable means to achieve some good ends but also some genuinely bad ones.
 
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Menshevik

Ad Honorem
Dec 2012
9,282
here
Committing treason to win the election and his pointless continuation of the Vietnam War costing over 20,000 more American lives (and far more Vietnamese) to no end springs to mind. Nor is Watergate even close to the only example of Nixon abusing his power. His administration was also the origin point of the inflation that wracked America in the 70s, and the beginning of the war on drugs (which Nixon advisors have admitted was a war on black Americans by design.)

I find the lengths some modern revisionists go to in praising Nixon absolutely bizarre; he had plenty of legitimate accomplishments and was an intelligent man, but also an incredibly flawed one, who used some truly despicable means to achieve some good ends but also some genuinely bad ones.
Not to nitpick, but while Nixon may have coined the term "war on drugs," I don't think it started with him.
 

Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,109
VA
Not to nitpick, but while Nixon may have coined the term "war on drugs," I don't think it started with him.
It... Pretty literally did. That's when it became a major federal effort. There's occasional antecedents, true, but Nixon laid the major groundwork for the modern war on drugs, which, to keep on topic, the Reagan admin doubled down on.

A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

Thirty Years Of America's Drug War | Drug Wars | FRONTLINE | PBS