The USA Presidents (1968-2001)

why each president won and lost between the years 1968 and 2001

  • Created by: Suheyla
  • Created on: 02-05-12 03:33

Why Did Nixon Won The 1968 Election?

  • He was representing the "Middle America, the "silent Majority" of socially conservative Americans who disliked the hippie counterculture and anti-war demonstrations: he was a harbinger of a more conservative period in American social and political life.
  • People were fed up with moral permissiveness, judicial activism, forced integration and massive welfare spending
  • He had targeted winning the "Solid South" (Democratic Heartland) with the need for ideological flexibility
  • His policies were:
    • "Peace with honour" in Vietnam
    • "New Federalism" - shift to state responsibility
    • Trim back on JFK's New Frontier to stop spending billions of dollars into failed programs
    • Improve bureaucratic efficiency
    • Bring the economy under control
    • Win back the South
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Why Did Nixon Won The 1972 Election As Well?

  • Nixon attacked the Democratic position on Vietnam and gained sympathy from conservatives in the face of the anti-war protests
  • Nixon claimed that peace was nearing due to his policies. Nixon was popular, with Vietnaminisation, detente with USSR and China.
  • McGovern campaigned on anti-war premise, but was an "outsider", had to fire his vice-president, since he fallen into Nixon's dirty tricks.
  • McGovern’s own party doubted his credentials, especially his policies about amnesty, abortion and legalisation of pot
  • McGovern’s running mate stepped down because after admitting to electro-shock therapy v. depression.
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What Was Watergate?

  • A burglary that took place at the Democratic HQ Washington DC during the 1972 Presidential Campaign (28 May and 17 June)

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Why Did Watergate Take Place?

  • Nixon’s personality: an inferiority complex and paranoia due to a distorted childhood?
  • 1972 - 200th anniversary of Declaration of Independence; he had a burning desire for a second term and a place in history.
  • Also by placing the tapes and listening to his opponents’ weakness will ensure he would have won the election.
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Watergate (part 1)

  • This incident had damaged his and previous Presidents credibility and he therefore sought to avoid another potential press-related fiasco.
  • The CIA trap theory - CIA disliked increasing control from the White House (burglary led by ex-CIA James McCord)
  • It was the work of Nixon's Subordinates CREEP (Committee to Re-Elect the President) had links to the H.R. Halderman and John Ehlicham not to Nixon.
  • The break-in at the Watergate building -5 men working for the Creeps was caught trying to bug the office. Initial Nixon denials of any involvement were successful as he wanted to get re-elected.
  • He attempted to bribe the burglars with up to $1 million. He also blocked any police and congressional involvement.
  • When the Watergate was found out Nixon denied any knowledge of the affair in the White House and obstructed the investigation using executive privileges. 
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Watergate (Part 2)

  • Nixon lied- Having been called to the Congressional hearing, Nixon on TV, appealed to the American public over his innocence either linked to the burglary or a cover up.
  • The Watergate tapes had proved that Nixon lied and used his presidential power to stop people from hearing the tape.
  • When Supreme Court ordered the tapes to be handed over they were edited which made Nixon put even more suspicion.
  • This action made everyone thought that Nixon thought he was above the law.
  • The power of the media- Americans were angry that they had been lied to, particular on TV. When the tapes were played out in TV/Radio it added to growing perception of the power of the media.
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Impact Of The Watergate Scandal

  • Increased Congressional influence on the Executive and its agencies (accountability) particularly re. fiancé, freedom of information and transparency.
  • 1971 Federal Election Campaign Act: Limits on fundraising
  • 1974 Legislation to limit individual contributions $5000
  • 1974 Private Act
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Why Did Ford Lose The 1976 Election?

  • He pardoned Nixon
  • He was seen as nice guy but a person who wasn’t up for the presidency.
  • He didn’t have enough support from the Democrat Congress.
  • He didn’t want to be a President in the first place.
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Why Did Carter Won The 1976 Election?

  • For-47.9%, Carter-49.9% = broadly divided along class lines, with the well educated and affiliating supporting Ford, while the socially and economically disadvantaged supporting Carter.
  • Ultimately the Black vote was the crucial vote with 92% backing up Carter.
  • Carter reclaimed the South where Blacks voted for him because he was a Democrat and Whites voted for him because he was one of their own.
  • His populist media savvy approach particular in campaigning gained him ground against both his Democratic competitors and Ford.
  • Carter was seen as refreshing, a symbol of candour, integrity and a return to government by people.
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Carters Policies

  • Carter didn’t have clear policies about what he was going to do; he was interesting in public health care and reducing inflation and taxes.

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Why Did Carter Lose in1980 Election?

  • The Billy gate.
  • Rising in inflation.
  • The Iran crisis.
  • The energy crisis.
  • the prices for food, fuel and mortgages were too high.
  • USSR invaded Afghanistan.
  • Boycotted the Moscow Olympics.
  • Was seen as inept dealing with crises at home and abroad.
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Why did Reagan Win in 1980

  • Carter lacked experience, clear policy and optimism.
  • Reagan was a charismatic political campaigner.
  • He offered an end to economic hardship (Reaganomics, "supply slide") but also posed the backing of the increasingly influential religious fundamentalist, as well as support from women sick of feminism.
  • Reagan promised to reduce taxation by 30%in 3 years and balance the budget at the same time.
  • He also advocated cuts in "big government" and to balance the budget.
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Reagan On His First Year

  • For the first time Republicans held majority in the Senate. This was the start of the "Reagan Revolution".
  • Reagan led a "patriotic crusade" based on traditional values. He preferred to focus his attention on domestic issues.
  • Reagan never over complicated politics, and had effective if deeply flawed sound bites to fall back on.
  • Reagan supported "supply side" economics based on incentives from the people to produce more, by adjusting taxes (income and capital gains).


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Why Did Reagan Won The 1984 Election?

  • In Reagan’s first term there had been strong economic recovery.
  • Reagan campaign was highly successful in using media, particularly in advertising.
  • Reagan targeted Mondale as a big government spender who wanted to raise taxes.
  • Reagan managed to gain significant support from Democrats, many of whom had benefited under his economic recovery.
  • They supported Reagan’s strength on National security, and disliked Mondale for appearing to pitch for the poor vote at the expense of the middle class.
  • Reagan’s style was vital and almost everything that the public wanted from its leader- strong, charming, a great communicator, handsome, brave, self-deprecating, convincing, straight talker, reassuring simplicity and he surrounded himself with good men and women. 
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Why Did George Bush Won The 1988

  • He successfully defeated Michael Dukakis having previously failed to gain the Republican nomination in 1980.
  •  He won partly due to the enduring popularity of Reagan, and for being a loyal man for whom discretion was his most distinctive political trait.
  •  Dukakis also lost support due to several issues: the Jennifer Fitzgerald Affair, Republican adverts about Willie Horton, Revolving Door, and Boston Harbor, false rumours about his private life, his failures in the Presidential debates on TV.



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Bushe's Policies


  • Bush pledged to continue Reagan’s policies, but also offer “a kinder and gentler nation” – four key principles of no new taxes, reduction of size of government, maintain defences, uphold family values. 
  • His key pledge was “read my lips, no new taxes”.
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