There He Goes Again: Jimmy Carter’s Thirty Year Old Wound

by Mike on October 26, 2010

in History,Politics

During his latest rounds on MSNBC, the former worst President in my lifetime Jimmy Carter argued that he would have defeated Ronald Reagan in 1980 if John Anderson had not run as a third party candidate.  How embarrassing.

What Carter either forgets or chooses to ignore is that John Anderson was a Republican who Reagan defeated in the primary.  The natural inclination of the Anderson voter was to support the Republican candidate.  It could be argued that the Anderson voters in 1980 were too afraid of Reagan to support him, but its also clear that they were fed up with the Carter Administration.  In all likelihood, most Anderson voters would have stayed home or supported Reagan.

But, let’s assume otherwise.  Let’s assume that every single Anderson voter would have supported Carter over Reagan in a tw0-man race.  It still would not have made a difference.  Reagan crushed Carter in the popular vote so badly that he even managed to win a majority of the popular vote in a three-man race.  If every Anderson vote were given to Carter, he still loses the popular vote.  Applying this assumption on a state-by-state basis, Carter still would have lost in the electoral college, and badly.

So is it fuzzy math or a faulty memory about John Anderson that led Carter to his statement?  Neither.  Dude’s just a sore loser.  Thirty years later.  I almost feel sorry for the man.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ryan October 26, 2010 at 7:35 pm

It’s funny: during my liberal college education (with subsequently unsuccessful liberal indoctrination), one of my professors questioned my citing Reagan’s butt-whoopin’ in 1980 by noting that John Anderson was the sole reason why Reagan won. When I questioned her using your very points here, the professor was very defensive and uncomfortable… and still took the points off!

I think she probably voted for Carter.


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