Why Did Carter Fail to Win Re-Election in 1980?

In: Historical Events

Submitted By jhilton8
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Why did Carter fail to win re-election in 1980?

Carter was one of the few presidents that did not manage to win a second term in office, which was down to a number of reasons, namely for his failures on foreign policy specifically in Iran, as well as his failings on the economy and with the energy crisis. Reagan also ran a very strong campaign and managed to appeal to voters far better than Carter, as they saw that he had a clear vision, something they did not see in the president. These factors all contributed to Reagan’s victory over Carter in 1980, even though the turnout was only 53% of the electorate.

One main reason Carter did not manage to win the 1980 election was his weak handling of the Iran hostage crisis, which made him a victim of events that were out of his control. After Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran due to their protest against Carter allowing the exiled Shah to receive cancer treatment in the USA, they took 60 American hostages. The embassy was only supposed to be held for a few hours but the hostages were held until President Reagan was sworn into office. This made Carter look weak, especially after his failed rescue attempt which left more Americans dead and injured after some of the helicopters crashed. The hostage crisis dragged on throughout election year, and many felt that Carter had messed up everything.

The energy crisis worsened Carter’s campaign. The United States had been economically self sufficient post world war two, however in the 1970s they became dependent on middle eastern oil. More than half of US oil had to be imported. At one point, power stations had to start closing on Sundays or cut their hours in order to conserve supplies of fuel. Carter had gone wrong in his handling of this crisis by not consulting congress on his plans, and voters remained unwilling to pay the higher prices for fuel.…...

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