1981...2004...voting habits

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by blackfox, May 7, 2004.

  1. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #1
    Hey all, upon thinking about Bush and his re-election possibillities, I looked to somewhat recent US history as a guide. I admit I will probably be way off base with specifics, as I was only 5 at the time, and living in the UK...anyway, I thought it might be interesting to discuss...

    I was specifically thinking of how fear and convenience go into vothing habits. I remember the Carter administration, which dealt with the Iranian revolution, high gas prices and the hostage fiasco. Many people think the Carter administration was ineffective. Public sentiment at the time of the '80 election probably involved some fear over the obvious anti-americanism displayed by Iran, and of couse the hostage situation, as well as some upsurge in American reactionary patriotism and outrage (about expensive gas for example...) As we all know, Reagan won and we received massive military spending, 'voodoo economics' and the last massive defecits, but Reagan was highly popular, in part due to his affable personality....

    I have done a poor job of framing an argument, I admit, but do any of you see a correlation between events and attitudes then and now, and how the populace voted? Just asking opinions and will hope the discussion will refine itself as people contribute...thanks
     
  2. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #2
    I think I see what you're driving at. No, I don't see much of a similarity between the elections of 2004 and 1980. By the time 1980 rolled around, we'd been through the '70s -- a period of terrible economic dislocation. Carter was made to wear this because he was seen as being weak and indecisive on both economic and foreign policy fronts. Reagan's message of cheerful optimism stood in stark contrast to what the country had been through during the Carter years, and it sold. Most of Carter's problems weren't of his own making, but he did fail to address the nation's woes in a way that gave the country a sense that they could be mended, and Reagan attacked very effectively on that front.

    I'm hoping Kerry does articulate a clear and more optimistic vision for the country, but I don't see how Kerry can pull a Reagan. Bush can't be faulted for being indecisive, but he can be faulted for being decisive about the wrong things.
     
  3. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    Actually, I was comparing Bush and Reagan, although it may not have been clear, especially since Bush is up for re-election (more comparable to 1984[forgive irony])...It is just that both Reagan and Bush were kind of affable personalities, and seized upon a generalized fear, with an upbeat, pro-US platform...and despite deficits and recession (1981), Reagan was re-elected by a large margin...I guess I am commenting on the strong effect of fear and psuedo-patriotic sloganeering to win elections over substance...
     
  4. Lyle macrumors 68000

    Lyle

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    #4
    I more or less agree with IJ Reilly's comments, and don't really see the parallels between Reagan and Bush that you're seeing. And as for Reagan's landslide re-election in 1984, you might want to do some more research. If your sole impression of Reagan's first term is that "despite deficits and recession" he was re-elected, you're missing a lot of the story between that time and 1984.
     
  5. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #5
    Fair enough, as I said I was living in the UK at the time...and only 9 by 1984...so I concede that I am not well-versed enough here...I guess I shall let this thread die...I'm the first to admit not all of my ideas are that great...ah, well...
     
  6. SlyHunter macrumors newbie

    SlyHunter

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    #6
    You are ignoring the joker in the deck.
    I'll let you in a little secret. I've never voted in an election before. Prior to 9/11 all I cared about was paying my bills and survival. The terrorists got my attention on 9/11 and got me careing about more things. Including I'm registered to vote in the next election. Guess what? I bet I'm not alone.

    I would've voted in 2002 but I just moved and hadn't transferred my voter registration.
     
  7. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #7
    One aspect of the 1980 election was, as mentioned above, the economy. (Carter did indeed inherit a problem with inflation, but his SecTreas Bert Lance exacerbated the problem.) The Iran hostage deal was the other, with Carter's perceived wishy-washyness. A summary would be that Carter was seen as indecisive. His "less is more" didn't play all that well, along with the energy-crisis ideas.

    So Reagan comes along with his positive attitude. Paul Volcker raised the discount rate, which dramatically slowed down borrowing, which in turn reduced inflation to more rational levels. We of course for a while had the stagflation through '82. Between the better economic times, the release of the hostages and his stance against the USSR, his re-election was pretty much a gimme.

    Bush inherited an economic ready-to-collapse bubble. Greenspan had already used up the only normal tool to "get the economy moving" and there's not a lot that can be done. No matter who wins, the dollar is going south. I doubt taxes could be raised enough to end the budget deficit, and Congress won't quit spending. And, "they" will keep on keeping on at WalMart, etc, and keep sending a half-trillion dollars more overseas than is brought in. Whether or not Bush can be stuck with the Clinton bubble remains to be seen.

    I think Bush is seen as more likely to stay the course in the War on Terror. Iraq may well be seen as a stumbling block in the course of this war, but there's no doubt about Bush' intent to keep on with the effort. I think many voters will figure that 9/11 is still unavenged and unrevenged and they'll stay with the guy who's not gonna quit.

    FWIW, 'Rat
     
  8. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #8
    You'd think if they were that interested in avenge and revenge and what not that they'd vote for someone who wanted to fight the people who attacked us, not the guy who wants to play cowboys and indians with some phantom threat in Iraq.
     
  9. Dippo macrumors 65816

    Dippo

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    #9
    I will agree that there are plenty of voters that are going to vote for Bush because of his stand on terror. I personally think he has done what was needed, and for that he has my vote.

    On the other hand, there are groups of voters that deeply dislike and maybe even hate Bush. This really has nothing to go with 9/11 nor terrorism though. These same people hated Bush before 9/11 and before Iraq.
     
  10. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #10
    A lot of them disliked Bush before 9/11 but rallied to him after it. Now they dislike him again after Iraq.

    There was a time when Bush had almost 90% approval. He could have leveraged that differently than he did.
     
  11. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #11
    then how do you explain the change in poll numbers?
     
  12. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

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    #12
    Well I think that has to do w/ 6 things:
    1) People who were dubious about him winning the election in 2000 (re: Florida) (not that I want to beat that dead horse again...and I was one of them)
    2) The fact that he was a crap politician - His only real political experience was as Gov. of Texas, and anyone who knows Texas political structure knows that it is the weakest governership in the nation...by many measures, the Lt. Gov. and Cabinet leaders have more power.
    3) His domestic policy (overshadowed by 9/11 and Iraq)...exceptionally long list of cuts in most social-service and environmental funding...educational debacle...etc. (the main reason BTW, that I dislike Bush)
    4) Economy - not necessarily his fault,, but tax cuts, in the form and timing they came in, I believe were wrong...regardless many people blamed him for job losses/recession. Now, his reckless spending is raising some eyebrows
    5) The enduring cost of Iraq...
    6) The fact that he is a terrible speaker...perhaps some enjoy his *ahem* particular style, but I think many people cringe when he opens his mouth on the World stage.

    I tend to think that GWB actually handled 9/11 pretty good, at least initially, and that the country rallied around their leader...it has been downhill from there...
     

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