March, 1980

In March of 1980, the Globe and Mail released a column that was a shape knock against Ronald Reagan, that, while harsh, was not entirely weak on facts. The main point of the article was simple: Ronald Reagan was not going to be President. While the author conceded that he was “the most likely choice for the Republican nomination”, it pointed to an extrmely damaging poll as proof that Reagan could not win. According to the poll, when Reagan was paired with then-incumbant Carter, he lost by a huge, 2-1 margin.

Here is the article:

THE PRESIDENT of the United States from 1980 to 1984 will be one of the following three people: Jimmy Carter, Howard Baker or Gerald Ford.

It’s rather early in the election season for such pointed speculation. But a look at the situation reveals that the prediction is not all that chancy.

It is now almost certain that Mr. Carter is going to be the Democratic nominee. Ronald Reagan is the most likely choice for the Republican nomination, but he could not beat Jimmy Carter in the fall. Nor could George Bush.

Mr. Baker and Mr. Ford are the only two Republicans with a shot at the nomination who could defeat the incumbent President.

Republican candidate John Anderson, a dark horse, said the other day that if the Republicans nominate Mr. Reagan it’s political suicide. He’s right. Most polls show that, going head-to-head against Mr. Carter, Mr. Reagan would lose by 2-1. The former California governor would be the Barry Goldwater of 1980. He is too right-wing to appeal to enough moderates to win and he is too prone to incredible gaffes.

Keep in mind, Reagan won in a landslide victory.


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