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To what extent can Reagan's electoral victory in 1980 be put down to the rise of the new right?

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Introduction

To what extent can Reagan's electoral victory in 1980 be put down to the rise of the new right? 1980's America saw a boom in a new group of hard-line Christians; known as the 'new right', a powerful group of republican evangelicals set on restoring the American morals of old (with somewhat a very archaic mindset for example no equality for homosexuals etc.) This group took a very strong liking to Reagan and his strong Christian moral conservatism and thus earned him millions of votes in the election of 1980. Was Reagan's victory largely down to the rise of the new right? Or were there other more prominent factors, which lead to Reagan's victory? In 1980s America TV could be used as a powerful political tool, 67% of American's received 100% of all there news from the television, this clearly showing if televised speeches, debate and propaganda were used correctly it could be a direct, simple and powerful method to connect with the people- winning over the votes of millions of American's. Reagan executed all his televised appearances like a professional (he was an ex-Hollywood 'star' which definitely helped immensely,) ...read more.

Middle

His 'crisis of confidence' speech was completely crazy he informed America of its problems including a lack of leadership- 'now all we need is leadership' a mildly retarded thing to say, as he was 'the' leader of America, and still didn't give any solutions to the problems he presented. It was clear that nothing had changed for the good from Nixon's presidency. The economy was still stuck in the stagflation caused by Nixon, carter had done nothing but worsen it. Reagan used carters 'nothing' presidency where almost nothing was done, to his advantage- he promised to renew prosperity by restoring the economy through 'reaganomics' where there would be lower taxes and less regulation - curing the stagflation. No one knew it would work but it was a lot more than carter offered. Reagan also had vast amount of political training from being an active trade unionist where he established himself as a strong anti-communist (again extremely popular with the lingering cold war and also very popular with the new right who wanted a return of the traditional morals) and also the job was said to help 'gain an apprenticeship in negotiating, to develop an instinct for when to 'hang-tough' and when to cut a deal' by a political analyst- which would clearly help him become a successful president. ...read more.

Conclusion

in Reagan's ascendancy to power, and without a doubt without this support he probably couldn't win as it allowed him to create a base of support from which he could build around and add onto. However, I believe that there were other more influencing factors which lead to his presidency such as his political ingeniousness particularly offering an intelligent solution to the stagflation suppressing the country, as well as the mans personal characteristics such as his personal charm and talent in front of the TV which allowed him to manipulate millions as they could see it with there own eyes that he was an astute leader. But, from the election results we see such a narrow win on Reagan's side this even so when millions of democrats didn't even vote, I believe that this shows us that Reagan won largely due to the failures of Carter as even though he was such a useless leader who did next to nothing he still managed to almost win the elections, furthermore he still came so close even with a large percent of his 'party' boycotting the election- showing carter didn't have a very large support base, and if he did have decent opposition Reagan could have lost by a landslide. ...read more.

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