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US Presidential Elections and Foreign PolicyCandidates, Campaigns, and Global Politics from FDR to Bill Clinton$
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Andrew Johnstone and Andrew Priest

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780813169057

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813169057.001.0001

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The Domestic Politics of War and Peace

The Domestic Politics of War and Peace

Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and the Election of 1980

(p.250) 11 The Domestic Politics of War and Peace
US Presidential Elections and Foreign Policy

Robert Mason

University Press of Kentucky

Issues of foreign policy were central to presidential politics in 1980. Not only did the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan raise disturbing questions about America’s strength in the world, but, crucially, Jimmy Carter identified foreign policy as a way to salvage his political fortunes. The strategy, which reflected the bleakness of his domestic record, managed to score some successes. But these successes were incomplete. Impatience with limits on American power overseas was pushing public opinion toward hawkish skepticism of negotiation, assisting the late 1970s Republican revitalization, and allowing Ronald Reagan to unlock an anti-Carter mandate in which malaise about America’s standing overseas was as significant as the malaise about the domestic situation.

Keywords:   1980 election, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Iran hostage crisis, 1979 Afghan invasion

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