To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Kennedy vs. Carter: The 1980 Battle for the Democratic Party's Soul Hardcover – March 2, 2010
Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
"An excellent and ambitious study that illuminates a key moment in the history of the Democratic Party." -- Lewis L. Gould
From the Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
I only have one criticism, which doesn't even involve the 1980 election. On page 169, Stanley states that Barack Obama did not have a majority of elected delegates during the 2008 Democratic Convention, and that the superdelegates' votes are what allowed him to carry the convention. In the final count, Obama carried both pledged and superdelegate votes. The math for 2008 is complicated because of the Michigan and Florida debacle (Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan), but that seems like something that should have been clarified in the book.
Nitpicking aside, this is a valuable contribution to the study of an often overlooked campaign.
The liberal flame still burned in the 1970s and there was even a still young(ish) Kennedy liberals could imagine as president. A lot could be said about whether Ted Kennedy even wanted to be president, but the fact is he disliked Carter and jumped into the race with both feet As it went on, his energy went up and although it was apparent that he could not win through the primaries relatively early he slogged on through. What Stanley shows is that this fight between Kennedy and Carter was a long time coming and that Carter had done much to ostracize those who should have been his biggest supporters. Stanley also marshals detailed polling to demonstrate that Kennedy could have been elected president had he bested Carter.Read more ›
Yet Stanley has a strong political angle. He thinks Kerry lost in 2004 because he wasn't promoting strong liberal solutions. He attributes Obama's 2008 victory to his embrace of government stimulus. Instead of using documents that suggest the depth of U.S. anxiety circa 1980, he quotes politicians who said the public was upbeat.
In particular, Stanley misconstrues the media's power. He refers to it interpreting events, when it generated and framed public opinion. NBC was furious because Carter had cancelled U.S. involvement in the Moscow Olympics, an anchor of the network's schedule. Their campaign coverage was draconian, capped off by the now-famous decision to call Reagan's victory well before West Coast voting finished. Never before or since has a network gone on a limb so early.
Stanley dismisses the view that Kennedy and John Anderson distorted and diluted the election, almost entirely for Reagan's benefit. This would upset his political cart, which holds that centrism fails, liberalism succeeds. But it was clear Carter lacked a power base. The Democrat Party was a house divided from the McGovern debacle. The young liberals still high on the 1960s couldn't stomach his patriotic realism. Older Democrats never appreciated the upstart Georgian, who didn't play ball like they expected.
Evangelical southerners supported Carter in 76, but abandoned him in 80.Read more ›