/r/neoliberal elects the American Presidents

/r/neoliberal elects the American Presidents

Previous editions:

(All strawpoll results counted as of the next post made)

Part 1, Adams v Jefferson in 1796 – Adams wins with 68% of the vote

Part 2, Adams v Jefferson in 1800 – Jefferson wins with 58% of the vote

Part 3, Jefferson v Pinckney in 1804 – Jefferson wins with 57% of the vote

Part 4, Madison v Pinckney (with George Clinton protest) in 1808 – Pinckney wins with 45% of the vote

Part 5, Madison v (DeWitt) Clinton in 1812 – Clinton wins with 80% of the vote

Part 6, Monroe v King in 1816 – Monroe wins with 51% of the vote

Part 7, Monroe and an Era of Meta Feelings in 1820 – Monroe wins with 100% of the vote

Part 8, Democratic-Republican Thunderdome in 1824 – Adams wins with 55% of the vote

Part 9, Adams v Jackson in 1828 – Adams wins with 94% of the vote

Part 10, Jackson v Clay (v Wirt) in 1832 – Clay wins with 53% of the vote

Part 11, Van Buren v The Whigs in 1836 – Whigs win with 87% of the vote, Webster elected

Part 12, Van Buren v Harrison in 1840 – Harrison wins with 90% of the vote

Part 13, Polk v Clay in 1844 – Polk wins with 59% of the vote

Part 14, Taylor v Cass in 1848 – Taylor wins with 44% of the vote (see special rules)

Part 15, Pierce v Scott in 1852 – Scott wins with 78% of the vote

Part 16, Buchanan v Frémont v Fillmore in 1856 – Frémont wins with 95% of the vote

Part 17, Peculiar Thunderdome in 1860 – Lincoln wins with 90% of the vote.

Part 18, Lincoln v McClellan in 1864 – Lincoln wins with 97% of the vote.

Part 19, Grant v Seymour in 1868 – Grant wins with 97% of the vote.

Part 20, Grant v Greeley in 1872 – Grant wins with 96% of the vote.

Part 21, Hayes v Tilden in 1876 – Hayes wins with 87% of the vote.

Part 22, Garfield v Hancock in 1880 – Garfield wins with 67% of the vote.

Part 23, Cleveland v Blaine in 1884 – Cleveland wins with 53% of the vote.

Part 24, Cleveland v Harrison in 1888 – Harrison wins with 64% of the vote.

Part 25, Cleveland v Harrison v Weaver in 1892 – Harrison wins with 57% of the vote

Part 26, McKinley v Bryan in 1896 – McKinley wins with 71% of the vote

Part 27, McKinley v Bryan in 1900 – Bryan wins with 55% of the vote

Part 28, Roosevelt v Parker in 1904 – Roosevelt wins with 71% of the vote

Part 29, Taft v Bryan in 1908 – Taft wins with 64% of the vote

Part 30, Taft v Wilson v Roosevelt in 1912 – Roosevelt wins with 81% of the vote

Part 31, Wilson v Hughes in 1916 – Hughes wins with 62% of the vote

Part 32, Harding v Cox in 1920 – Cox wins with 68% of the vote

Part 33, Coolidge v Davis v La Follette in 1924 – Davis wins with 47% of the vote

Part 34, Hoover v Smith in 1928 – Hoover wins with 50.2% of the vote

Part 35, Hoover v Roosevelt in 1932 – Roosevelt wins with 85% of the vote

Part 36, Landon v Roosevelt in 1936 – Roosevelt wins with 75% of the vote

Part 37, Willkie v Roosevelt in 1940 – Roosevelt wins with 56% of the vote

Part 38, Dewey v Roosevelt in 1944 – Dewey wins with 50.2% of the vote

Part 39, Dewey v Truman in 1948 – Truman wins with 65% of the vote

Part 40, Eisenhower v Stevenson in 1952 – Eisenhower wins with 69% of the vote

Part 41, Eisenhower v Stevenson in 1956 – Eisenhower wins with 60% of the vote

Part 42, Kennedy v Nixon in 1960 – Kennedy wins with 63% of the vote

Part 43, Johnson v Goldwater in 1964 – Johnson wins with 87% of the vote

Part 44, Nixon v Humphrey in 1968 – Humphrey wins with 60% of the vote

Part 45, Nixon v McGovern in 1972 – Nixon wins with 56% of the vote

Part 46, Carter v Ford in 1976 – Carter wins with 71% of the vote

Part 47 – Carter v Reagan v Anderson in 1980 – Carter wins with 44% of the vote

Welcome back to the forty-eighth edition of r/neoliberal elects the American presidents!

This will be a fairly consistent weekly thing – every week, a new election, until we run out.

I highly encourage you – at least in terms of the vote you cast – to try to think from the perspective of the year the election was held, without knowing the future or how the next administration would go. I’m not going to be trying to enforce that, but feel free to remind fellow commenters of this distinction.

If you’re really feeling hardcore, feel free to even speak in the present tense as if the election is truly upcoming!

Whether third and fourth candidates are considered “major” enough to include in the strawpoll will be largely at my discretion and depend on things like whether they were actually intending to run for President, and whether they wound up actually pulling in a meaningful amount of the popular vote and even electoral votes. I may also invoke special rules in how the results will be interpreted in certain elections to better approximate historical reality.

While I will always give some brief background info to spur the discussion, please don’t hesitate to bring your own research and knowledge into the mix! There’s no way I’ll cover everything!

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Ronald Reagan v Walter Mondale, 1984


  • Ronald Reagan is the 73-year-old Republican candidate and the current President. His running mate is current Vice President George Bush.

  • Walter Mondale is the 56-year-old Democratic candidate and the previous Vice President. His running mate is US Representative from New York Geraldine Ferraro.

Issues and Background

  • Within a year of taking office, President Reagan signed comprehensive tax reform legislation that exemplified his economic philosophy. The top marginal income rate was cut from 70% to 50%, and the rate on the lowest taxable bracket was reduced from 14% to 11%. The capital gains tax was reduced from 28% of 20%. Legislation in 1982, prompted by increases in the deficit, prevented the full tax cut aspirations of the 1981 legislation from going into effect. Reagan and his supporters credit his economic policies with the strong economic recovery since the beginning of 1983.

  • The last couple years have seen very large federal budget deficits, with the 1983 peak at a level unseen since immediately following World War II, even relative to GDP. Mondale has chosen to make this arguably his biggest domestic campaign issue. Mondale has argued that the “question of the deficit and getting interest rates down is the most important domestic problem of our time – nothing else compares with it.” He has spoken in stark terms about the alleged stakes, saying:

The President’s point that growth will cure the deficit is obviously not the case. The deficit will get worse even with growth. Thus it is a very severe problem that threatens our future, saddles our kids with a with a trillion dollars worth of debt, is making us into a debtor nation, is destroying our position in international commerce, driving up interest rates, and is making the budget increasingly unmanageable.

Further, Mondale has gone further in his gambit on making the deficit an election issue by pledging to raise taxes. In his nomination acceptance speech, Mondale said:

Whoever is inaugurated in January, the American people will have to pay Mr. Reagan’s bills. The budget will be squeezed. Taxes will go up. And anyone who says they won’t is not telling the truth to the American people.

I mean business. By the end of my first term, I will reduce the Reagan budget deficit by two-thirds.

Let’s tell the truth. That must be done – it must be done. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won’t tell you. I just did.

  • Specifically, the Mondale deficit reduction plan calls for $85 billion in new tax revenues and $105 billion in cuts in projected spending. The entirety of the new tax revenue is to be earmarked for a special fund to reduce the deficit. Any further new spending will be “pay as you go,” requiring new revenue to cover the spending. The planned spending cuts are mostly decreases in the planned growth of spending, including for the military and Medicare, rather than outright cuts.

  • According to Mondale campaign advisers, a typical family of four with a gross annual income of $25,000 (OOC: ~$62,000 in 2020 dollars, same format for further parentheticals) will not see their taxes go up. However, by 1989, families making $25,000 to $35,000 (~$62,000 to $86,000) will see a tax increase of about $95 (~$200) families making up to $45,000 (~$111,000) will pay roughly $200 (~$500) more and families making $100,000 (~$250,000) will pay about $2,600 (~$6,400) more.

  • Republicans have of course criticized the Mondale plan sharply. Vice President Bush called it a “program for failure” that would stall the recovery. Reagan insists that deficit reduction must come through economic growth and reductions in wasteful government spending. Reagan describes a tax increase as a “last resort.”

  • Religion and issues of morality have come up several times during this campaign. President Reagan favors a Constitutional amendment that would permit organized prayers in public schools that students can opt-out of. Mondale opposes the amendment. President Reagan also supports a Constitutional amendment banning abortions except when the life of the mother is at risk. Mondale is personally opposed to abortion but believes it should be a woman’s individual choice. Mondale’s running mate Geraldine Ferraro has received pushback for her statement that, “the President goes around calling himself a good Christian; I don’t for a minute believe it,” criticizing Reagan’s policies as “unfair” and “discriminatory.”

  • In fall 1983, following an internal power struggle in the country and pleas from other Caribbean nations, the United States invaded Grenada alongside several Caribbean nations. The invasion was successful, resulting in the establishment of a new interim government. Elections are intended to take place in the coming months. The Reagan Administration justified the intervention on the basis of protecting US medical students on the island. The UN General Assembly voted 108 to 9 to call the intervention a “flagrant violation of international law.” Mondale raised questions about the invasion early on, but in the past couple months has spoken favorably of it.

  • The United States along with three European nations introduced a peacekeeping force into Lebanon in 1982, in the broader context of the Lebanese Civil War. US diplomatic and military forces have been the victim of a number of suicide bombings, in particular the 1983 bombings of Beirut barracks, killing 241 US military personnel. Mondale has been sharply critical of Reagan with respect to these bombings, arguing that there was plenty of warning to prevent them. Mondale has further argued that overall US policy in Lebanon has been marked by “unbelievable disorganization.” In January, Mondale called for the withdrawal of US marines from Lebanon. Reagan argues that the US presence in Lebanon helped facilitate the withdrawal of Palestinian guerrilla fighters.

  • At no point in his first term thus far has President Reagan met with his Soviet counterpart, Konstantin Chernenko. Mondale has frequently criticized Reagan for this, and has promised he would hold annual summit meetings with Soviet leaders. Reagan has said that he would like a summit, but needs to feel sure it will produce results before it happens. More broadly, Reagan has described the necessary policy towards the Soviet Union as one of “credible deterrence and peaceful competition,” though he has also not held back in his criticism of the Soviet Union, calling it just last year an “evil empire.”

  • In 1979, the Sandinista National Liberation Front in Nicaragua overthrew the Somoza dictatorship and established a new government. Since then, counterrevolutionary forces including former pro-Somoza forces as well as disillusioned former Sandinistas, have engaged in armed conflict against the Sandinista government. Reagan cancelled economic aid to Nicaragua upon taking office, but has since said that there have been attempts to get along with the new government. However, Reagan has been sharply critical of Nicaragua’s accused military buildup and “meddling” in El Salvador.

  • Mondale has criticized Reagan’s “failed policies” in Central America and has promised that if elected, he would end all US military exercises in Central America, withdraw combat forces from Honduras, and “end the covert activities directed toward Nicaragua.”

  • A CIA booklet became public this October which has raised questions about the nature of US covert activities in Nicaragua. As reported by the New York Times:

    A Central Intelligence Agency document that became public this week tells Nicaraguan rebels how to win popular support and gives advice on political assassination, blackmail and mob violence.

    The 44-page booklet, titled ”Psychological Operations in Guerrilla Warfare,” is a primer on insurgency. Most activity of this sort in Nicaragua has been paid for by the United States through the C.I.A.

    The primer explains how to kidnap and kill officials, blow up public buildings and blackmail ordinary citizens.

  • Ferraro and her husband have come under intense media scrutiny over their financial history, with accusations ranging from tax avoidance to connections to organized crime, pornography, and gambling. In response, the couple has relented in releasing several years of tax returns, and Ferraro has allowed the media hours of her time to ask questions related to her and her husband’s finances. Most accusations against them have proven to be exaggerated, though there are still lingering questions regarding certain accounting errors that were made. For more technical details, see coverage by the New York Times or Washington Post.

  • Particularly following what some considered to be a sub-par first debate performance, some Democrats are openly raising the question of whether Reagan, 73, is too old to continue serving as President. Asked at a White House event whether age should be considered a legitimate issue, Reagan said jokingly of Mondale, “I’ll challenge him to an arm-wrestle any time.” Reagan’s more vigorous second debate performance has led to a diminishing of the age discussion.

  • In June 1981, the Associated Press and Los Angeles Times reported on a rare lung infection in 5 young previously healthy gay men in Los Angeles. Since then, over 6,000 cases of “acquired immune deficiency syndrome” (AIDS) have been reported to public health officials. In April of this year, the cause of the disease was discovered, a retrovirus known as HTLV-III. According to the CDC, “most cases have been reported among homosexual men with multiple sexual partners, abusers of intravenous drugs, and Haitians, especially those who have entered the country within the past few years.” The case fatality rate is extremely high. Scientists say the virus is mainly spread through sexual contact. There were two major developments just recently in October. First, the New York Times reported that saliva may be a possible source of transmission, though it remains unlikely that it is a “key mode of spread.” Second, under pressure from Mayor Dianne Feinstein, San Francisco public health officials ordered a number of bathhouses and sex clubs geared towards homosexual men closed. Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services argue that this disease has become a top research priority for them, and that they expect to spend many millions of dollars on research grants and other efforts. However, some groups like the National Gay Task Force have criticized the government sharply and say that not nearly enough is being done. Many criticisms of the government and other institutions and groups of people are covered in the essay from last year famous in the gay community, “1,112 and Counting” by Larry Kramer, published in the New York Native. Neither Reagan nor Mondale have spoken of this disease on the campaign trail.

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OOC Note: There is no indication that AIDS was an issue in the presidential election. Even gay newspapers from this time did not relate the crisis much if at all to the presidential election. To the extent that government policy was discussed, it was often local policy. Why mention it then? Well, it’s a similar situation to Japanese internment and the 1944 election. I know some of you will bring this up no matter what, understandably, and so I’d like to at the very least calibrate the discussion to the year of the election with proper context and background.

Platforms (Important note if this is influencing your vote: These are just excerpts, not everything is included and inclusion of a point in one set of excerpts does NOT mean the other party took the opposing stance or didn’t mention it; also, especially in the modern era, a Presidential candidate may disagree with the party platform)

Read the full 1984 Republican platform here. 10 Excerpts:

  1. “We reaffirm our conviction that State and local governments closest to the people are the best and most efficient”

  2. “The Republican Party pledges to continue our efforts to lower tax rates, change and modernize the tax system, and eliminate the incentive-destroying effects of graduated tax rates … We therefore support tax reform that will lead to a fair and simple tax system and believe a modified flat tax—with specific exemptions for such items as mortgage interest—is a most promising approach”

  3. “The President is denied proper control over the federal budget … To remedy this, we support enhanced authority to prevent wasteful spending, including a line-item veto”

  4. “We need coordination between fiscal and monetary policy, timely information about Fed decisions, and an end to the uncertainties people face in obtaining money and credit … The Gold Standard may be a useful mechanism for realizing the Federal Reserve’s determination to adopt monetary policies needed to sustain price stability”

  5. “The greatest danger today to our international trade is a growing protectionist sentiment”

  6. “The Republican Party has deep concern about gratuitous sex and violence in the entertainment media, both of which contribute to the problem of crime against children and women”

  7. “We Republicans emphasize that there is a profound moral difference between the actions and ideals of Marxist-Leninist regimes and those of democratic governments, and we reject the notions of guilt and apology which animate so much of the foreign policy of the Democratic Party”

  8. “Stable and peaceful relations with the Soviet Union are possible and desirable, but they depend upon the credibility of American strength and determination”

  9. “We … reaffirm our support for a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children”

  10. “We affirm our country’s absolute fight to control its borders … Those desiring to enter must comply with our immigration laws … Failure to do so not only is an offense to the American people but is fundamentally unjust to those in foreign lands patiently waiting for legal entry … We will preserve the principle of family reunification”

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Read the full 1984 Democratic platform here. 10 Excerpts:

  1. “Instead of runaway deficits, a Democratic Administration will pursue overall economic policies that sharply reduce deficits, down interest rates, free savings for private investment, prevent another explosion of inflation and put the dollar on a competitive footing”

  2. “We will pursue international negotiations to open markets and eliminate trade restrictions, recognizing that the growth and stability of the Third World depends on its ability to sell its products in international markets”

  3. “The Environmental Protection Agency should receive a budget that exceeds in real dollars the agency’s purchasing power when President Reagan took office, since the agency’s workload has almost doubled in recent years”

  4. “After four years in which the roll of dishonor in the Administration has grown weekly and monthly—from Richard Allen to Rita Lavelle, from Thomas Reed to James Watt—it is time for an end to the embarrassment of Republican cronyism and malfeasance”

  5. “Violent acts of bigotry, hatred and extremism aimed at women, racial, ethnic and religious minorities, and gay men and lesbians have become an alarmingly common phenomenon … A Democratic Administration will work vigorously to address, document, and end all such violence”

  6. “In the year made famous by George Orwell, we can see the realization of many of his grimmest prophecies in the totalitarian Soviet state, which has amassed an arsenal of weapons far beyond its defensive needs”

  7. “Sadly, Mr. Reagan has opted for the all too frequent American response to the unrest that has characterized Central America-military assistance … Over the past 100 years, Panama. Nicaragua, and Honduras have all been occupied by U.S. forces in an effort to suppress indigenous revolutionary movements”

  8. “A Democratic President will pursue a foreign policy that advances basic civil and political rights—freedom of speech, association, thought and religion, the right to leave, freedom of the integrity of the person, and the prohibition of torture, arbitrary detention and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment—and that seeks as well to attain basic, economic, social, and cultural rights”

  9. “We support tough restraints on the manufacture, transportation, and sale of snub-nosed handguns, which have no legitimate sporting use and are used in a high proportion of violent crimes”

  10. “…the Reagan Administration has acted as if deficits do not count … The deficits are huge and are expected to get larger—and they are a major negative factor in everything from high interest rates to the third world debt crisis”

Video Clips


First Presidential Debate

Vice Presidential Debate

Second Presidential Debate


Mondale nomination acceptance speech

Reagan nomination acceptance speech


Reagan “Morning in America” ad

Reagan White House ad

Reagan peace ad

Reagan train ad

Mondale nuclear devastation ad

Mondale “in real America” ad

Mondale trade ad

Mondale “killer weapons” in space ad



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