After losing an embarrassing six straight primaries, including the critical states of Florida and Illinois, the upstart presidential candidate came under tremendous pressure from the party establishment to get out of the race. Party insiders called his proposals "simplistic," pundits fretted he was too old and even a key aide admitted one goal was to show "we were not the candidate of kooks."The whole article is worth reading. It is interesting to read how Reagan attacked Gerald Ford on detente with the Soviet Union, considering how Reagan went on to negotiate with Gorbachev after he was in the Oval Office.
But the challenger insisted that he'd tapped into real anger among the ignored rank-and-file voters who wanted him to fight all the way to the party convention in July."The issue I sense," he told an interviewer, "is that the Empire is in decline. The establishment doesn't want to raise it." He used new technologies to reach small-dollar donors, and his allies noted that he'd "sharpened" his rival's message for a general election.And so, in the spring of 1976, Ronald Reagan pressed on with his underdog quest to wrest the GOP nomination from the incumbent (albeit unelected) President Gerald Ford -- following a track that should look very familiar to the voters and pundits watching the out-of-left-field 2016 Democratic primary challenge by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Monday, April 11, 2016
Wait, Who Are We Talking About?