A Reminder from 1980

Everyone says Trump can’t win in November. But everyone said he’d fade from contention in the GOP primaries by now. Which I why I am not so sure.

A reminder from 1980, from volume 1 of my Age of Reagan:

The two Republicans Carter’s political team feared most were Sen. Howard Baker and George Bush. Their favorite opponent: Ronald Reagan. Handling the extremist 69 year-old ex-movie actor would be an easy piece of work, they thought, especially now that the issue of war and peace would be at center stage of the 1980 campaign. “The American people,” Hamilton Jordan said, “are not going to elect a seventy-year-old, right-wing, ex-movie actor to be president.” The polls supported Jordan’s confidence. In mid-December, a Gallup poll showed Carter leading Reagan by a whopping 60 to 36 percent in a head-to-head matchup. Pat Caddell was confident of Reagan’s weaknesses. “There’s so much to work with, when you look at the data you just salivate.”

We all know how that turned out. The Democrats who “salivated” at Reagan’s supposed weaknesses ended up drooling all over themselves for the next eight years.

CLARIFICATION: Many readers seem to think I am equating Trump with Reagan. Most assuredly not! I should think my previous post, “The Donald and the Terminator,” would have made this clear. The point is that “expert political judgment” can be wildly wrong. Somebody is voting for Trump. A lot of somebodies. With just about everyone having been wrong up to this point, why can’t they be wrong about November?

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