News World November 4, 1980: Ronald Reagan elected president of the United States

November 4, 1980: Ronald Reagan elected president of the United States

Ronald Reagan won a landslide victory in the 1980 presdiential election. Photo: Ronald Reagan Library
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On November 4, 1980, Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan defeated the incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter in the 49th United States presidential election.

Mr Reagan won in a landslide, with the former movie star and Governor of California securing 50.7 per cent of the popular vote to President Carter’s 41 per cent, and Independent John Anderson’s 6.6 per cent.

Mr Reagan swept 44 states while President Carter carried just six.

Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan voting at the polls for the presidential election in Pacific Palisades, California. Photo: Ronald Reagan Library

The victory consigned Mr Carter to a one-term presidency, and signalled the start of a new conservative era in the US.

At 69 years old, Mr Reagan was the oldest person to be elected to a first term.

This record was eclipsed by Donald Trump, who was 70 when he was elected president in 2016.

The Reagan era

The 1980 election saw Mr Reagan become the 40th president of the US.

President Reagan governed from 1981 to 1989, an era defined by his conservative social policies and antipathy towards the communist Soviet Union.

President Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan played key roles in expanding former President Richard Nixon’s war on drugs.

Marijuana was labelled as “probably the most dangerous drug in the United States today” by Mr Reagan during his 1980 presidential campaign.

During his first term he introduced tougher penalties for cannabis possession and established federal mandatory minimum sentences.

From 1980 to 1983, the FBI’s annual drug enforcement was increased from $8 million to $95 million.

Meanwhile, Mrs Reagan was busy promoting her “Just Say No” campaign, urging young people to reject illegal recreational drugs.

In 1987, President Reagan delivered a speech that would define his legacy.

On a visit to West Berlin he called for the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev to open the border between West and East Berlin, which had been in place since 1961.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”, President Reagan said.

Though the speech received little coverage at the time, the remarks are now considered President Reagan’s most memorable.

Reagan removes solar panels from White House

President Jimmy Carter installed solar panels to provide hot water to the White House residence. Photo: Jimmy Carter Presidential Library

Under Mr Carter, the White House became a pioneer of renewable power, but this progress was reversed under Mr Reagan.

Solar panels were installed in the late 1970s to provide hot water to the White House residence.

They were removed by President Reagan in 1986 due to a roof leak, and never replaced.

It would take nearly 30 years for solar panels to be reinstalled at the White House under Barack Obama in 2014.

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