|Source: WABC-TV; WABC-TV News Anchor Roger Sharp-|
When talking about the 1980 general elections in America, people tend to concentrate a lot and justifiably so on Ronald Regan's landslide victory over President Jimmy Carter. Where Governor Reagan defeats President Carter with 55% of the vote and wins 44-50 states. Holding a sitting President of the United States under 100 electoral votes. Which almost never happens. But what people tend to leave out are the other major important Republican victories of 1980.
Like winning back the Senate for the first time since 1953, giving the Republican Party control of a chamber of Congress for the first time since 1953. President Reagan probably doesn't get his economic recovery plan of 1981 without a Republican Senate even if he defeated President Carter in 1980 in a landslide. And it's not just that Senate Republicans win back the Senate for the first time since 1953, but how they did it.
In the Congress of 1979-80 Senate Republicans only had 42-100 seats. Giving Senate Democrats an 8 seat majority, not filibuster proof, but damn close. And Democrats also had a large majority in the House with about a 3-5 majority there and of course Jimmy Carter was President. After 1980 Republicans win back not only the White House, but did what Richard Nixon failed to do which was to give Republicans a majority in at least one chamber of Congress. And not only win back the Senate, but Republicans pick up eleven seats when only 1/3 Senators are up for reelection.
House Republicans also pick up 30 seats leaving them in the minority in the House, but making them much larger players in the House. And even a workable majority if you include the Southern Democrats that were still in the House. The 1980 was a revolutionary election where Democrats were kicked out as the governing party in America. And where Republicans were brought in to push their agenda and to work with Democrats where they could. Especially since Democrats still controlled the House of Representatives.