In 1980, Carter faced daunting reelection circumstances. The economy was reeling from oil shocks, which had sent the price of energy sky high. The major economic challenge was inflation, which reached double digits. The housing market came to a virtual standstill, since mortgage financing was out of reach for the average American family. If that weren’t enough, Iranian “students” seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in November 1979, and the White House had to grapple with how to free the hostages throughout the campaign. ABC News, for example, began its late-night news broadcasts with the words “America Held Hostage.”Bush had his problems in 2004, but was clearly a better option than John Kerry. I don't think anyone but the far left can look at Obama and Romney and say that Obama is the better choice for the times in which we live. You can read the rest of the analysis here, but I think 2012 will end up looking a lot like 1980.
Carter was viewed as a good man, though not a terribly inspiring leader. His “crisis of confidence” address, meant to rally the American people, was dubbed the “malaise speech” and seemed to underline Carter’s inability to handle the crises that America faced.
The GOP picked Reagan as its nominee. He is now regarded as a unique, transformational figure. He was — but not before he was elected president. The Carter campaign relished the idea of running against an old former actor who was seen as far to the right of the U.S. mainstream. Carter ran a harsh, negative campaign, accusing Reagan of being out of touch, too right wing, someone who would separate Americans “black from white, Jew from Christian.”
The Carter campaign worked hard to appeal to core Democratic constituencies — labor, feminists and minorities. Carter lost 44 states.
Obama won't lose 44 states, but 40 is not out of the question.