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Post-WWII Presidential Politics. A quick note. Presidential election years are ALWAYS evenly divisible by 4 Presidents assume office the following January 2008 – Obama elected 2009 – Obama’s presidency began. Harry S Truman (D) 1945-1953 Missouri. Ascended after FDR died in Warm Springs

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a quick note
A quick note
  • Presidential election years are ALWAYS evenly divisible by 4
  • Presidents assume office the following January
  • 2008 – Obama elected
  • 2009 – Obama’s presidency began
harry s truman d 1945 1953 missouri
Harry S Truman (D) 1945-1953 Missouri
  • Ascended after FDR died in Warm Springs
  • Was POTUS last months of WWII
  • Badly unprepared
    • FDR was secretive
  • Start of Cold War
  • Korean War (50-53)
harry s truman d 1945 1953 missouri1
Harry S Truman (D) 1945-1953 Missouri
  • VERY UNPOPULAR while president
    • Approval rating 36% in spring of 1948
  • Won a miracle come from behind election over Thomas Dewey (GOP Gov of NY)
dwight d eisenhower r 1953 1961 kansas
Dwight D. Eisenhower(R) 1953-1961 Kansas
  • Served as Supreme Allied Commander in WWII
  • Universally beloved in post-war era
  • Had no known political affiliation
  • Both parties wanted him, GOP won
dwight d eisenhower r 1953 1961 kansas1
Dwight D. Eisenhower(R) 1953-1961 Kansas
  • Easily won elections in 1952 and 1956
  • Democrats put up token opposition
  • Adlai Stevenson (Dem Gov of IL) lost both elections
dwight d eisenhower r 1953 1961 kansas2
Dwight D. Eisenhower(R) 1953-1961 Kansas
  • First elections that used TV
  • Neither candidate knew how to do it
  • Very unsophisticated use of media
john f kennedy d 1961 1963 massachusetts
John F. Kennedy(D) 1961-1963 Massachusetts
  • Elected in very close 1960 race
  • Defeated Richard Nixon, who was Eisenhower’s VP
  • First campaign that understood impact of television
john f kennedy d 1961 1963 massachusetts1
John F. Kennedy(D) 1961-1963 Massachusetts
  • Berlin Wall (1961)
  • Cuban Missile Crisis (1962)
  • Assassinated in Dallas in Nov 1963
lyndon b johnson d 1963 1969 texas
Lyndon B. Johnson(D) 1963-1969 Texas
  • Ascended after JFK was shot in Dallas
  • Civil Rights Era
  • Vietnam War
  • Moon Landing
lyndon b johnson d 1963 1969 texas1
Lyndon B. Johnson(D) 1963-1969 Texas
  • Won 1964 election easily over Sen. Barry Goldwater (R, AZ)
    • Goldwater threatened nuclear war in Vietnam
lyndon b johnson d 1963 1969 texas2
Lyndon B. Johnson(D) 1963-1969 Texas
  • But 1st time most of the south voted GOP
  • Final southern shift would take abt 20 yrs
richard m nixon r 1969 1974 california
Richard M. Nixon(R) 1969-1974 California
  • Had been Ike’s VP in 1950s
  • Before being VP had strong reputation as anti-communist
  • Lost to Kennedy in ’60
richard m nixon r 1969 1974 california1
Richard M. Nixon(R) 1969-1974 California
  • Won two comfortable elections
  • 1968 defeated Hubert Humphrey
    • LBJ’s VP (D, MN)
richard m nixon r 1969 1974 california2
Richard M. Nixon(R) 1969-1974 California
  • 1972 soundly defeated Senator George McGovern (Dem, SD)
  • Won 49 of 50 states, only lost MA and DC
richard m nixon r 1969 1974 california3
Richard M. Nixon(R) 1969-1974 California
  • In 1972, campaign workers broke into McGovern’s campaign HQ in Watergate Hotel
  • White House covered up the break-in
  • After conspiracy revealed, resigned in disgrace
gerald r ford r 1974 1977 michigan
Gerald R. Ford(R) 1974-1977 Michigan
  • Was All-American center for Michigan Wolverines
  • Drafted by Packers, decided to go to Yale Law School instead
gerald r ford r 1974 1977 michigan1
Gerald R. Ford(R) 1974-1977 Michigan
  • Served in US House from Michigan
  • Became replacement VP when Spiro Agnew resigned in 1973
    • Scandal totally unrelated to Watergate
  • Only POTUS never actually elected to any national office
gerald r ford r 1974 1977 michigan2
Gerald R. Ford(R) 1974-1977 Michigan
  • Pardoned Nixon after ascending
  • American public never forgave him
  • Lost close 1976 race to relatively unknown southern governor
james e carter jr d 1977 1981 georgia
James E. Carter, Jr.(D) 1977-1981 Georgia
  • Pretended to be a simple peanut farmer
  • Nuclear physicist from Naval Academy
  • Depressing time period:
    • Iran Hostage Crisis
    • Bad economy
    • Disco
ronald w reagan r 1981 1989 california
Ronald W. Reagan(R) 1981-1989 California
  • Won 1980 race over Carter easily
  • Oversaw period of general prosperity
  • Strong on defense, hardline against USSR
  • Big tax cuts, big spending increases
  • Beginning of massive budget deficits
ronald w reagan r 1981 1989 california1
Ronald W. Reagan(R) 1981-1989 California
  • 1984 – defeated Walter Mondale (Carter’s VP), Dem from MN
  • Mondale argued against deficit
    • He promised to cut spending & raise taxes to balance budget
  • Bad idea when you’re running for office
ronald w reagan r 1981 1989 california2
Ronald W. Reagan(R) 1981-1989 California
  • Largest # of electoral votes ever (525-13)
  • Won 49 of 50 states, only lost MN & DC
george h w bush r 1989 1993 texas
George H. W. Bush(R) 1989-1993 Texas
  • Had been Reagan’s VP
  • Easily won 1988 race vs. Michael Dukakis (Dem Gov of MA)
george h w bush r 1989 1993 texas1
George H. W. Bush(R) 1989-1993 Texas
  • End of Cold War
  • 1st Gulf War
  • Bad recession in 1992
  • Lost close 1992 race to relatively unknown southern governor
william j clinton d 1993 2001 arkansas
William J. Clinton(D) 1993-2001 Arkansas
  • Oversaw period of general prosperity
  • Republican Revolution
    • GOP took control of Congress (1994)
    • 1st time since 1954 GOP controlled the House
william j clinton d 1993 2001 arkansas1
William J. Clinton(D) 1993-2001 Arkansas
  • Reelected in 1996 over Sen Bob Dole (R, KS)
  • Ethics problems dogged presidency
william j clinton d 1993 2001 arkansas2
William J. Clinton(D) 1993-2001 Arkansas
  • Accused of perjury & obstruction of justice
  • Impeached by HR 1998
  • Acquitted by Sen 1999
2000 election
2000 Election
  • Bush – GOP Gov of TX
  • Gore – Clinton VP
  • One of closest elections in US history
  • Gore won popular vote
  • Bush won Florida by 537 votes
  • Bush won Electoral vote 271-266
george w bush r 2001 2009 texas
George W. Bush(R) 2001-2009 Texas
  • 9/11 attacks
  • Iraq & Afghanistan
  • Katrina
  • Reelected in 2004 over Sen John Kerry (D, MA)
2008 election
2008 Election
  • Senator Obama (D, IL)
  • Senator McCain (R, AZ)
  • Obama—1st African American president
  • 1st election since 1952 without sitting POTUS or VP running
  • 1st POTUS election between 2 senators
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