Decision 1980: A Referendum on America
During President Carter’s first term in office, America faces many crises.
At home, Americans are facing stagflation: a phenomenon so devastating that economists believed it to be impossible. High inflation, low economic growth and high unemployment plague the U.S. economy. An energy crisis at home, spurred by war in Israel, rocks the nation and a national “crisis of confidence” rocks trust in the Carter administration. Abroad, a fundamentalist government in Iran takes fifty-two Americans hostage in their embassy, following the overthrow of the U.S.-backed Shah. As American flags burn in the streets of Tehran, the Soviet Union invades Afghanistan, attempting to bring communism to the Middle East. To the dismay of their archrivals, the U.S. responded with a boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games, which polarized the voting public.
After facing Ted Kennedy in a rocky and unprecedented primary, Carter is ready to lead the Democratic ticket and defend American liberalism. On the right, Ronald Reagan, Governor of California, triumphs in the packed and hotly contested Republican field. Will Reagan awake the silent majority and convince Americans to support supply-side economics and hawkish foreign policy? Or will Carter defend his dovish record and defeat the right?