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The Reagan EraA History of the 1980s$
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Doug Rossinow

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231169882

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231169882.001.0001

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Victory on Capitol Hill

Victory on Capitol Hill

(p.47) Three Victory on Capitol Hill
The Reagan Era

Doug Rossinow

Columbia University Press

This chapter considers Reagan’s first year in office. As he had triumphed with the voters in 1980; he did so with lawmakers in 1981. His success was fundamentally the result of the November 1980 election returns, which made his program’s passage certain in the Senate and likely in the House. The demoralization, division, programmatic exhaustion, and mediocre leadership of the Democratic Party also played a role. But it must be noted that Reagan, in his triumphal first year as president, did not ask Congress to take a hard path. No powerful interests opposed his program. He asked Congress to take politically attractive actions—voting huge new military expenditures and cutting taxes for everyone, most of all for the wealthy and powerful. The most controversial and least popular of his efforts had been the spending cuts, aimed mainly at the needy.

Keywords:   election, Reaganism, political success, political skills, Washington

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