Michael Probst / Reuters

The First Term: The Reagan Road to Détente

The conventional wisdom has it that Ronald Reagan was elected to his first term in 1980 largely on the strength of economic considerations. Yet there can be no doubt that a good many voters supported him because they had been growing increasingly worried about the decline of American power and resolve in the face of the growing power and aggressiveness of the Soviet Union. Nor is there any doubt that these voters included a significant number of life-long Democrats (I myself among them), who saw in the Carter Administration—and especially in Mr. Carter's announcement shortly after taking office that it was …

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