November 9, 1980 – the end of a tumultuous week in politics. The Reagan landslide. The election which was called before the polls closed on the West Coast, where Jimmy Carter called Ronald Reagan to offer his congratulations and assistance in the transition and gave his concession speech to supporters in Washington even while voting was still going on. An election which the pundits and pollsters said was going to be “too close to call” but which became anything but, with some 489 Electoral votes going to Reagan and only 49 going to Carter, and none to third Party candidate John Anderson.
In contrast to the gloom at Carter Headquarters in Washington, it was a scene of jubilant celebration in Los Angeles, where supporters cheered Reagan as he went before them to give his victory speech. Celebrating too were some 13 newly elected Republican Senators, the first time the GOP held a majority since 1954. Being swept out were Democratic veterans Birch Bayh, Warren Magnusen, Frank Church, Herman Talmadge and George McGovern, who was Democratic Presidential nominee 8 years earlier. McGovern commented that it was unprecedented, the level of virulence and extremism, that had taken over the Political process; for perhaps the first time in history. McGovern was one of six Liberal Democrats who were targeted for defeat by a group called The National Conservative Political Action Committee – of the six, only Alan Cranston and Thomas Eagleton were re-elected.
The overseas view of the election, initially had no enthusiasm for either Carter or Reagan were now speaking hopefully about the man who won. Conservative governments such as that of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, seemed convinced that Reagan would provide more leadership for the Western World. Socialist governments in West Germany and Scandinavia were concerned that relations with the Soviet Union might turn from detente to confrontation, bugt politicians in those countries said Mr. Reagan might not turn out to be the Cold Warrior they feared he would be. All of Europe was impressed by the size of his victory. The government of Iran, meanwhile, condemned both candidates, but were obviously unhappy about President-elect Reagan. Tehran Radio was heard in London condemning him as a “Fascist Cowboy”, and it appeared the results of the election had slowed down the release of the 52 American hostages.
And that’s how this week unfolded on November 9, 1980 as reported by CBS News and World News This Week.