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RUSH: Yesterday on this program I discussed the 1980 election, Ronaldus Magnus and Jimmy Carter, and in it I described the election night coverage that night and how I will never forget it. Because this was the election that they called it for Reagan before California had even closed the polls, it was such a landslide. 

Yet the last polling data going into the election in 1980 had Jimmy Carter winning by nine points.  And so Cookie went back to the archives and got a bunch of audio from John Chancellor, Judy Woodruff, Tom Brokaw and David Brinkley on NBC’s election night coverage of 1980 simply because of the way I had described it yesterday.  It was even discussed on Fox & Friends today.  So we’ll start with those two just to set it up. 

Here first is it Brian Kilmeade from this morning, audio sound bite number four…

KILMEADE:  Rush Limbaugh, the most impactful radio host in the history of man, weighed in.

RUSH ARCHIVE:  The polling data in 1980 had Jimmy Carter nine points, winning by nine points, four or five days out.  I will never forget that election night, folks. In 1980 it was so bad for the Democrats — they got skunked so bad — Jimmy Carter conceded before 10 p.m. Eastern time.  Those three networks, you should have seen the long faces and all of the reporters that were at various campaign headquarter locations.

RUSH:  Next up, Steve Doocy, same program, Fox & Friends this morning…

STEVE DOOCY:  I was driving around yesterday when Rush was talking about that.  Look, the mainstream media says the race is over.  We’ve seen too many elections where at the last minute for some reason, something moves the needle and the candidate bounced back.  It’s not over.  All depends on who goes out to vote.

AINSLEY EARHARDT:  Rush was saying the Democrats, they think they wrapped it up, that Trump is history, and he said that’s why Hillary Clinton and her camp, they’re now moving into the red states like Texas and Utah.  They think they’ve wrapped it up in the blue states.

RUSH:  Right.  They’re either doing that for psychological purposes, or they actually think they’ve won and now they’re heading up there to try to sew up the House and Senate.  So this is a treat, folks.  I’m happy to be able to share this with you.  Election night coverage November 4th, 1980, NBC. We start with the late John Chancellor.  John “Chance’eh’or,” as Tom Brokaw pronounced his name. John Chancellor.

John Chancellor was an anchor and then he became one of these anchors emeritus, retired but always around during the big events. He became commentator, threw his opinion in there when it was identified as opinion. He always threw his opinion in there, but they gave him the opportunity to say this is his opinion later on.  But this is in the meat of his career where he is anchoring and reporting and all that, and our first sound bite is with John Chancellor.

CHANCELLOR:  Good evening, and welcome to NBC News’ coverage of 1980 presidential election.  Our team of correspondents, analysts, pollsters, and commentators is assembled here in New York and around the country to see if Jimmy Carter can win reelection or if Ronald Reagan will be going to the Oval Office.  We have been polling around the country in the key states, NBC News and the Associated Press, and what we’re learning in the key states is that makes us believe that Ronald Reagan will win a very substantial victory tonight. Very substantial.  That’s our belief as of the moment based on polls in key states.

RUSH:  That was how coverage opened.  And he was talking about the exit polls.  AP and the networks all combined to pay for and conduct the exit polls back in 1980, and it’s still the case pretty much ’til today.  But how rare is it to have the election-night coverage kick off with: Folks, it looks bleak out there if you’re a Jimmy Carter fan.  We’re learning here in our research, in our election polling out there, makes us believe that Ronaldus Magnus “will win a very substantial victory tonight. Very substantial. That’s our belief as of the moment.” 

Up next was Judy Woodruff.  She, at the time, was the White House correspondent for NBC News, which means that she was very, very tight with the Carter administration people.

WOODRUFF:  The only way to describe the mood here at the White House, John, is just to say that it’s very sad.  Perhaps the best indicator was Jody Powell’s teenage daughter, Emily, who I saw a few minutes ago with tears in her eyes.  It does seem obvious that the miracle story of Jimmy Carter, the unknown Georgia governor who finally made it to the White House, is — is just about at an end.

RUSH:  See, they can’t… Even though Reagan is winning a landslide here, it’s all still from the perspective of Jimmy Carter and how sad that it is, how unfortunate. Jody Powell’s daughter was in tears! “[T]he miracle story of Jimmy Carter, the unknown Georgia [peanut farmer] governor who finally made it to the White House … is just about to end.” Up next, Tom Brokaw, NBC election night coverage, 1980.

BROKAW:  John, there’s been a lot of talk in the course of this election that someone may win an electoral victory but not the popular vote here tonight.  We’re gonna somehow the popular vote right now and show you that Ronald Reagan is not only running ahead in the electoral vote but he is running substantially ahead in the popular vote as well.  Three percent of the precincts reporting in nationwide, Ronald Reagan with a percentage lead of about 11 points now over President Jimmy Carter.

RUSH:  Three percent of the precincts nationwide, Reagan was up by 11 over President Carter.  They’re on the verge of calling it.  We go back to John Chancellor.

CHANCELLOR:  Well, the time has come.  You’ve seen the map, we’ve looked at the figures, and NBC News now makes its projection for the presidency.  Reagan is our projected winner.  Ronald Wilson Reagan of California — a sports announcer, a film actor, a governor of California — is our projected winner at 8:15 Eastern Standard Time on this election night.

BROKAW:  It certainly is 8:15 on election night.  This race has been volatile, mercurial, fluid, whatever, but I don’t think anyone anticipated that it eventually would become a floodgate.  I can’t help but recall in 1966 riding around in a Greyhound bus with him as he was trying to win the Republican nomination for governor of California and a lot of people were laughing at him then.  1966.  And they have learned in every election in which he’s been involved, never laugh at the chances of Ronald Reagan.

RUSH:  Did you hear? It was 8:15 folks. An hour and fifteen minutes after they went on the air, it’s over, and they could have called it the first five minutes after they went on the air.  We still have to hear from David Brinkley, which we will do after this.


RUSH: Back to our special coverage of NBC special coverage, election night 1980.  Our last sound bite comes from David Brinkley, who at the end of the evening, he was the resident experienced guru at NBC at the time.  This was not long before he left, went over to ABC.  And our final bite, after they’ve declared Reagan the winner, after just an hour and 15 minutes of coverage, 8:15 p.m. they made the declaration, Brinkley decided he needed to ask a question and make some observations of the other NBC journalists.

BRINKLEY:  I’d like to ask a question of you folks.  We have here what I think reasonably could be called a landslide or certainly something approaching a landslide.  Where did it come from?  Nobody anticipated it.  No polls predicted it.  No one saw it coming.  How did that happen?  I don’t want to knock the polls, because I believe in them, and they generally do very good work.  One thing I wondered.  Have a lot of people — did a lot of people decide to vote for Reagan, but didn’t want to say so?

BROKAW:  Well, that’s always been a factor.  He’s an actor, after all.  A lot of people have made fun of him, and maybe I ought not be publicly in favor of him.

BRINKLEY:  Again, don’t want to pick on the polls, but there was none of this insight. 

RUSH:  They were bamboozled!  They couldn’t figure it out!  Reagan was an actor!  The polls didn’t say anything this was gonna happen.  They were beside themselves!  He was an actor, he was a sports announcer.  Could it have been, Brinkley wanted to know, could it have been that a lot of people decided to vote for Reagan, didn’t want to say so? 

We talk about the margin of error, but we need to talk about the margin of shame, and that is how many people are just ashamed to tell voters they’re gonna vote for Trump versus how many people were ashamed to tell these pollsters they’re gonna vote for Reagan.  They were doing to Reagan what they’re doing to Trump, folks.


RUSH:  No, no, no.  Don’t misunderstand.  I’m not predicting anything here.  I stand by what I said yesterday:  I don’t know, folks.  I just don’t know.  I know what I wish for, I know what I hope is happening, but I don’t know.  I can’t come here with ontological certitude, bravado, and confidence and predict to you what’s gonna happen.  I could.  I could.  But I would have to do it with a proviso or a caveat.  I just find this interesting that Reagan was regarded much the way Trump is except Reagan was governor of California. 

He had run for the nomination the Republican Party in ’76.  But he was laughed at.  They thought he was dumb then.  They thought he was slow minded and dim-witted back then.  They thought he couldn’t speak.  They thought Reagan — amazingly, a guy that later became known as the Great Communicator — couldn’t speak. He couldn’t communicate with people. He paused. He seemed to lose his train of thought halfway through his sentence.  It’s incredible, the similarity in media treatment and Democrat Party.

There was disgust. There was not taking him seriously as a buffoon. I mean, Tip O’Neill, even after he became president, called him “an amiable dunce,” which is what the Democrats always do.  The way the Democrats try to dispirit everybody and impugn people is basically insult their intelligence.  If you’re not Democrat, if you’re not liberal, you’re an idiot. You’re kook. Something’s wrong with you.  Reagan got that same kind of treatment — and Jimmy Carter, of course, was beloved. 

Peanut farmer. Came out of nowhere, governor of Georgia.  Normally Democrats hate Southern accents, ’cause Southern accents equals Deliverance, equals hayseed, equals idiot. But if it’s one of them… But you had to look the other way with Jimmy Carter and then here came Bill Clinton later.  So depending on where the Southern accent’s from, they’ll make an exception and not be prejudicial about it.  But for the most part, a Southern accent may as well be a slave owner as far as Democrats are concerned; they want no part of it. 

But they loved Jimmy Carter, even though — and, by the way, take a look at some economic circumstances.  In 1980, the economy of this country was in the tank after four years of Jimmy Carter.  I mean, it was desperately bad.  Unemployment was sky-high.  Interest rates, unlike today, were sky-high. Fourteen percent interest rate on a mortgage, for example, and 18% on a car loan.  It was just incredible.  Carter had seen us through a couple of near-depression recessions, all of this coming out of Watergate, which happened in 1972. 

We had energy crisis after energy crisis.  We had gasoline lines at gas stations.  We had the price of gasoline was skyrocketing percentage basis. It had a genuine impact on people’s standard of living, and they couldn’t find work.  The welfare state was still the welfare state, but we didn’t have anywhere near the unemployed and out of work doing as well financially in 1980 as we do today, and this is a fundamental difference.  In this year, 2016, we have 94 million Americans not working

They’re not panicked like the unemployed in 1980, ’79, ’78 were. Because in 1978, ’79, if you were unemployed, you didn’t have an phone, you didn’t have a big-screen TV, you didn’t have air-conditioned house, and you weren’t guaranteed to be eating three meals a day.  You had welfare, you had unemployment, but you didn’t have the kind of government support system/safety nets that exist today.  So that’s a difference.  But today the economic circumstances really no different. 

Most of the new jobs that people are getting are part time because of Obamacare. Obamacare is falling out exactly as it was designed.  To show you how bad this really is, these people announce idea that the average Obamacare premium is going up 25% next year, and they do this two weeks before the election.  Now, normally they would try to hide this until the day after or the week after the election, but they can’t. 

The problem here is that it’s not 25%. That’s an average.  In some states, premiums are going up 116%.  In Texas they’re going up 70 or 80%.  In Wisconsin, it’s off the charts how much health care premiums are skyrocketing.  Nobody can afford it.  Nobody’s gonna be able to.  You add to that — and remember, now, this was pitched, Obama lied to everybody.  Premiums are gonna come down $2500.  If you like your doctor, your plan, you get to keep it? There isn’t gonna be any interruption in what you have and you like it?

All lies. 

Health care is in as bad a shape as it has ever been after eight years of Barack Obama and the Democrat Party running it and running the US economy.  But in this day and age, even though it’s got his name on it, for some reason it just doesn’t attach to him in terms of accountability as it should.  It is his legislation.  And the Republicans had nothing to do with passing it.  There wasn’t a single Republican vote for it.  In 2010, the Republicans didn’t even have enough votes to stop it.  That’s how outnumbered they were after the ’08 election in the Senate.

They certainly got the numbers in the House, 2010 midterms, but not in the Senate. There was no way they were gonna override any veto.  They couldn’t stop it. So now it’s fully implemented.  What people don’t know is this is exactly what was supposed to happen.  You know in Philadelphia we’re down to two insurers, only two companies you can buy health care from.  And if you have a penalty if you don’t buy but you can’t afford to buy.

It’s an absolute disaster.  Other areas of the economy are a disaster.  Economic growth? There isn’t any.  It’s 1% per quarter, a 4% growth rate per year if we’re lucky.  There is no expansion.  There is no productivity increase.  There isn’t a sense of well-being and optimism about the nation’s future, but that hasn’t attached itself to the Democrats for some reason.  They are not accountable.  It certainly hasn’t attached itself to Obamacare. 

That’s why Mrs. Clinton can run around and talk about the need to improve the economy.  She ought to be dead politically on that score right there.  She ought not be able to cite the economy at all as a positive.  She ought not have any credibility at all on the economy.  She and the Democrat Party have overseen the destruction of one of the greatest systems of health care in the world: Ours.  But there are similarities.  The economy’s in bad shape. Unemployment is not as bad by number. 

The unemployment rate back in the 1980 election was honestly reported.  It was double digits.  It’s the same thing now but they’ve jiggered with the way the system is calculated, the number is calculated, and so it’s reported as like 5%. It’s not 5%, but low-information people see that it’s 5%.  So it doesn’t have the same degree of impact.  But life experience is the same.  I mean, people are living the misery. Yeah, the open borders, illegal immigrants crossing, depressing wages.

They’re doing working that doesn’t cost much for employers to hire them. They’re not skilled; they’re not educated. They can’t command high wages, depressing wages for the American people.  Then you get into Trump’s riff about all these jobs that have left the country because of NAFTA and other things.  I mean, it’s not pretty out there.  It literally isn’t pretty.  And you have a candidate on the Republican side running against the system.  Reagan did, too. 

They’re wanting to blow it up and start over.  Reagan comes out of nowhere, at least as far as these people are concerned in the establishment.  I cannot emphasize for you, folks, ’cause I know many of you were not paying attention in 1980.  You might have been alive. Even if you were, you don’t remember it.  That’s why we went back to the audio archives.  I’m telling you, back in 1980, the media and the Washington-New York establishment was as disdainful of Ronald Reagan as they are of Trump.  

I’ll tell you something else, and certainly you’re not gonna remember this because the media landscape wasn’t the same.  But the Republican establishment hated Ronald Reagan too, just like the Democrat establishment did.  There was a burgeoning conservative movement back in 1980 which was not bifurcated and split up and there were not any internecine wars going on.  It was basically led by William F. Buckley and his magazine, National Review, and Reagan.  They were the figureheads, leaders, and everybody was enthused and signing up and joining the cause. There were knock-offs happening, other magazines started up to mimic National Review, but there was nobody in broadcast media that was conservative.  It was ABC, CBS, NBC. 

Reagan didn’t have a Fox News equivalent, didn’t have a talk radio equivalent.  And the conservative movement back then was all-in for Reagan.  Might have been some outliers that weren’t, jealously or whatever the reason, but for the most part the conservative movement back then was unified around the concept of defeating Democrats.  The conservative movement today is not so unified.  The conservative movement is not today oriented around the concept of beating Democrats. 

They have other objectives.  There are many different objectives, and so therefore there’s not unity on the Republican side either among Republican Party just itself or the Republican Party conservative movement or the conservative movement by itself.  There just isn’t any unity.  And yet on the Democrat side — Morning Update today featured all kinds of things that various groups, constituent groups in the Democrat left are doing that are frowned upon.  But the Democrat Party’s not throwing those groups overboard.  They’re accepting them and everybody’s unifying around the concept of defeating us. 

We don’t do that.  We haven’t done that since Reagan, actually.  They want to try to tie this to New Media and Fox News and talk radio.  Reagan leaves in 1989, and that’s when coincidentally I show up, and that’s when all these internecine wars within the conservative movement, and then Buckley died.  That’s when all these intramural, internecine wars began for primacy, dominance, smartest guy-in-the-room competitions began in the conservative movement. 

So there’s some differences, is my point.  Back in 1980, the conservative movement was all-in for Reagan.  It was the result of the Goldwater landslide defeat and the ensuing years from 1964.  The Republican Party was not all-in for Reagan.  They were not as opposed to Reagan as they are Trump, don’t misunderstand.  And once Reagan won, they all wanted to be on the team.  It was a landslide.  Everybody wants to bask in that glow.  And then as the Reagan years began, then the Republicans, certain members of the party began to individually fall out and start talking about problems they had, secretly telling the media they thought Reagan was a dunce and a danger to world peace, adopting the Democrat line that Reagan’s finger on the nuclear button couldn’t be trusted. 

So nothing really that uniquely different among the Republican Party establishment.  Never liked conservatives, never was really all-in for Reagan except after landslide elections, as I say, that’s a bright light everybody wants to shine in it.  The difference is the conservative movement back then was of singular mind and purpose, and that was promoting itself, expanding itself, persuading people to join it, and defeating the left.  That doesn’t exist today. 

So there are some differences.  And I’m not trying, by playing these bites, I’m not trying to say that we’re facing or looking at a likely repeat of history. It would be great if we were.  I’m just playing the bites to show you that polls can be wrong in identical circumstances or circumstances close might be repetitive.  


RUSH: I want you to listen to sound bite number 10 one more time.  David Brinkley, about an hour-and-a-half into election coverage in 1980, around 8:30 Eastern time, Reagan has won in a landslide.  California polls are still an hour-and-a-half away from closing!  Carter has conceded, and they can’t figure it out. 

BRINKLEY:  I’d like to ask a question of you folks.  We have here what I think reasonably could be called a landslide or certainly something approaching a landslide.  Where did it come from?  Nobody anticipated it.  No polls predicted it.  No one saw it coming.  How did that happen?  I don’t want to knock the polls, because I believe in them, and they generally do very good work.  One thing I wondered.  Have a lot of people — did a lot of people decide to vote for Reagan, but didn’t want to say so?

BROKAW:  Well, that’s always been a factor.  He’s an actor, after all.  A lot of people have made fun of him, and maybe I ought not be publicly in favor of him.

BRINKLEY:  Again, I don’t want to pick on the polls, but there was none of this insight. 

RUSH: (imitating Brinkley)”I don’t want to pick on the polls, but they didn’t tell us this, they didn’t give us any indication of this.  There’s a lot of people that voted for Reagan didn’t want to say so?”  Clearly could be happening this year.  They are shaming Trump so much that it might be causing a lot of people to not say they’re voting for Trump ’cause they don’t want to give any sort of idea here. 

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