Let's remember Reagan while we wait for Pennsylvania
As we count the 2020 vote, let me tell you a story about another election that meant a great deal to me. Like many Cuban-Americans, I had grown up hearing that it was better to vote Republican. It was Ronald Reagan who took it to the next level. He made it cool to talk about free markets and small government.
Back in November 1980, I was a volunteer on the Reagan-Bush team. On Friday night, I worked a phone bank, and all the senior people were talking about a close election. A few days before, we had seen Reagan debate President Carter, but the impact of "there you go again" was still unclear. I guess we did not see the impact of that debate until real people voted.
On Election Day, I voted early, went to work, and then listened to the radio for any detail I could find.
At 7:00 P.M., I tuned in to the TV, expecting to stay up all night, as I had in 1976, when the Ford-Carter contest literally went into the middle of the next day.
Around 7:00 P.M., the Eastern results came in, and President Carter looked weak. By 9:00, the Southern results started projecting a Reagan victory. By 11:00, the Western results made it a landslide.
The Reagan-Bush team got 489 electoral votes and almost 44 million votes. It was amazing, to say the least.
Of course, the next part was even better. The GOP picked up Senate seats and ended up with a majority for the first time in years.
A few days later, I moved to Mexico City to start a banking assignment. Down south of the border, everyone in Mexico was curious as to how Reagan had done it. I had a lot fun explaining the victory. Last, but not least, President Carter was seen as a weak leader, and many remembered that Reagan had been a good and popular Governor Reagan of California.