ANALYSIS OF THE U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS OF 1984 AND 2000
Introduction - The Birth of the Two Party System
Prior to the election of 1840, America did not have a two-party political system. Federalists and Democratic-Republicans contested elections in the early republic, but they were more representations of class and regional power than political parties. From 1812 to 1824, during the "era of good feelings,"
there was only one political party, and Presidents James Madison and James Monroe ran virtually unopposed (Shulman, M1).
After a 4-year interregnum in which Andrew Jackson - the man who won the most electoral votes in the election of 1824 - was denied his victory in the House of Representatives in favor of John Quincy Adams, Jacksonian Democracy - a further development of the political tendencies of the "era of good feelings" - took hold in 1828 and ran full throated to 1840. In 1840, the Whig candidate, William Henry Harrison, narrowly defeated President Martin Van Buren, and all that had gone before changed. For the first time in United States history, political power had changed hands decisively. It was the birth of the two-party system we know today. The "Hard Cider and Log Cabin Campaign" allowed the Whigs to gain mass support and compete seriously in the North and the South, in the old East and the new West (Shulman, M1).
Comparing the Elections of 1984 and 2000 - Some Considerations
Comparing the U.S. Presidential elections of 1984 and 2000 is very much a case of trying to compare apples and oranges. A more accurate comparison of the election of 1984 would be that of 1996, inasmuch as both elections featured a well-liked incumbent president at the height of his powers opposed to a relatively second-rate opponent - in the case of 1984, that being former Vice President Walter Mondale, who had been part of the team defeated by Reagan in 1980 - while in 1996 the opponent was Senator Bob Dole, a man...