George Bush Sr and Walter Mondale, the main candidates in the election.

The 1983 US Presidential Election was held between the incumbent, George Bush, for the Republicans and Walter Mondale for the Democrats. Mondale won by a long margin.


Bush proposed continuing his current policies, in particular the economic policy nicknamed Bush's Law, whereas Mondale's policies, which were more in accordance with the politics of his previous running mate Jimmy Carter. For example, they were more dove-ish with respect to defence.

Analysis of Result

Bush was seen as a caretaker present and appeared to lack purpose. He was also perceived as unelected because he had stepped into Reagan's shoes after the assassination, which paradoxically worked against him. At the same time, Reagan's administration had been perceived as insufficiently "serious" due to the assassinated president's Hollywood connections.

The fact that Bush lost also led to the perception that economic policies such as Bush's Law were election losers and future parties and candidates in the developed world were too cautious to pursue such policies openly. Hence the Reagan-Bush presidency, like the Thatcher government in the UK, represents an aberrant "blip" in political history in the developed world.

Bush's loss of the presidency has also been cited as a reason for Thatcher's notorious "U-Turn" in late 1983.

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