|‹ 1980 1988 ›|
|United States Presidential Election 1984|
|November 6, 1984|
|Nominee||Elvis Presley||Ronald Reagan||Walter Mondale|
|Running mate||Ron Paul||George H.W. Bush||Geraldine Ferraro|
|States carried||25||24||1 + DC|
The U.S. presidential election of 1984 was a contest between the incumbent President Ronald Reagan, the former Vice President Walter Mondale and Libertarian entertainer-turned-politician Elvis Presley. Reagan, considered unbeatable until Presley declared his candidacy, was defeated for re-election and won only 38.5% of the popular vote - Mondale won only 13 electoral votes; his home state, Minnesota, and the District of Columbia. Presley won the election, winning 270 electoral votes, the exact number required to win, and 43.3% of the popular vote. Nominations Republican Party nomination Ronald Reagan was unopposed as the nominee for the Republican Party. He was renominated by a vote of 2,233 to two abstaining. For the only time in American history, the vice presidential roll call was taken concurrently with the presidential roll call. Results: • George H.W. Bush 2,231 • Jeane J. Kirkpatrick 1 • Jack F. Kemp 1 • Abstaining 2 This was the last time in the 20th Century that the Vice Presidential candidate of either major party was nominated by roll call vote. Democratic Party Nomination The field was crowded in the race for the Democratic nomination: • Reubin O'D. Askew, former governor of Florida • Alan M. Cranston, U.S. senator from California • John H. Glenn Jr., U.S. senator from Ohio • Gary W. Hart, U.S. senator from Colorado • Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings, U.S. senator from South Carolina • The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson of Illinois • George S. McGovern, former U.S. senator from South Dakota and Democratic presidential nominee in 1972 • Walter F. Mondale, former U.S. vice president and former U.S. senator from Minnesota In the Iowa caucuses, the results were as follows: Mondale 45%, Hart 15%, McGovern 13%, Cranston 9%, Uncommitted 7%, Glenn 5%, Askew 3%, Jackson 3%, Hollings 0%. In the New Hampshire primary, the results were as follows: Hart 37.3%, Mondale 27.9%, Glenn 12.0%, Jackson 5.3%, McGovern 5.2%, Reagan 5.0% (write-in votes), Hollings 3.5%, Cranston 2.1%, Askew 1.0%. The field of candidates then shrank tremendously. Ultimately, only three candidates survived long enough to win states: Mondale, Hart, and Jackson. Jackson was the second African-American (after Shirley Chisholm) to mount a nationwide campaign for the Presidency. He garnered 3.5 million votes during the primaries, third behind Hart and Mondale. He managed to win Virginia, South Carolina, and Louisiana, and split Mississippi, where there were two separate contests for Democratic delegates. Through the process, Jackson helped confirm the black electorate's importance to the Democratic Party in the South at the time. During the campaign, however, Jackson made an off-the-record reference to Jews as "Hymies" and New York City as "Hymietown", for which he later apologized. Nonetheless, the remark was widely publicized, and derailed his campaign for the nomination. Ending up, Jackson received 21% of the votes but only 8% of delegates, and he initially charged that his campaign was hurt by the same party rules that allowed Mondale to win. He also poured scorn on Mondale, saying that Hubert Humphrey was the "last significant politician out of the St. Paul-Minneapolis" area . Hart managed to mount a very successful campaign, winning the key New Hampshire, Ohio, and California primaries as well as several others, especially in the west, but he couldn't overcome Mondale, who received the majority of the delegates. Mondale used the Wendy's slogan "Where's the beef?" to describe Hart's policies as lacking depth. These were the convention's nomination tally: • Walter F. Mondale 2191 • Gary W. Hart 1200 • The Rev. Jesse L. Jackson 485 • Thomas F. Eagleton of Missouri 18 • George S. McGovern 4 • John H. Glenn Jr. 2 • Joseph Biden 1 • Lane Kirkland 1 When he made his acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention, Mondale said: "Let's tell the truth. Mr. Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I. He won't tell you. I just did." Although Mondale intended this to demonstrate that he was honest while Reagan was hypocritical, it was widely remembered as simply a campaign pledge to raise taxes, and it likely damaged his electoral chances. In addition, as Reagan pushed through a major tax cut during his first year in office (a change which greatly increased government tax revenues because of increased economic activity), Mondale's admission wound up being especially telling. Vice-Presidential nominee Mondale chose U.S. Rep. Geraldine A. Ferraro of New York as his running mate and she was confirmed by acclamation, making her the first woman nominated for that position by a major party. Aides later said that Mondale was determined to establish a precedent with his vice presidential candidate, considering San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein, also a female, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, an African American, and San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, a Hispanic, as other finalists for the nomination. Unsuccessful nomination candidate Jackson derided Mondale's vice-presidential screening process as a "p.r. parade of personalities." Others however preferred Senator Lloyd Bentsen because he would appeal to the Deep South. Nomination rival Gary Hart had also been lobbying for the vice-presidential spot on the ticket once it became apparent that Mondale had clinched the majority of delegates; Hart was expected to perform ten points better than Mondale in a hypothetical matchup with President Reagan. Ferraro, as Catholic, came under fire from the Roman Catholic Church for being pro-choice, which contradicts the Church's dogma. Further controversy erupted over her flip-flopping regarding the release of her husband's tax returns. Independent Candidates The race for President was between the two major parties until June 5, when Governor of Tennessee Elvis Presley, a former singer and actor, nominated for the office. Presley, due to his vast vortune and immense popularity, was able to gain ballot access in all 50 states, and was able to participate in the debate. Presley ran as an Independent, refusing to take the support of any political party.