Landslide

NPR

In the mid-1970s, the Republican Party looked on the verge of self-destruction. Until 1976. A political earthquake: A cutthroat, razor-close, deeply personal battle for the Republican nomination, and the party's identity. It resurrected the GOP, remade it as a conservative party, and pulled the country sharply to the right. Landslide is the story of the closest presidential primary race in American history, what followed, and how it reshaped the political parties — opening the partisan rifts that divide us today. Hosted by award-winning public radio journalist Ben Bradford. read less

Our Editor's Take

Landslide charts the events of a period in American politics that changed the world. Reporter Ben Bradford hosts the podcast. It examines the events that led up to the presidential race of 1976. Bradford uses journalistic storytelling techniques and archive footage to weave a fascinating narrative. He explains how the events of this pivotal period redefined American politics. Bradford considers how the transformation affected both parties across the political divide.

The Landslide podcast begins with the resignation of Richard Nixon in 1974. The 37th president of the United States left office in the wake of the Watergate bugging scandal. Gerald Ford faced a huge challenge as he succeeded to the presidency. Ford wasn't elected to the role, as he became vice president after Spiro Agnew had to resign from office. The public's trust in the government was at an all-time low. In addition to Watergate, there had been other crises during Nixon's presidency. These included soaring energy prices and a rise in inflation.

As the 1976 election approached, Ford faced a strong challenge from fellow Republican Ronald Reagan. Ford managed to keep the Republican nomination. However, he lost the election and presidency to Democrat Jimmy Carter. In Landslide, the podcast host examines the events that shaped this historic outcome. He explains that Reagan, a former actor, was not accepted as a political contender at first. Bradford describes how Reagan changed the public's perception of him.

In the podcast, Bradford also considers the ongoing impact of the events of the 1976 election. One such example is the birth of the "New Right" and the Republican Party's transformation into a conservative party. Divisive topics like abortion are now part of the political conversation. The events of this period marked the beginning of the modern-day "culture wars." The effects of this phenomenon continue to be evident in politics and society today.

Landslide may interest those who enjoy learning about American politics. History podcast enthusiasts might also enjoy it. New episodes are available each week.

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