Theo Lippman Jr.

October 28, 1992|By Theo Lippman Jr.

This is the 52nd presidential election.

The 48th was held in 1976. The incumbent, Gerald Ford, was the first president who had not been on a national ticket. Congress chose him to be vice president in 1973 under a new constitutional amendment after Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned in a pay-offs scandal. In 1974 Ford succeeded Richard Nixon, who resigned to avoid impeachment for his role in the Watergate scandal.

Ford was challenged by former California Gov. Ronald Reagan in the primaries and barely won the nomination. Former Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter won the Democratic nomination. He was the first major-party nominee from the Deep South since before the Civil War.

Campaigning on the theme of giving Americans ''a government as good as its people,'' Carter used the public disgust with Washington corruption (and Ford's pardon-in-advance of Nixon for Watergate-related crimes), to win the narrowest electoral vote victory (297-240) in 60 years.

Regional pride provided the winning votes, as five Southern states which had not voted Democratic in the previous three elections (and would not in the next three) swung into his column.

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