Ford's Shaky Incumbency.
In 1974, when he began his presidency, Gerald Ford expressed little interest in running for the office in his own right. Convinced that a caretaker president was virtually powerless, he quickly changed his mind and by the summer of 1975 had declared his candidacy in the next year's election. Ford had little record on which to run. His chief asset, his personal integrity, had been compromised with his pardon of Nixon. His effectiveness as a policy maker was undermined by a Democratic Congress, insisting on reasserting its constitutional power after Watergate. In foreign affairs Ford had overseen the collapse of South Vietnam, in domestic affairs the collapse of the economy. Ford was an unusually vulnerable incumbent, by no means certain of his party's nomination.
Challenge from the Right.
The foremost challenge to Ford's nomination came from GOP conservatives. Even before Ford's presidency,...
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