Gerald Ford's Presidency

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Why did Gerald Ford lose the election?

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There is one principle reason and several secondary reasons for Gerald Ford's defeat in the 1976 presidential election.

The main reason for Ford's loss was that he pardoned Richard Nixon after the Watergate scandal. Nixon resigned rather than face impeachment. Most Americans thought he should have been punished for his wrongdoing, and they never forgave Ford for his decision to issue a pardon.

One of the secondary reasons for his defeat was his lack of legitimacy: Ford had not even been elected as Vice President. When Spiro Agnew resigned the the vice presidency in 1973, Nixon chose Ford to replace him. When Nixon resigned the presidency in 1974, Ford entered the White House.

Also, Ford faced several problems during the campaign. First, Ronald Reagan challenged him for the Republican nomination and almost defeated him. Second, Ford made speaking mistakes: for example, he said that Eastern Europe was not dominated by Moscow.

A final reason for Ford's defeat was Jimmy Carter's appeal to voters who were tired from the the Vietnam War, Watergate, and economic recession. They sought change, and Carter was a quintessential outsider.

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