► [Kind of document] This document is the 1980 Ronald Reagan campaign poster. [Author] The Reagan for President Committee conceived this poster in 1979. Ronald Reagan was a B-movie actor from Hollywood, a right-winger and the 33rd Governor of California (1967-1975). He announced his candidacy for President of the United States in 1979.
► [Public targeted and aim of the document] The aim of this poster is to gain new voters and ultimately to win the race for the presidency. [Historical background] Jimmy Carter, the incumbent candidate, was held responsible for soaring inflation, high unemployment, and the hostage-taking of fifty-two Americans in the US embassy in Tehran, Iran on November 4th, 1979.
► At the top, the name of the candidate appears as in a movie poster. Actually, many Americans were already familiar with the actor from his frequent appearances in movies and on television.
► In the background, a waving American flag (or star-spangled banner) emphasizes the grandeur of the country. It convices the electorate that this greatness is not just a myth.
► In the middle ground, a depiction of the White House expresses the ambition of the candidate. A portrait of a smiling Reagan suggests a grandfatherly figure, reassuring Americans. However, he symbolizes the confidence and the superiority of the United States. He promises a restoration of the nation’s military strength and a balanced budget, at the same time.
► In the foreground, this poster features the slogan: “Let’s make America great again.” It is a call to action, highlighting interventionism to protect some countries (Afghanistan, Angola and Nicaragua) from communism.
► This combination (slogan, depictions, colours) tried to convince the electorate that Reagan was the candidate that would lead the country back to glory.
Reagan defeated Carter in a landslide victory, winning 44 million votes, or 50.7%, and 489 electoral votes to Carter’s 35.5 million votes, or 41%, and only 44 electoral votes. Within hours of his inauguration, Iran released the American hostages. Reagan set a clear direction for the country: rollback communism and strengthen national defense (SDI).