At the tail end of a column criticizing Donald Trump, Charles Krauthammer argues that only Trump’s unfitness is preventing the voters from repudiating Barack Obama’s discredited presidency. “As in 1980, the status quo candidate for a failed administration is running against an outsider. The stay-the-course candidate plays his/her only available card — charging that the outsider is dangerously out of the mainstream and temperamentally unfit to command the nation.”
It’s worth noting that, in 1980, Jimmy Carter was coming off a single presidential term bereft of major domestic accomplishments, with a poor economy and approval ratings in the 30s. Barack Obama is coming off a second term, with a number of major domestic accomplishments and approval ratings climbing into the mid-50s. Conservatives began comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter eight years ago, and apparently no evidence will disabuse them of this impression. The tip-off in Krauthammer’s line is “As in 1980 … ” For conservatives of a certain age, it is always 1980.