Thirty years ago today, on November 4, 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected president of the United States. He garnered 50.7 percent of the popular vote and 489 of 535 electoral votes.
The Republicans came to power in the Senate with a 53-47 majority. The House of Representatives remained in control of the Democrats, who held 243 seats to the Republicans’ 192.
The country elected new leaders because of problems both at home and abroad. The economy was in trouble -- high unemployment, high inflation (double-digit consumer price increases in 1979 and 1980) and high interest rates. Abroad, 52 hostages were being held at the U.S. Embassy in Iran, and the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan in December 1979.