(52.) JOHN B. ANDERSON (1922-2017)
Defeated by Republican Ronald Reagan/George H. W. Bush, 1980
After serving 20 years as a Congressman from Illinois, Anderson entered the 1980 presidential campaign. Because of being too late in announcing his candidacy to organize a third party, he ran as an Independent.
Presenting himself to voters as a middle-of-the-road contender, he espoused both conservative and liberal policies and advocated tax incentives and business depreciation as means of economic reform. He opposed individual income tax relief and proposed a startling a startling 50 cents per gallon tax on gasoline to conserve energy, and showed less enthusiasm for defense spending than did his opponents.
Liberals noted his stand on civil right issues, his backing for the Equal Rights Amendment, and his opposition to cutting off federal funds for abortions.
Anderson encountered obstacles in his campaign, mainly lack of money and difficulties in getting into the national television debates. Likewise, he had problems in getting on the ballots in some states. His standings in the political polls rose to 25% in June but declined thereafter.