Had Democrats seen more of this during the primaries, may Ted Kennedy beats President Carter in 1980. You don’t wait till the last speech of your presidential campaign to give your best speech. Especially after it’s already been decided that you aren’t going to win. Especially when you never figured out while you were running in the first place. Ted Kennedy, didn’t want to be president. Not sure his family did either, but his supporters especially the Progressive Left in the Democratic Party, wanted him to run for president. That is why, plus the facts that President Jimmy Carter, was so unpopular politically and there was a bad economy, a Democratic Congress, that Senator Ted Kennedy was obviously part of. Democrats were in serious trouble in 1980.
Looking back at it now, not sure if the Ted Kennedy presidential run hurt or helped President Carter. In a way it actually helped him, because the Democratic contest really got his reelection campaign going. And he just didn’t beat Senator Kennedy in most of the primaries, but he trounced him. Teddy, didn’t wain a major primary until March of 1980. But it hurt the President in the sense that now the party was divided between their Progressive Left and even George McGovern New-Left and their Center-Left. Their New Democratic Coalition that Jimmy Carter represented. Going up in the fall against a very united Republican Party that was all behind Ronald Reagan. And anxious to get back into power and win the White House back.