Statement of Reagan biographer Craig Shirley on the passing of John Anderson

Statement of Reagan biographer Craig Shirley on the passing of John Anderson

December 4, 2017

John Anderson did not tip the 1980 campaign to Ronald Reagan as some falsely claim. Pollsters have told me that without Anderson in the race, his voters would have been spread proportionally between Reagan and President Carter.

Still, Anderson did much to add spice and intellectualism to the 1980 campaign and had the courage to raise questions some

other politicians were not willing to address. He was one of the first—along with George Wallace and later Ross Perot and finally Donald Trump—to identify a third voter in America—populist, anti-establishment, anti-status quo, unmoored to either party.

As a Reagan biographer and author of the most comprehensive book on the 1980 campaign, I interviewed Anderson countless times to get an often forgotten side of the election. Anderson represented very much a “third way” between the liberal Carter versus the conservative Reagan.

His most important legacy though was to always question the established order and in this he was a real patriot and a real American.

John Anderson, RIP.