I first voted in the 1976 election. I voted for Ford. I was sorry he lost, but not real broken up about it. I didn’t consider Carter or the dems in general to be fiscally responsible.
1980 I voted for Anderson, the former republican who ran as a 3rd party. Fiscally conservative, socially liberal, it fit my outlook. Reagan was too damn conservative socially for my taste, and his reliance on the “miracle of the marketplace” wasn’t something I trusted anymore. But I couldn’t vote for Carter. No regrets.
1984 I couldn’t bring myself to vote for Reagan or Mondale. I was on call all that day anyway, and never left Mr. Hospital.
1988 I voted for Bush the elder, as he seemed to represent all I held dear about Republicanism. More socially liberal than Reagan. Also, he had a hell of a resume. The photo of Dukakis in the tank just didn’t work for me. Tho I recognized the Willie Horton stuff as politics at its sleaziest.
1992 I broke with the pubs and voted for my first Democrat for national office ever. I had severe Bush fatigue (at least I thought it was severe, until now!) and didn’t like how his handlers said that they would use his war victory to punish the dissenters to their new regime. His handling of the economy struck me and helpful only to those who already had wealth while harming poor and middle-income workers. I also distrusted Gingrich with his message of social conservativism. Clinton just struck a chord with me.
1996 Clinton again, no question. I’d liked what he’d done, mostly. I respected Dole, but didn’t want to see him as president.
2000 I voted for the guy who won the popular vote, Gore. Bush the lesser never impressed me, in his speeches, in his actions, or with his record. Not happy about how that turned out.
2004 Voted for Kerry. I respected the man, but he didn’t excite me much. However, I don’t think the dems could have fielded a candidate that could have made me vote for Bush. If they’d nominated Sharpton I might have sat out the election.
So, no real regrets at all. Except maybe I should have gotten out of the hospital and voted for Mondale after all. And I consider Carter to be a very, very good man, and one of our most successful ex-presidents and I respect him greatly, but his presidency was not a successful one in my mind.
I would one day like to see the republicans return to their roots of fiscal responsibility while shedding their desire to legislate all private morality but I don’t think it will happen. I consider myself an independent who generally votes for the democratic candidate as the lesser of two distasteful choices these days.