In 1976, Americans were weary of political figures and the government in general. Between the unpopular Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, voters were primed for a Washington outsider to take control.
The Democrats found that D.C. outsider in peanut farmer turned governor, Jimmy Carter. The Republicans stuck with their incumbent, Gerald Ford. Ford had never been elected. He was appointed vice president and then took over the presidency when Nixon resigned. Ford’s pardon of Nixon, paired with some unfortunate gaffes, made for a tough campaign. Carter’s campaign also hit some road bumps, most notably an ill-conceived interview with Playboy magazine. It was a close election, but in the end Jimmy Carter won, becoming our 39th president.