The last president to serve two terms was Jimmy Carter, who came to office in 1979, a year before the collapse of the Soviet Union and a decade before the Great Recession began.
In his second term, Carter made the economy a more efficient machine by cutting government spending, raising taxes, privatizing government assets, and loosening restrictions on trade.
He signed into law an act known as the Economic Recovery Act, which was intended to spur growth.
But it didn’t work.
Unemployment soared to 18.3 percent and the economy fell back into recession.
The economy was stuck with a budget deficit of $2.7 trillion, or $9.2 trillion in today’s dollars.
And Carter was still unpopular.
He lost the popular vote by about 2.9 million votes in November 1980, and polls showed him lagging behind his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Walter Mondale.
By December, Carter had been replaced by Gerald Ford, who was viewed as more moderate by the public, and President Ronald Reagan, who had been reelected in 1976 with a landslide.
Carter’s successor, George H.W. Bush, also had a shaky reelection bid in 1988.
But the economic recovery did not last long, and the country found itself stuck in a recession.
After a decade of recession, Carter returned to the presidency in 1993, and by 2000 he had won re-election with an approval rating of just over 60 percent.
As president, Carter was able to address a variety of economic challenges, but in his second year, he found himself under attack by conservatives for his handling of the financial crisis and for having too little regard for American workers.
In February 2001, he signed the Economic Collapse Prevention and Recovery Act into law.
The act was intended as a quick fix for a crisis that had been brewing for decades.
The law, which would also require the federal government to increase taxes on corporations and the wealthy, was widely derided as a giveaway to the wealthy and corporations.
It was a classic example of a trickle-down economics proposal, and many Americans felt it was an attack on the poor and middle class.
Many also complained that it was designed to reward corporations that would benefit from the new laws, rather than to make sure that companies that were already benefiting from the laws paid their fair share.
It didn’t help that Carter’s second term was marked by scandals, including the sale of the U.S. embassy in Egypt and the Iran hostage crisis, which led to the deaths of four Americans, including journalist James Foley.
Carter also faced criticism from many conservatives for the way he handled the Iraq war, which he argued was unnecessary and counterproductive, and for signing the National Defense Authorization Act, a controversial measure that authorized the U-2 spy plane program.
The NDAA is not only unpopular, but it also has been seen as part of a pattern of President George W. Bush’s administration to overreach in foreign policy.
And yet, even some conservatives felt that the NDAA was a worthwhile move.
“I think the president made a good decision by signing this act to try to make some changes,” said former Sen. Bob Dole, a former Republican presidential candidate.
“We’ve got a president that has said that if you’re not doing something to address our economic problems, you should have some kind of sanctions or some kind the threat of sanctions.”
Many conservatives also argued that the law had the potential to save the economy, which is in dire straits.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the act’s economic benefits would have been substantial, if not entirely offset by the costs to the country.
The CBO estimates that a $1.5 trillion stimulus package would have added an average of more than 500,000 jobs during the decade in which the law was in effect.
But for every one job added, the economy would have lost at least $1,200, according to the CBO.
The effects of the recession would have lingered for years, and some conservative critics said that the government should have paid for the cost of the stimulus instead of passing it to the private sector.
The economic downturn also damaged Carter’s reputation with conservatives, who still hold the most conservative of the major parties.
They felt that Carter was too lenient with bankers and corporations, who were being bailed out by the Federal Reserve, and that he was too friendly to big business.
Even though Carter himself had been elected president in 1976, he came under fire from some conservatives for accepting millions of dollars in campaign donations from a major union group while running for reelection.
He apologized for his behavior, and he was reelected.
In 1994, Carter signed a bill that gave workers the right to unionize.
The next year, in 1996, he helped pass the National Labor Relations Act, the law that gave Americans the right not to be fired for expressing a political viewpoint.
This law was seen as the first major