Ted Kennedy - 1980 Campaign for President

1980 was the year of Ted Kennedy’s only bid for the presidency, challenging incumbent president Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination. Running for the nation’s highest office is a heavy undertaking; surely this was a difficult decision, made with great care and understanding the burdens it would involve. But being a Kennedy of his generation, he was expected to run at some point; and so the time had come.

I thought we might see Saturn testimonies, not just because of Saturn’s importance as Lord Asc and LoG. This is the year Mr. Kennedy meets the limit of his political aspirations. He would never get any closer to the presidency than he did in 1980.


The relevant charts, minus the progressions, appear in the gallery below.


In the progression to Jan 1, as if right on cue, the Part of Spirit--aka Part of Kings--begins the year conjunct natal Saturn. By year’s end it will cross natal Necessity: falling short. Progressed Moon squares natal Moon-Neptune, showing personal and emotional tension. Progressed Mars, natal Lord 10, is in a spotlight conjunct the nodal axis by antiscion, on the South Node end: diminished.


Solar Return 1980; 27.40 Virgo Asc


SR Saturn sits two degrees from this Asc while the natal Part of Captivity, the Saturn part, falls two degrees from this MC. Saturn here can be ‘me’ but it can also be ‘burdens and limits’. Natal Arc Fortuna (super-moon, ‘me’) falls by antiscion right on this SR Asc (also ‘me’) for a strong focus on self, appropriate in a year where candidate Kennedy must convince the public he is presidential. SR Mars (natal L10) is conjunct natal Moon-Neptune, testimony of how strenuous this must have been for him. Jupiter, SR Lord 7, is also conjunct, showing perhaps the constant meeting of people required in a campaign.


I find it interesting that the Sun falls on SR cusp 6, the house of the fight against life’s misfortunes. Mr. Kennedy’s August 1980 convention speech highlighted his devotion to the cause of the common man:


It is the glory and the greatness of our tradition to speak for those who have no voice, to remember those who are forgotten, to respond to the frustrations and fulfill the aspirations of all Americans seeking a better life in a better land.


Lunar Return Aug 12, 1980; 9 Cancer Asc


This Lunar Return falls on the very day of Mr. Kennedy's concession speech at the Democratic National Convention.


The Asc/Dsc axis here picks up the natal Asc/Dsc, but in reverse. Were we looking at this return ahead of time, we would know something significant was going to happen this month.


The Sun (‘me’) is in the spotlight conjunct the North Node, just as Kennedy was in the literal spotlight that night at the convention. Note that Sun is also Lord 3, the speech itself; the chart draws our attention here.  Mr. Kennedy's speech is considered one of the 100 most significant American political speeches of the 20th century.


Three testimonies signal how bittersweet and disappointing it must have been to concede the nomination to Carter. Jupiter, LR Lord 10, sits at the IC: the lowest place. Mars (natal L10) is conjunct Pluto (‘hellish’) and has just taken the Sun into fall. LR Neptune falls on natal Asc by antiscion: the ground beneath him is shaken.


Derived Lunar Return, August 3, 1980


Natal Sun falls at this Dsc, in the setting position. This is eloquent testimony for Mr. Kennedy bowing out of the race, one he would never again attempt. The Asc/Dsc axis squares natal Saturn, showing him at a personal crossroads.


DLR Sun falls by antiscion on the Moon here (in its position from the 1980 SR). Like a New Moon, this marks the end of a cycle.


Here are the final words of Mr. Kennedy’s speech. I remember how momentous it felt, listening to him then:


And may it be said of us, both in dark passages and in bright days, in the words of Tennyson that my brothers quoted and loved, and that have special meaning for me now:


‘I am a part of all that I have met

To [Tho] much is taken, much abides

That which we are, we are --

One equal temper of heroic hearts

Strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’


For me, a few hours ago, this campaign came to an end.


For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.


Of course, President Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in the November 1980 election, beginning a dark time for the American working class.


Here is the last five minutes of Mr. Kennedy’s speech on YouTube:



The entire speech is transcribed here:



Here is the verse of Tennyson’s “Ulysses” from which Mr. Kennedy quoted:


Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’

We are not now that strength which in old days

Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;

One equal temper of heroic hearts,

Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.



Above Photo By PHAN Sarna - This Image was released by the United States Navy with the ID DN-SC-90-02459. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15109300.  Cropped by me.