The first presidential election I remember is Carter vs. Ford in 1976. I’d met President Ford. He was what a president is supposed to look like to a seven-year-old*: old, white hair, patrician. We saw him at an Air Force Base. He walked along the line of people shaking every third or fourth hand, and I was worried he would miss mine, so I shoved it at him and he did, in fact, shake it. He seemed like a nice enough guy. To grade school kids, Jimmy Carter was all about peanuts. A political conversation might go like this:
Billy: Who do you want for president?
Mikey: Jimmy Carter.
Billy: He eats peanuts!
We didn’t have very sophisticated views on things, and were thus well prepared for the political dialogue that would surround elections throughout our adult lives.
*Fortunately, seven-year-olds no longer have that white/male presumption about their presidents.