I miss Atwater. He was a genius.
Again, what did Atwater have to do with electing Ronald Reagan?
After the 1980 election, Atwater went to Washington and became an aide in the Ronald Reagan administration, working under political director Ed Rollins. In 1984, Rollins managed Reagan's re-election campaign, and Atwater became the campaign's deputy director and political director. Rollins tells several Atwater stories in his 1996 book Bare Knuckles and Back Rooms. He states that Atwater ran a dirty tricks operation against vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro, including publicizing the fact that Ferraro's parents had been indicted on numbers running in the 1940s. Rollins also described Atwater as "ruthless," "Ollie North in civilian clothes," and someone who "just had to drive in one more stake."
During his years in Washington, Atwater became aligned with Vice President George H.W. Bush, who chose Atwater to manage his 1988 presidential campaign.