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Election of 1996: Ross Perot Made It Interesting

Election of 1996:  Ross Perot Made It Interesting

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In the election of 1996, the Democrats were aided by a good economy and stable international affairs, as well as the momentum of an incumbency in the White House. Ross Perot ran again, this time with the support of the Reform Party, but gathered less than half the support he did in 1992.Senator Robert Dole of Kansas had the mantle of leadership for the Republican Party as their leader in the United States Senate. Once again, Pat Buchanan ran as a conservative alternative to mainstream Republicanism, and his campaign required Dole to focus on primary problems at a time when Clinton could raise money with the sole purpose of a strong general election campaign.At the 1996 Republican national convention in San Diego, held from August 12 to August 15, the delegates gave the nomination for president to Bob Dole, who picked as his running mate Jack Kemp, a former congressman from Buffalo, New York. Kemp was highly regarded in conservative circles for his views on taxes, and the Dole-Kemp campaign proposed a sharp cut in federal tax rates.There was no significant opposition to the renomination of President Clinton and Vice-President Gore by the 1996 Democratic convention delegates, who met in Chicago between August 26 and August 29. The successful convention managed to erase many of the bad memories from the violent 1968 convention in the same city.During the campaign, the Democrats used several tactics against the Republican ticket. Dole did not help himself when he fell onstage at a campaign event, and inadvertently referred to the "Brooklyn Dodgers," who had moved to Los Angeles three decades earlier.Ross Perot this time had the support of an official party, but his message was not as well received as in the election of 1992. Excluded from the presidential debates in 1992, Ross Perot gathered less than half his 1992 popular vote percentage and was not a factor in any subsequent campaigns.Ralph Nader was the candidate of the Green parties in several states and gathered less than 1% of the vote. His candidacy had no significant impact, in stark contrast with the situation in the election of 2000.On election day, November 5, 1996, Clinton and Gore won both the popular and electoral college contests by wide margin. Once again, Perot's votes took enough away from Clinton that he was denied a popular majority, gaining a fraction more than 49% of the popular vote.On the Congressional level, Democrats were not able to take over control of either house. They picked up 9 seats in the House, and had a tiny majority of the popular vote, but actually lost two more seats in the Senate, where they wound up behind the Republicans by 55 to 45.

Election of 1996
Bill Clinton (AR)
Al Gore (TN)
Bob Dole (KS)
Jack Kemp (NY)
H. Ross Perot (TX)
Pat Choate (DC)

Ross Perot

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Ross Perot, in full Henry Ross Perot, (born June 27, 1930, Texarkana, Texas, U.S.—died July 9, 2019, Dallas, Texas), American businessman and philanthropist who ran as an independent candidate for U.S. president in 1992 and 1996.

He was the son of a cotton broker. Perot attended Texarkana Junior College for two years before entering the United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland, in 1949. He was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in 1953 and served until 1957, after which he worked as a salesman for International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).

In 1962 Perot quit IBM and formed his own company, Electronic Data Systems (EDS), to design, install, and operate computer data-processing systems for clients on a contractual basis. EDS grew by processing medical claims for Blue Cross and other large insurance companies, and in 1968 Perot took the firm public in a shrewdly managed share offering whose skyrocketing prices yielded Perot, the majority shareholder, several hundred million dollars. EDS continued to prosper under his leadership, and in 1984 Perot sold the company to General Motors for $2.5 billion worth of special-issue stock and a seat on GM’s board of directors. Perot’s criticism of GM’s management prompted them to buy back his seat for $700 million in 1986.

In 1969 Perot mounted an unsuccessful campaign to free American prisoners of war being held in North Vietnam. In 1979 he sponsored efforts to rescue two EDS employees who were being held in prison in Iran.

The campaign

Clinton had won his first term in 1992 against incumbent Republican George Bush with only 43 percent of the vote, as independent Ross Perot had won nearly 19 percent. Two years into Clinton’s term the Democrats lost their majority in the House of Representatives for the first time since the 1950s, and many pundits believed that Clinton, whose public support had dwindled because of some early missteps—particularly on health care and on his proposal for allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military (the “ Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” compromise was eventually secured)—would be a one-term president.

However, the Republicans in Congress, led by House speaker Newt Gingrich, often pursued policies in an uncompromising and confrontational manner. In particular, after a budget impasse between the Republicans and Clinton in 1995 and 1996—which forced two partial government shutdowns, including one for 22 days (the longest closure of government operations up to that time, it was surpassed by a 34-day shutdown in 2018–19)—Clinton won considerable public support for his more moderate approach.

Billionaire Founder of Electronic Data Systems

After leaving the U.S. Navy, Ross Perot became a salesperson for IBM. He left the company in 1962 to open Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Dallas, Texas. He received 77 rejections on his bids before earning his first contract. EDS grew in the 1960s on the heels of large contracts with the U.S. government. The company went public in 1968, and the stock price rose from $16 a share to $160 in a few days. In 1984, General Motors bought the controlling interest in EDS for $2.5 billion.

Shortly before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the government of Iran imprisoned two EDS employees over a contract disagreement. Ross Perot organized and paid for a rescue team. When the team he hired couldn't find a direct way to free the prisoners, they waited for a revolutionary mob to storm the prison and free all 10,000 inmates, including the Americans. Ken Follett's book "On Wings of Eagles" immortalized the exploit.

When Steve Jobs left Apple to found NeXT, Ross Perot was one of his top investors, giving over $20 million to the project. Perot's information technology company, Perot Systems, founded in 1988, was sold to Dell Computer in 2009 for $3.9 billion.

Debate Commission Excludes Perot

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 17) -- In welcome news for GOP nominee Bob Dole, the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates has decided to exclude Reform Party candidate Ross Perot from this fall's series of presidential debates.

"Our decision," said Paul Kirk, co-chairman of the commission, "was made on the basis that only President Clinton and Senator Dole have a realistic chance, as set forth in our criteria, to be elected the next president of the United States." Both the commission and its advisory committee voted unanimously to exclude Perot.(295K AIFF or WAV)

The Dole campaign promptly released a statement supporting the ruling. "The inclusion of any other participant in the debate," it read, "would have violated the commission's own standard to include only third-party candidates who have proved they have a 'reasonable' chance to be elected president."

Most expected Perot's participation to hurt Dole, and Clinton campaign manager Peter Knight told The Associated Press, "We regret the decision by the commission. We had assumed all along that Mr. Perot would be in the debates."

Kirk explained that several factors worked against Perot. In addition to the Texan's low poll standings, Kirk cited the commission's judgement that Perot's ability to bounce back in the polls is more limited than it was in 1992. "Participation is not extended to candidates because they might prove interesting or entertaining," he told reporters.

Four years ago, Perot had virtually unlimited funds to spend on his self-financed campaign, Kirk noted, but this time around the Texan has limits on his coffers because he chose to accept federal funding. "Without that wherewithal," said Kirk, "his chances of winning an election in the face of the 1992 history is unrealistic." (300K AIFF or WAV sound)

"We have been very mindful of the fact that 62 percent of the American people would like to see Mr. Perot in the debate," Kirk said. "But I have to distinguish that from what the mission of the commission is. Because when you look at the same numbers, 74 percent of the people say they wouldn't vote for Ross Perot for president." (264K AIFF or WAV sound)

Russ Verney, Chairman of Perot '96, denounced the decision as a "travesty of justice" and said at an afternoon press conference that the Perot campaign was heading to court. "We will file suit in federal court this week," he said. "We will seek a temporary restraining order against the debates' occurring until we can get a full and fair hearing." (160K AIFF or WAV sound)

The theory behind the lawsuit is that the courts could order the Federal Election Commission to enforce its rules that debate sponsors use objective criteria to determine who gets to debate -- rules that Perot's campaign says the commission violated.

The commission had a list of criteria that each candidate had to meet to be invited to the debates, including being eligible under the Constitution and being on the ballot in enough states to win the 270 electoral votes needed for election.

But the key criterion, as the commission has been saying for weeks, is that each invited candidate have a "realistic, i.e., more than theoretical, chance of being elected the next president of the United States," according to Frank Fahrenkopf, the commission's other co-chairman.

While Perot pulled down 19 percent of the vote in the 1992 presidential election, he failed to carry any states then, and he has been lagging in the mid-single digits for most of the current campaign.

Kirk and Fahrenkopf said that if circumstances change -- say, if Perot were to improve his poll standings -- the commission would consider including him in later debates.

The decision is a welcome one for the Dole campaign, which wanted the opportunity to debate President Bill Clinton one-on-one. "In 1996, only one of two men will be elected President, Bob Dole or Bill Clinton," said the statement from the Dole campaign.

Clinton's campaign, meanwhile, wanted Perot in, guessing that Perot would spend more time criticizing Dole's tax-cut proposal than he would Clinton's record.

Still up in the air is the exact timing and length of the debates. Clinton would like to have a series of three 90-minute sessions later rather than earlier, while Dole has expressed a preference for four 60-minute sessions beginning very soon.


Ross Perot's 1992 presidential election campaign Edit

The party grew out of Ross Perot's efforts in the 1992 presidential election, where—running as an independent—he became the first non-major party candidate since 1912 to have been considered viable enough to win the presidency. Perot received attention for focusing on fiscal issues such as the federal deficit and national debt government reform issues such as term limits, campaign finance reform, and lobbying reform and issues on trade. A large part of his following was grounded in the belief he was addressing vital problems largely ignored by the two major parties. [4]

A Gallup poll showed Perot with a slim lead, but on July 19 he suspended his campaign, accusing Republican operatives of threatening to sabotage his daughter's wedding. [ citation needed ] He was accused by Newsweek of being a "quitter" in a well-publicized cover-page article. [ citation needed ] After resuming his campaign on October 1, Perot was dogged by the "quitter" moniker and other allegations concerning his character. [ citation needed ] On Election Day many voters were confused as to whether Perot was actually still a candidate. He ended up receiving about 18.9 percent of the popular vote, a record level of popularity not seen in an independent candidacy since former President Theodore Roosevelt ran on the "Bull Moose" Progressive Party ticket in 1912. He continued being politically involved after the election, turning his campaign organization (United We Stand America) into a lobbying group. One of his primary goals was the defeat of the North American Free Trade Agreement during this period. [4]

In 1995, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives, largely on the strength of the "Contract with America", which recognized and promised to deal with many of the issues Perot's voters had mobilized to support in 1992. However, two of the major provisions (Constitutional amendments for term limits and the balanced budgets) failed to secure the two-thirds congressional majorities required to be submitted to the states.

Dissatisfied, the grassroots organizations that had made Perot's 1992 candidacy possible began to band together to found a third party intended to rival the Republicans and Democrats. For legal reasons, the party ended up being called the "Reform Party" ("Independent Party" was preferred, but already taken, as were several variants on the name). A drive to get the party on the ballot in all fifty states succeeded, although it ended with lawsuits in some regions over state ballot access requirements. In a few areas, minor parties became incorporated as state party organizations. [4]

Nomination campaign Edit

At first, when the 1996 election season arrived, Perot held off from entering the contest for the Reform Party's presidential nomination, calling for others to try for the ticket. The only person who announced such an intention was Dick Lamm, former Governor of Colorado. After the Federal Election Commission indicated only Perot and not Lamm would be able to secure federal matching funds—because his 1992 campaign was as an independent—Perot entered the race. Some were upset that Perot changed his mind because, in their view, Perot overshadowed Lamm's run for the party nomination. This built up to the beginning of a splinter within the movement, when it was alleged certain problems in the primary process—such as many Lamm supporters not receiving ballots, and some primary voters receiving multiple ballots—were Perot's doing. The Reform Party claimed these problems stemmed from the petition process for getting the Reform Party on the ballot in all of the states since the party claimed they used the names and addresses of petition signers as the basis of who received ballots. Primary ballots were sent by mail to designated voters. Eventually, Perot was nominated and he chose economist Pat Choate as his vice-presidential candidate. [4]

Exclusion from the debates Edit

Between 1992 and 1996, the Commission on Presidential Debates changed its rules regarding how candidates could qualify to participate in the presidential debates. As Perot had previously done very well in debates, it was a decisive blow to the campaign when the Commission ruled that he could not participate on the basis of somewhat vague criteria — such as that a candidate was required to have already been endorsed by "a substantial number of major news organizations," with "substantial" being a number to be decided by the Commission on a case-by-case basis. Perot could not have qualified for the debates in 1992 under these rules, and was able to show that various famous U.S. presidents would likewise have been excluded from the modern debate by the Commission on Presidential Debates. [4]

Despite legal action by the Perot team, and an 80 percent majority of Americans supporting his participation in the debates, the Commission refused to budge and Perot was reduced to making his points heard via a series of half-hour "commercials". In the end, Perot and Choate won 8 percent of the vote. [4]

1997 Edit

By October 1997, factional disputes began to emerge with the departure of a group that believed Perot had rigged the 1996 party primary to defeat Lamm. These individuals eventually established the "American Reform Party" (ARP). The ARP is actually a minor political action committee. Then chairman, Roy Downing, said the split came about when it was ". discovered [that the Reform Party] was a top-down party instead of a bottom-up organization." [5] Although members of the group attempted to persuade former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm – Perot's chief rival for the nomination – to run for president as an Independent, he declined, pointing out that he had promised before running that he would not challenge the party's decision. During this time, Perot himself chose to concentrate on lobbying efforts through United We Stand America. [4]

American Reform Party Edit

When the ARP was founded, Jackie Salit noted in the Christian Science Monitor: "At its founding meeting in Kansas City in 1997, the 40 black delegates in the room, led by the country’s foremost African-American independent – Lenora Fulani – represented the first time in US history that African-Americans were present at the founding of a major national political party." [6]

The ARP has yet to organize in more than a few states. In the 2000, 2004, and 2008 elections, the American Reform Party supported Ralph Nader for president. The ARP is not a political party in the conventional sense. It does not have ballot access in any state, and it does not run candidates. It supports third-party candidates and independents who support the primary principles of the Party's platform.

About 2010–2011, the party shifted from a relatively centrist platform to a Tea Party-style fiscal conservative one. In the 2012 presidential election, the ARP endorsed Republican Party nominee Mitt Romney against incumbent president Barack Obama. [7] In the 2016 presidential election, the Party endorsed the Republican candidate Donald Trump. [8]

  • In New York State, the Integrity Party is an ARP affiliate. The group, led by Darren Johnson, used the state's fusion election system in cross-endorsing a Democratic sheriff candidate, Vincent Demarco, in Suffolk County, helping him narrowly win the election. The party had also run a host of other candidates and attempted to go statewide in 2006, fielding Phoebe Legere as a candidate in the 2006 New York gubernatorial election. Legere and the party did not qualify for the November ballot.
  • The Reform Party of Northern Mariana Islands is an affiliate of the ARP.

Mid-term elections of 1998 Edit

In 1998, the Reform Party received a boost when Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota. According to the League of Women Voters, the Reform Party USA obtained more votes nationwide in 1998 than did any other third party in America (without those garnered by Ventura). Counting Ventura's performance, Reformers took in more votes than all other third parties in the United States combined, establishing the Reform Party as America's third-largest party. [4]

2000 presidential election Edit

The Reform Party's presidential candidate for the 2000 election was due federal matching funds of $12.5 million, based on Perot's 8 percent showing in 1996. Early on, there was a failed effort to draft Ron Paul. [4] [9]

Donald Trump entered the race briefly, giving television interviews outlining his platform. Trump was progressive on social issues, and supported allowing openly gay soldiers in the military, saying: "it would not disturb me". [10] Trump considered himself a conservative, but criticized Pat Buchanan, saying: "I'm on the conservative side, but Buchanan is Attila the Hun." [11] He withdrew from the race citing the party's infighting, [12] as did Jesse Ventura and the Minnesota Reform Party. Donald Trump stated: "So the Reform Party now includes a Klansman, Mr. Duke, a neo-Nazi, Mr. Buchanan, and a communist, Ms. Fulani. This is not company I wish to keep." [13] [14] "Mr. Duke" was a reference to David Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

Pat Buchanan decided to leave the Republican Party because: "The Republican Party at the national level has ceased to be my party. This divorce began around the end of the Cold War when President (George) Bush declared it to be a New World-order party and began intervening all over the world. While he and I were allies and friends during the Cold War, I just felt that once the Cold War was over the United States should return to a more traditional non-intervention foreign policy." [15]

After a bitter fight, Pat Buchanan secured the Reform Party nomination over John Hagelin of the Natural Law Party. Hagelin and an anti-Buchanan faction walked out and held a separate convention across the street, where they nominated Hagelin as the party's candidate. The dispute went to the courts and the FEC decided that Buchanan was the legitimate nominee and awarded him $12.6 million in campaign funds. [16] Buchanan's running mate was Ezola B. Foster. Buchanan got 449,225 votes, 0.4 percent of those voting, [ clarification needed ] and the party lost its matching funds for 2004. [4]

In 2002, Buchanan returned to the Republican Party. Many of his campaign supporters also left the Reform Party to form the America First Party. [ citation needed ]

2004 presidential election Edit

By the October 2003 National Convention, the Reform Party had only begun rebuilding, but several former state organizations had elected to rejoin now that the interference from the Freedom Parties was gone. They increased their ranks from 24 to 30 states and managed to retrieve ballot access for seven of them. (Buchanan's poor showing in 2000 had lost ballot access for almost the entire party.) [4]

Because of organizational and financial problems in the party, it opted to support the independent campaign of Ralph Nader as the best option for an independent of any stripe that year. While the endorsement generated publicity for Nader and the Reform Party, the party was only able to provide Nader with seven ballot lines [17] down from the 49 of 51 guaranteed ballot lines the party had going into the 2000 election. [18]

Activities of the party in 2005 Edit

In 2005, a dispute arose: the number of National Committee members required under the party's by-laws to call meetings of the National Committee, and the Executive Committee did so. These members came from several states including Texas, Michigan, and Florida. At both meetings, it was determined that a national convention would be called and held in Tampa, Florida. The Chairman at the time and National Committee members from Arizona, California, and Oklahoma boycotted the National and Executive Committee meetings, claiming the meetings were illegitimate. As a result, those states held a second convention in Yuma, Arizona. [4]

In response to a suit filed by the group that met in Tampa, leaders of the Reform Party filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) complaint claiming the Tampa group were extremists and guilty of conspiracy. [19]

2006 candidates Edit

In 2006, the Reform Party nominated candidates in Arizona, and petitioned to regain ballot access in several other states where state Reform Party organizations were active. The Reform Party of Kansas nominated a slate of candidates, led by Iraq War veteran Richard Ranzau. In Colorado's 4th congressional district, "fiscal conservative" Eric Eidsness (a former assistant U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator and Navy veteran) ran on the Reform Party ticket. [20] He received 11.28 percent of the vote, five times the winning candidate's margin of victory [21] he later switched his affiliation to the Democratic Party. [22] The Florida Reform Party granted use of its ballot line for governor to Max Linn of Florida Citizens for Term Limits (a Republican-leaning organization) in the 2006 gubernatorial election. Linn retained professional campaign staff with connections to the Perot and Ventura campaigns, [23] [24] but received only 1.9 percent of the vote. As of March 2007, the Reform Party had ballot access for the 2008 presidential election in four states (Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi) and had already started petitioning in an additional four. [25]

2008 National Convention Edit

The Reform Party held its 2008 National Convention in Dallas, July 18–20. [26]

At the national convention, Ted Weill of Mississippi was nominated to be the party's 2008 presidential candidate. Frank McEnulty of California, the 2008 presidential candidate of the New American Independent Party, was nominated to be the party's 2008 vice-presidential candidate. David Collison of Texas was elected national chairman of the party. However, the party could not announce the results of the national convention on its web site until October because of a court order obtained by a dissident faction associated with the Independence Party of New York. [27] Therefore, the Weill/McEnulty ticket appeared on the ballot only in Mississippi, in which it received 481 votes. [4]

An erroneous news report was broadcast by ABC News that stated the party had endorsed John McCain. [28] Frank MacKay of the dissident Independence Party of New York faction had made the endorsement, not the Reform Party USA. Reform Party USA Reference [4] David Collison, the Reform Party's chairman, said during a 2009 interview, "Do you believe that any legitimate national party would endorse the Republican candidate for President rather than have a candidate of their own?" [4] [29]

The candidates for the nomination included: [4]

    , a former diplomat and Republican candidate
  • Frank McEnulty who eventually became the vice presidential nominee , an activist from Mississippi who eventually became the presidential nominee , who later joined the Libertarian Party[30]
  • Gene Chapman, a blogger from Denton, Texas

2009 legal action Edit

A long-standing feud in the party involved John Blare, of the Reform Party of California, and the Reform Party officers.

On December 4, 2009, a New York Federal judge heard MacKay v Crews on the question of who are the legal Reform Party officers. [31] On December 16, 2009 the judge ruled in favor of David Collison's faction. [32]

Collison said: "After over two years of litigation in Texas and New York, it is my profound pleasure to announce that US District Court Judge Joseph Bianco of the Eastern District of New York has ruled in our favor, and has further reinforced the 2008 ruling of Judge Carl Ginsberg of the 193rd District Court in Texas." [4]

2010 Edit

In January 2010, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operations officer Charles S. Faddis announced his support of the party in The Baltimore Sun: "I have decided to throw in my lot with the Reform Party of the United States." [33] Faddis later left the party, and ran in 2016 for Maryland's 5th congressional district as a Republican.

In February 2010, former Reform Party Chairman Pat Choate emerged to discuss the appeal of the Tea Party movement, contrasting it with Ross Perot's party, saying: "The difference with the Tea Party is it's been heavily pushed by a bunch of talk-show conservatives. You have the Republican Party attempting to use this as a means to pull independents or conservative independents to their policies, to their agenda." [34]

In February, Congressional candidates filed to run as Reform Party candidates in all four of Mississippi's congressional districts, but none for any statewide offices. [35] Among these were Barbara Dale Washer, Tracella Lou O'Hara Hill, and Anna Jewel Revies. [36]

In April 2010, former Vice President Dan Quayle condemned the Reform Party on CBS, saying: "Many remember the Reform Party of the 1990s, which formed around the candidacy of Ross Perot. I sure do, because it eliminated any chance that President George H.W. Bush and I would prevail over Bill Clinton and Al Gore in 1992. Speaking on behalf of the Bush-Quayle campaign, to this day we firmly believe that Perot cost the Republican Party the White House." [37]

Pat Choate in an April 28, 2010 interview with Monmouth University's student newspaper remained suspicious of the Tea Party movement, saying: "At these [Tea Party] events, a professional Republican always speaks. What to me is questionable is that the Tea Parties endorse candidates, but never endorse Democrats—they seem to be a front for the Republican Party. We were seen as very serious. Perot gave millions, we fielded candidates, and we were a real threat to the status quo. The media treats the Tea Parties as a sign of dissatisfaction, and views them skeptically." [38]

Kristin M. Davis, the Manhattan madam involved in the Eliot Spitzer scandal, announced on June 27, 2010, that she was running for governor on an independent line in New York State using the name, Reform Party without Reform Party authorization after failing to secure the Libertarian Party nomination. Davis condemned the Democrats and Republicans for catering to wealthy white males, saying: "Where are the women, the Hispanics, the African-Americans, and the gay people? We must reject their tired old thinking. " [39]

On June 29, 2010, Reform Party National Committee chairman David Collison sent Davis a cease-and-desist notice demanding that she immediately change the name under which she was seeking to run for governor. Davis made no attempt to obtain permission to run as an official Reform Party candidate, and therefore withdrew her use of the Reform Party name. Davis was not a member of the Reform Party. [4] Davis changed her Independent Ballot Line name and filed as an independent candidate by obtaining the required signatures needed in New York State to run for governor on the "Anti-Prohibition" line. [4]

2012 presidential election Edit

The Reform Party held its 2012 National Convention in Philadelphia, August 11–12, 2012. [40]

At the national convention, the Reform Party nominated Andre Barnett from New York for president and Ken Cross from Arkansas for vice president. Among those who sought the nomination before dropping out several months prior to the convention were former Savannah State University football coach Robby Wells, economist Laurence Kotlikoff, historian Darcy Richardson, and former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer.

2016 presidential election Edit

The Reform Party co-nominated the American Delta Party's presidential and vice-presidential candidates Rocky de la Fuente and Michael Steinberg as their 2016 presidential ticket.

2020 presidential election Edit

On June 20, 2020 during a virtual convention, the Reform Party again nominated Rocky de la Fuente for President. De la Fuente defeated three other recognized candidates, Max Abramson, Souraya Faas, and Ben Zion (formerly the nominee for the Transhumanist Party). [41]

Best Results in Major Races Edit

Office Percent District Year Candidate
President 14.19% Maine 1996 Ross Perot
13.56% Montana 1996
12.71% Idaho 1996
US Senate 15.42% Mississippi 2002 Shawn O'Hara
8.37% Kansas 2002 George Cook
6.98% Minnesota 1996 Dean Barkley
US House 33.70% Florida District 5 1998 Jack Gargan
21.09% California District 21 1998 John Evans
20.99% Mississippi District 1 2004 Barbara Dale Washer
Governor 36.99% Minnesota 1998 Jesse Ventura
15.33% Kentucky 1999 Gatewood Galbraith
2.08% New Hampshire 1996 Fred Bramante
Year Presidential nominee Home state Previous positions Vice presidential nominee Home state Previous positions Votes Notes
Ross Perot
Texas Businessman
Candidate for President of the United States
Pat Choate District of Columbia Economist 8,085,294 (8.4%)
0 EV
Pat Buchanan
Virginia White House Director of Communications
Candidate for President of the United States
(1992 1996)
Ezola Foster California Activist
Candidate for California's 48th State Assembly district
448,895 (0.4%)
0 EV
Ralph Nader
Connecticut Lawyer, activist
Candidate for President of the United States
(1996 2000)

Peter Camejo
California Candidate for Mayor of Berkeley
Candidate for President of the United States
Candidate for Governor of California
(2002 2003)
465,151 (0.4%)
0 EV
Ted Weill
Mississippi Nominee for United States Senator from Mississippi
Frank McEnulty California Businessman 481 (0.0004%)
0 EV
2012 Andre Barnett New York Entrepreneur Ken Cross Arkansas Engineer, businessman 962 (0.001%)
0 EV
Rocky De La Fuente
California Businessman
Michael Steinberg
Florida Lawyer
Candidate for Florida's 47th State House of Representatives district
(2002 2010)
Candidate for Florida's 11th congressional district
33,136 (0.02%)
0 EV
Rocky De La Fuente
California Businessman
Candidate for President of the United States

Darcy Richardson
Florida Historian
2018 Reform Party Nominee for Governor of Florida
88,238 (0.06%)
0 EV
[45] [46]

The Reform Party platform includes the following: [4]

  • Maintaining a balanced budget, ensured by passing a Balanced Budget Amendment and changing budgeting practices, and paying down the federal debt , including strict limits on campaign contributions and the outlawing of political action committees
  • Enforcement of existing immigration laws and opposition to illegal immigration
  • Opposition to free trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement and Central America Free Trade Agreement, and a call for withdrawal from the World Trade Organization on U.S. Representatives and Senators
  • Direct election of the United States President by popular vote and other election system reforms
  • Federal elections held on weekends or Election Day (on a Tuesday) made a national holiday

A noticeable absence from the Reform Party platform has been social issues, including abortion and gay rights. Reform Party representatives had long stated beliefs that their party could bring together people from both sides of these issues, which they consider divisive, to address what they considered to be more vital concerns as expressed in their platform. The idea was to form a large coalition of moderates that intention was overridden in 2001 by the Buchanan takeover which rewrote the RPUSA Constitution to include platform planks opposed to any form of abortion. The Buchananists, in turn, were overridden by the 2002 Convention which reverted the Constitution to its 1996 version and the party's original stated goals.


Ross Perot was born in Texarkana, Texas, the son of Lula May (née Ray) and Gabriel Ross Perot, [2] a commodity broker specializing in cotton contracts. His patrilineal line traces back to a French-Canadian immigrant to the colony of Louisiana in the 1740s. [3] [4] He attended a local private school, Patty Hill, before graduating from Texas High School in Texarkana in 1947. [5] [6] One of Perot's childhood friends was Hayes McClerkin, who later became the Speaker of the Arkansas House of Representatives and a prominent lawyer in Texarkana, Arkansas. [7]

Perot started his first job at 8 years old, helping to distribute the Texarkana Gazette as a paperboy. His father died when Perot was 25 years old. Perot had an older brother, Gabriel Ross Jr., who died as a toddler. [8]

Perot joined the Boy Scouts of America and made Eagle Scout in 1942, after 13 months in the program. He was a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. [9] [10]

From 1947 to 1949, he attended Texarkana Junior College, then entered the United States Naval Academy in 1949 and helped establish its honor system. [9] [11] Perot claimed his appointment notice to the academy—sent by telegram—was sent by W. Lee "Pappy" O'Daniel, Texas's 34th governor and former senator. [12] Perot served as a junior officer on a destroyer, and later, an aircraft carrier from 1953 to 1957. [13] Perot, who had only ever owned one pair of shoes at a time, was shocked to find that he was issued multiple pairs of shoes in the navy, which he would later point to as "possibly my first example of government waste". [8] Perot left the Navy on June 30, 1961, with the rank of Lieutenant. [14]

In 1956 Perot married Margot Birmingham, whom he met on a blind date as a midshipman docked in Baltimore. [13] [8]

After he left the Navy in 1957, Perot became a salesman for IBM. He quickly became a top employee (one year, he fulfilled his annual sales quota in a mere two weeks) [15] and tried to pitch his ideas [ further explanation needed ] to supervisors, who largely ignored him. [16] He left IBM in 1962 to found Electronic Data Systems (EDS) in Dallas, Texas and courted large corporations for his data processing services. Perot was denied bids for contracts 77 times before receiving his first contract. EDS received lucrative contracts from the US government in the 1960s, computerizing Medicare records. EDS went public in 1968, and the stock price rose from $16 a share to $160 within days. Fortune called Perot the "fastest, richest Texan" in a 1968 cover story. [17] In 1984, General Motors bought a controlling interest in EDS for $2.4 billion. [13]

In 1974, Perot gained some press attention for being "the biggest individual loser ever on the New York Stock Exchange" when his EDS shares dropped $450 million in value in a single day in April 1970. [18]

Just before the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the government of Iran imprisoned two EDS employees in a contract dispute. Perot organized and sponsored their rescue. The rescue team was led by retired United States Army Special Forces Colonel Arthur D. "Bull" Simons. When the team was unable to find a way to extract the two prisoners, they decided to wait for a mob of pro-Ayatollah revolutionaries to storm the jail and free all 10,000 inmates, many of whom were political prisoners. The two prisoners then connected with the rescue team, and the team spirited them out of Iran via a risky border crossing into Turkey. The exploit was recounted in the book On Wings of Eagles by Ken Follett. [19] In 1986 this was turned into a 2-part television mini-series (alternatively titled "Teheran") with the actor Burt Lancaster playing the role of Colonel Simons.

In 1984, Perot's Perot Foundation bought a very early copy of Magna Carta, one of only a few to leave the United Kingdom. The foundation lent it to the National Archives in Washington, D.C. where it was displayed alongside the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States. In 2007, the foundation sold it to David Rubenstein, managing director of The Carlyle Group for $21.3 million to be used "for medical research, for improving public education and for assisting wounded soldiers and their families". [20] It remains on display at the National Archives. [21]

After Steve Jobs lost the power struggle at Apple and left to found NeXT, his angel investor was Perot, who invested over $20 million. Perot believed in Jobs and did not want to miss out, as he had with his chance to invest in Bill Gates's fledgling Microsoft. [22]

In 1988, he founded Perot Systems in Plano, Texas. His son, Ross Perot Jr., eventually succeeded him as CEO. In September 2009, Perot Systems was acquired by Dell for $3.9 billion. [23]

Early political activities Edit

After a visit to Laos in 1969, made at the request of the White House, [13] in which he met with senior North Vietnamese officials, Perot became heavily involved in the Vietnam War POW/MIA issue. He believed that hundreds of American servicemen were left behind in Southeast Asia at the end of the U.S. involvement in the war, [24] and that government officials were covering up POW/MIA investigations to avoid revealing a drug-smuggling operation used to finance a secret war in Laos. [25] Perot engaged in unauthorized back-channel discussions with Vietnamese officials in the late 1980s, which led to fractured relations between Perot and the Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations. [24] [25] In 1990, Perot reached an agreement with Vietnam's Foreign Ministry to become its business agent in the event that diplomatic relations were normalized. [26] Perot also launched private investigations of, and attacks upon, United States Department of Defense official Richard Armitage. [24] [25]

In Florida in 1990, retired financial planner Jack Gargan, employing a famous quotation from the 1976 movie Network, funded a series of "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" newspaper advertisements denouncing Congress for voting to give legislators pay raises at a time when average wages nationwide were not increasing. Gargan later founded "Throw the Hypocritical Rascals Out" (THRO), which Perot supported. [27]

Perot did not support President George H. W. Bush, and vigorously opposed the United States' involvement in the 1990–1991 Persian Gulf War. He unsuccessfully urged Senators to vote against the war resolution, and began to consider a presidential run. [28] [29]

1992 presidential campaign Edit

On February 20, 1992, Perot appeared on CNN's Larry King Live and announced his intention to run as an independent if his supporters could get his name on the ballot in all 50 states. With such declared policies as balancing the federal budget, favoring certain types of gun control, ending the outsourcing of jobs and enacting electronic direct democracy via "electronic town halls," he became a potential candidate and soon polled roughly even with the two major-party candidates. [30]

Perot's candidacy received increasing media attention when the competitive phase of the primary season ended for the two major parties. With the insurgent candidacies of Republican Pat Buchanan and Democrat Jerry Brown winding down, Perot was the natural beneficiary of populist resentment toward establishment politicians. On May 25, 1992, he was featured on the cover of Time with the title "Waiting for Perot," an allusion to Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot. [31]

Several months before the Democratic and Republican conventions, Perot filled the vacuum of election news, as his supporters began petition drives to get him on the ballot in all 50 states. This sense of momentum was reinforced when Perot employed two savvy campaign managers in Democrat Hamilton Jordan and Republican Ed Rollins. While Perot was pondering whether to run for office, his supporters established a campaign organization United We Stand America. Perot was late in making formal policy proposals, but most of what he did call for was intended to reduce the deficit, such as a fuel tax increase and cutbacks to Social Security. [32] In June, Perot led a Gallup poll with 39% of the vote. [33]

In July, the Perot campaign fell into disarray and his polls fell sharply. 1992 Democratic National Convention was held on Monday, July 13 through Thursday, July 16, during which time there was increased media coverage of the general election. The Milwaukee Sentinel reported that Perot's campaign managers were becoming increasingly disillusioned by Perot's unwillingness to follow their advice to be more specific on issues, [34] and his need to be in full control of operations. [34] The St. Petersburg Times reported such tactics as forcing volunteers to sign loyalty oaths. [35] Perot's poll numbers had slipped to 25%, and his advisers warned that if he continued to ignore them, he would fall into single digits. Hamilton Jordan (a high-ranking manager in the Perot campaign) allegedly threatened to quit, but senior campaign officials denied this. [36]

On July 15, Ed Rollins resigned after Perot fired advertisement specialist Hal Riney, who had worked with Rollins on the Reagan campaign. Rollins would later claim that a member of the campaign accused him of being a Bush plant with ties to the Central Intelligence Agency. [37] Amid the chaos, Perot's support fell to 20%. [38] The next day, Perot announced on Larry King Live that he would not seek the presidency. He explained that he did not want the House of Representatives to decide the election if the result caused the electoral college to be split. Perot eventually stated the reason was that he received threats that digitally altered photographs would be released by the Bush campaign to sabotage his daughter's wedding. [39] Whatever his reasons for withdrawing, his reputation was badly damaged. Many of his supporters felt betrayed, and public opinion polls subsequently showed a largely negative view of Perot that was absent before his decision to end the campaign. [40]

In September, he qualified for all 50 state ballots. On October 1, he announced his intention to re-enter the presidential race. He campaigned in 16 states and spent an estimated $12.3 million of his own money. [41] Perot employed the innovative strategy of purchasing half-hour blocks of time on major networks for infomercial-type campaign advertisements this advertising garnered more viewership than many sitcoms, with one Friday night program in October attracting 10.5 million viewers. [42]

At one point in June, Perot led the polls with 39% (versus 31% for Bush and 25% for Clinton). Just prior to the debates, Perot received 7–9% support in nationwide polls. [43] The debates likely played a significant role in his ultimate receipt of 19% of the popular vote. Although his answers during the debates were often general, Frank Newport of Gallup concluded that Perot "convincingly won the first debate, coming in significantly ahead of both the Democratic challenger Clinton and incumbent President George H.W. Bush". [44] In the debate, he remarked:

Keep in mind our Constitution predates the Industrial Revolution. Our founders did not know about electricity, the train, telephones, radio, television, automobiles, airplanes, rockets, nuclear weapons, satellites, or space exploration. There's a lot they didn't know about. It would be interesting to see what kind of document they'd draft today. Just keeping it frozen in time won't hack it. [45]

Perot denounced Congress for its inaction in his speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on March 18, 1992 he said:

This city has become a town filled with sound bites, shell games, handlers, media stuntmen who posture, create images, talk, shoot off Roman candles, but don't ever accomplish anything. We need deeds, not words, in this city. [46]

In the 1992 election, he received 18.9% of the popular vote, about 19,741,065 votes, but no electoral college votes, making him the most successful third-party presidential candidate in terms of the popular vote since Theodore Roosevelt in the 1912 election. [47] Unlike Perot, however, other third-party candidates since Roosevelt won multiple electoral college votes: Robert La Follette in 1924, Strom Thurmond in 1948, and George Wallace in 1968. Compared with Thurmond and Wallace, who polled very strongly in a small number of states, Perot's vote was more evenly spread across the country. Perot managed to finish second in two states: In Maine, Perot received 30.44% of the vote to Bush's 30.39% (Clinton won with 38.77%) in Utah, Perot received 27.34% of the vote to Clinton's 24.65% (Bush won with 43.36%). Although Perot did not win a state, he received a plurality of votes in some counties. [48] [49] His popular vote total is still by far the most ever garnered for a third-party candidate, almost double the previous record set by Wallace in 1968.

A detailed analysis of voting demographics revealed that Perot's support drew heavily from across the political spectrum, with 20% of his votes coming from self-described liberals, 27% from self-described conservatives, and 53% coming from self-described moderates. Economically, however, the majority of Perot voters (57%) were middle class, earning between $15,000 and $49,000 annually, with the bulk of the remainder drawing from the upper-middle class (29% earning more than $50,000 annually). [50] Exit polls also showed that 38% of Perot voters would have otherwise voted for Bush, and 38% would have voted for Clinton. [51] Though there were widespread claims that Perot acted as a "spoiler," post-election analysis suggested that his presence in the race likely did not affect the outcome. [52] According to Seymour Martin Lipset, the 1992 election had several unique characteristics. Voters felt that economic conditions were worse than they actually were, which harmed Bush. A rare event was the a strong third-party candidate. Liberals launched a backlash against 12 years of a conservative White House. The chief factor was Clinton's uniting his party, and winning over a number of heterogeneous groups. [53] In 2016, FiveThirtyEight described the theory that Perot was a spoiler was as "unlikely." [54]

Based on his performance in the popular vote in 1992, Perot was entitled to receive federal election funding for 1996. Perot remained in the public eye after the election and championed opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). During the campaign, he had urged voters to listen for the "giant sucking sound" of American jobs heading south to Mexico should NAFTA be ratified. [55]

Reform Party and 1996 presidential campaign Edit

1996 presidential campaign Edit

Perot tried to keep his movement alive through the mid-1990s, continuing to speak about the increasing national debt. He was a prominent campaigner against NAFTA, and frequently claimed that American manufacturing jobs will go to Mexico. On November 10, 1993, Perot debated with then-Vice President Al Gore on the issue on Larry King Live with an audience of 16 million viewers. [56] Perot's behavior during the debate was a source of mirth thereafter, including his repeated pleas to "let me finish" in his southern drawl. The debate was seen by many as effectively ending Perot's political career. [57] Support for NAFTA went from 34% to 57%. [58]

In 1995, he founded the Reform Party and won their presidential nomination for the 1996 United States presidential election. His vice presidential running mate was Pat Choate. Because of the ballot access laws, he had to run as an Independent on many state ballots. Perot received 8% of the popular vote in 1996, lower than in the 1992 race, but still an unusually successful third-party showing by U.S. standards. He spent much less of his own money in this race than he had four years prior, and he also allowed other people to contribute to his campaign, unlike his prior race. One common explanation for the decline was Perot's exclusion from the presidential debates, based on the preferences of the Democratic and Republican party candidates. Jamie B. Raskin of Open Debates filed a lawsuit over Perot's exclusion years later. [59] [60]

Later activities Edit

In the 2000 presidential election, Perot refused to become openly involved with the internal Reform Party dispute between supporters of Pat Buchanan and John Hagelin. Perot was reportedly unhappy with what he saw as the disintegration of the party, as well as his own portrayal in the press thus, he chose to remain quiet. He appeared on Larry King Live four days before the election and endorsed George W. Bush for president. Despite his earlier opposition to NAFTA, Perot remained largely silent about expanded use of guest-worker visas in the United States, with Buchanan supporters attributing this silence to his corporate reliance on foreign workers. [61]

In 2005, Perot was asked to testify before the Texas Legislature in support of proposals to extend access to technology to students, including making laptops available to them. He supported changing the process of buying textbooks by making e-books available and by allowing schools to purchase books at the local level instead of going through the state. In an April 2005 interview, Perot expressed concern about the state of progress on issues that he had raised in his presidential runs. [62]

In January 2008, Perot publicly came out against Republican candidate John McCain and endorsed Mitt Romney for president. He also announced that he would soon be launching a new website with updated economic graphs and charts. [63] In June 2008, his blog launched, focusing on entitlements (Medicare, Medicaid, Social security), the U.S. national debt, and related issues. [64] In 2012, Perot endorsed Romney for president again. [65] Perot did not give any endorsements for the 2016 election. [66]

Perot did not fit the usual political stereotypes his views were seen as either pragmatic or populist, depending on the observer, and usually focused on his economic policy, such as balancing the budget, to gain support from both Democratic and Republican voters. Perot supported gay rights, stricter gun controls such as an assault rifle ban and increased research in AIDS. [67] [68] [69]

From 1992, Perot was a pro-choice activist, and a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood. He stated that poorer women in particular should have access to abortions via federal funding. From 2000, he was pro-choice reluctantly. [70]

Economic policy Edit

Perot believed taxes should be increased on the wealthy, while spending should be cut to help pay off the national debt. Perot also believed the capital gains tax should be increased, while giving tax breaks to those starting new businesses.

"We cut the capital gains tax rate from a maximum rate of 35% to a maximum rate that got as low as 20% during the 1980s. Who got the benefit? The rich did, of course, because that's who owns most of the capital assets."

In his 1993 book Not For Sale at Any Price, [71] Perot expressed support for giving tax cuts for small and medium-sized enterprises, as opposed to larger corporations. [72] Additionally, Perot supported a balanced budget amendment, stating, "spending should not exceed revenue for 27 consecutive years." On trade, Perot stated that NAFTA caused the trade deficit between Mexico and the United States and a loss of manufacturing jobs. [73] His position on free trade and NAFTA became his defining campaign principle of both the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections. Perot argued: "We have got to stop sending jobs overseas. It's pretty simple: If you're paying $12, $13, $14 an hour for factory workers and you can move your factory south of the border, pay a dollar an hour for labor, . have no health care—that's the most expensive single element in making a car—have no environmental controls, no pollution controls and no retirement, and you don't care about anything but making money, there will be a giant sucking sound going south."

. when [Mexico's] jobs come up from a dollar an hour to six dollars an hour, and ours go down to six dollars an hour, and then it's leveled again. But in the meantime, you've wrecked the country with these kinds of deals.

Perot and his wife Margot (née Birmingham), a graduate of Goucher College, had five children (Ross Jr., Nancy, Suzanne, Carolyn, and Katherine) [8] and 19 grandchildren. [13] With an estimated net worth of about US$4.1 billion in 2019, [74] he was ranked by Forbes as the 167th-richest person in the United States. [75]

Death Edit

Perot died from leukemia in Dallas, Texas, on July 9, 2019, less than two weeks after his 89th birthday. [66] He was buried at the Sparkman-Hillcrest Memorial Park Cemetery and a memorial service was held at Highland Park United Methodist Church, with 1,300 invited guests. [76]


1996 United States presidential election debates
No. Date & Time Host Location Moderator Participants
P Participant. N Non-invitee.
Democratic Republican
Bill Clinton
of Arkansas
Former Senator
Bob Dole
of Kansas
1 Sunday, October 6, 1996
9:00 – 10:30 p.m. EDT [1]
The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts Hartford, Connecticut Jim Lehrer P P
2 Wednesday, October 16, 1996
9:00 – 10:30 p.m. EDT [1]
University of San Diego San Diego, California P P
1996 United States vice presidential debate
No. Date & Time Host Location Moderator Participants
P Participant. N Non-invitee.
Democratic Republican
Vice President
Al Gore
of Tennessee
Former Secretary of H.U.D
Jack Kemp
of California
VP Wednesday, October 9, 1996
9:00 – 10:30 p.m. EDT [1]
Mahaffey Theater St. Petersburg, Florida Jim Lehrer P P

Participant selection Edit

In 1996, the following six candidates achieved ballot access in enough states to mathematically win the election via the Electoral College:

Presidential Candidate Party Ballot access
Bob Dole Republican 50+DC
Bill Clinton Democratic 50+DC
Ross Perot Reform 50+DC
Harry Browne Libertarian 50+DC
John Hagelin Natural Law 43
Howard Phillips Constitution 41

Unlike in 1992, Ross Perot was excluded from the debates in the 1996 campaign. Paul Kirk, co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates stated that "Our decision, was made on the basis that only President Clinton and Senator Dole have a realistic chance, as set forth in our criteria, to be elected the next president of the United States." [2]

Only Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and President Bill Clinton met the CPD selection criteria for any of the presidential debates. As a result, only Jack Kemp and Al Gore met the criteria for the vice presidential debate.

1996 was originally to have 3 presidential debates, the first one on Wednesday, September 25 at Washington University in St. Louis it was canceled by both campaigns. [1]

Ross Perot joined the United States Naval Academy in 1949. He was a part of the United States Navy. During his time with the military, he helped to develop the Navy&rsquos current honor system. He resigned from the Navy in 1957.

Ross Perot worked for the computer company, IBM in in the late 1950&rsquos, after leaving the Navy. He started out as a salesman, but slowly worked his way up the corporate ladder, learning more as he progressed through the company. He later left IBM in 1962 to found his own group, the Electronic Data Systems. It first, the company flourished, but it later had it&rsquos ups and downs. The company had some government contracts, which helped to keep it popular and profitable. After earning a hefty sum from his computer company, he went on to invest in Steve Jobs, who would later create the computer company, Apple. Perot later founded another computer company of his own, Perot Systems Corporation, Inc, in 1988. However, he still kept his Electronic Data Systems group.

1992 Presidential Election

The 1992 U.S. presidential election saw Democratic Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton defeat incumbent Republican President George H.W. Bush and independent Ross Perot. The election was notable for the presence of three major candidates as well as the centrality of economic issues to the campaign.

The 1992 election was the first presidential election since 1968 in which a third party candidate garnered a significant percentage of the popular vote. Although billionaire Texas businessman Ross Perot failed to win any Electoral College votes, his presence had an important effect on the election. For one, Perot's concerns about free trade, federal budget deficits, and the U.S. national debt helped solidify economic issues as one of the primary concerns of the campaign. Moreover, although there remains some debate about Perot's impact on the outcome of the election, most analysts conclude that his presence (Perot won 18.9% of the popular vote) drew support away from incumbent Republican President George H.W. Bush (who won 37.5%) and helped swing the election to Democratic Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas (43%). The 1992 election was also significant in that it ended twelve years of Republican control of the White House and marked just the fourth time in the twentieth century that a sitting President was denied re-election.

Many observers have blamed Bush's defeat on his reneging on his 1988 campaign pledge to refrain from raising taxes. However, the most important factor in Bush's defeat was discontent with the state of the nation's economy. The sluggish recovery from the 1990-91 recession created an anti-incumbency mood that Bush proved unable to overcome. The importance of economic conditions in the 1992 presidential election was famously summed up by Clinton campaign adviser James Carville's quip that "it's the economy, stupid."

George Bush's failure to address concerns about the nation's economy effectively—particularly when contrasted with Bill Clinton's ability to do so—was exemplified in the following exchange from the second Presidential debate of October 15, 1992. The video also demonstrates the ways in which the federal budget deficit and national debt were important campaign issues—even though these issues were often poorly understood and articulated.

Gene Brown, The 1992 Election (Turtleback Books, 1999).

Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, Mad as Hell: Revolt at the Ballot Box, 1992 (Warner Books, 1993).

Peter Goldman, Thomas M. DeFrank, Mark Miller, Andrew Murr, and Tom Matthews, Quest for the Presidency 1992 (Texas A&M University Press, 1994).

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Buildup [ edit ]

Ever since Bill Clinton was elected, disaster ensued for the Democrats. In 1993, the Texas senate seat flipped, reducing the Democrats to 56-44 in the Senate. They also flipped governorships in New Jersey and Virginia. They also flipped mayorships in Los Angeles, and New York City. The New York mayorship would not go blue until 2013. Then, in 1994, the Republican Revolution struck. Republicans picked up 58 seats, and even defeated a speaker, and Democrats only picked up 4 open seats, giving the GOP a House majority for the first time since the 1950s. Γ] They also gained 8 seats, and 2 senators changed affiliation Δ] , allowing the Republicans to have a 54-46 majority in the Senate. They flipped ten governorships, including Connecticut off of the A Connecticut Party, and 9 from Democrats. They did lose Maine to an Independent, and Democrats narrowly flipped Alaska by 0.3% from the Alaska Independence Party (who switched affiliation to the Republicans). In addition, multiple representatives throughout 1995 changed affiliation. In 1995, as well, despite the Democrats picking up the senate seat in Oregon, narrowing the GOP majority to 53-47, the Republicans picked up the governorship in Louisiana.

Watch the video: The American Presidential Election of 1996 (July 2022).


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