preview

1988 Presidential election

Better Essays
Bush vs Dukakis The 1988 Presidential Election
On November 8, 1988, Republican Presidential candidate Vice President George H. W. Bush was elected as the forty-first President of the United States of America. Bush defeated Democratic challenger Governor Michael Dukakis by a ratio of a bout six-to-five. 49 million people voted for Bush, netting him 426 electoral votes while 42 million voted for Dukakis getting him 112 electoral votes. Strangely, a man not even running for President received an electoral vote; Lloyd Bentsen (Democratic Vice President Nominee) received one electoral vote from the state of West Virginia. Bush's victory was also a victory for the Republican Party, but the Democrats received a similar victory in that they retained control of both the House and the Senate. The presidential election as a whole was a negative race, with an abundance of personal attacks (mainly instigated by Bush). The election of Bush in 1988 confirmed the Republican domination of presidential politics for another four years.
The Republican Primary was a race between Vice President George Bush and Senator Bob Dole because President Reagan had reached his term limit and could not run again. Bush was Reagan's Vice President, so he started the race as the Republican front-runner. Bush's campaign was startled after its loss to Dole in the Iowa Caucus. Bush stepped up the campaigning, uttering his famous line, "Read my lips, no new taxes." Dole soon ran out of steam when Vice President Bush won every state in the Super Tuesday Primaries. Bush's strong victories are attributed to his ability to gain the support of the religious fundamentalists, mainly in the South. Bush's ability to establish a strong Southern base helped him in both the primary and general elections.

The Democratic Primaries were more competitive than the Republican Primaries. There were five strong candidates heading into the primaries; Senator Gary Hart (D-CO), Congressman Richard Gephardt (D-MO), Senator Al Gore (D-TN), Jesse Jackson, and Governor Michael Dukakis (D-MA). Senator Gary Hart started the primary season as the favorite of many of the party leaders and the Democratic public as a whole. Suspicions of extramarital affairs dogged the Hart camp to the point in which Hart had to address the rumors. Hart challenged the media to investigate him, thinking that they would not pick up t...

... middle of paper ...

...originating in the South. Bush swept the South, relying on support from the religious fundamentalists. Bush won the Southern vote by 3-to-2. Men supported Bush at a 3-to-2 ration while women gave Dukakis a slight majority. Bush received the support of the rich by a large margin while Dukakis received the support of the poor. Blacks voted overwhelmingly for Dukakis, with about 870f black votes going to Dukakis. Conservatives voted for Bush 4-to-1 while liberals voted for Dukakis 4-to-1. Unfortunately for Dukakis, there were about twice as many conservatives as liberals. Dukakis was hurt also by the low voter turnout. About 510f the voting age public voted in the 1988 Presidential election, the lowest post World War 2 percentage. The low voter turnout helped Bush immensely.

The 1988 election established the Republican dominance of the Presidency. After the victory in 1988, the Republican Party had won five of the last six Presidential elections. Vice President George Bush was the first incumbent Vice President to be elected President since Martin Van Buren. Operation Desert Storm highlighted Bush's Presidency. Bush ran again in 1992, but lost to Arkansas Governor William Clinton.
Get Access