The 1988 presidential election in the United States was a historic event. The election saw the end of the Reagan era and the beginning of the Clinton era. The election was also a referendum on the direction of the country. The voters chose to continue the policies of the Reagan years, but they also chose to change course in some areas. Here are some of the major trends that were reflected in the result of the 1988 presidential election.
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The Reagan Revolution
The New Right
The election of Ronald Reagan in 1980 signaled a major shift in American politics. Reagan ran on a platform of limited government, lower taxes, and a strong national defense. These ideas came to be known as the “Reagan Revolution.”
The political landscape had changed significantly since Reagan’s first election. In the intervening years, the conservative movement had gained ground, and the Democratic Party had become increasingly liberal. This shift was reflected in the 1988 presidential election, in which George H. W. Bush defeated Michael Dukakis.
Bush ran on a similar platform to Reagan, and his victory confirmed that the Reagan Revolution was well underway. The 1990s would see further advances for conservatives, as they continued to make gains in Congress and state legislatures across the country.
The Moral Majority
The Moral Majority was a large and influential conservative Christian political organisation in the United States that became active during the 1980s. Initially founded by Jerry Falwell and other evangelical pastors, it played a significant role in mobilising conservative Christians as a political force and helped to shape Republican Party platforms. The Moral Majority was dissolved in 1989.
The New Democrat Coalition
The New Democrat Coalition is a group of centrist and moderate Democrats in the United States Congress. The group is composed of roughly 40 members. The group was founded in 1997 by then-House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri and Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. The New Democrat Coalition is moderate on economic issues and more centrist on social issues. The group is seen as being more business-friendly than the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
The Great Society
The Great Society was a set of domestic programs in the United States introduced by Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964–65. Two main goals of the Great Society social reforms were the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. New major spending programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation were launched during this period. On May 22, 1965, Johnson established the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) to administer several new antipoverty programs, including Head Start, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), Job Corps, and Community Action Program (CAP). The Great Society’s main focus was on improving conditions for liberal democracy at home so that the US could take a more active role in promoting liberal democracy abroad.
The New Deal Coalition
The New Deal Coalition was the name given to the political coalition that brought about the policies of the New Deal. The New Deal was a series of economic and social programs implemented in the United States during the 1930s in response to the Great Depression.
The coalition represented a shift in power from the business-friendly Republican Party to the more labor-friendly Democratic Party. The coalition lasted until 1968, when support for civil rights and opposition to the Vietnam War led to a realignment of parties.
The Third Party Movement
The 1988 presidential election in the United States was the first election in American history in which a third party candidate garnered more than five percent of the popular vote. The election saw the largest third party vote since 1912, when former President Theodore Roosevelt ran on the Progressive Party ticket. The election of 1988 also saw the rise of the Reform Party, which was founded by Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot.
The Reform Party
The Reform Party was a United States political party formed in 1995 by Ross Perot. The party ran candidates in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 presidential elections. Other than Perot, the only Reform Party candidate to win any electoral votes was Jesse Ventura, who was elected governor of Minnesota in 1998.
In its early years, the Reform Party was seen as a conservative alternative to the Republican Party, but it later shifted to the left and became more liberal on social issues. The party ran on a platform of fiscal conservatism and political reform, and its most successful candidate was Perot, who won 19% of the popular vote in the 1992 presidential election.
The Libertarian Party
The Libertarian Party is one of the two major political parties in the United States that was founded on the principles of libertarianism. The party’s platform is based on the belief that individual liberty is the highest political value.
The party was founded in 1971 by philanthropist David Nolan and economist John Hospers. Since then, it has been led by a number of prominent politicians, including former governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, congressman Ron Paul, and senator Rand Paul.
In the 2016 presidential election, the party nominated Gary Johnson as its candidate. He received over 4 million votes, but ultimately lost to Donald Trump.
The party has seen some success in recent years, with a number of its candidates being elected to office at the state and local level. However, it remains a minor political party in the US, holding just 0.5% of seats in Congress.
The Culture Wars
The 1988 election was a watershed moment in American politics. It was the first time in American history that culture played a major role in a presidential election. The culture wars had begun, and they would shape American politics for the next two decades.
The Baby Boomers
The election of 1988 was a watershed moment in American politics. It was the first time in over 50 years that a sitting president had been voted out of office, and it signaled a dramatic shift in the country’s political landscape. The Reagan era was over, and the country was about to embark on a new chapter.
At the center of this change was the baby boomer generation, which had come of age during the cultural upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s. Boomers were the first generation to grow up with television, and they came of age during a time of great social change. The Civil Rights movement, the women’s rights movement, and the gay rights movement were all occurring during this time, and boomers were at the forefront of these changes.
In many ways, the election of 1988 was a referendum on the Reagan years, and it was also a battle between two very different visions for America’s future. On one side was George H.W. Bush, who ran on a platform of continuing Reagan’s policies. On the other side was Michael Dukakis, who ran on a more liberal platform. In the end, Bush won by a wide margin, carrying 40 states and receiving almost 53% of the popular vote.
While Bush’s victory may have seemed like a mandate for Reagan’s policies, it is worth noting that he only won by around 7 million votes. This is evidence that there was still a significant portion of the country that disagreed with Reagan’s vision for America. Moreover, exit polls showed that voters under 30 favored Dukakis by a wide margin, while voters over 65 favored Bush by an even wider margin. This generational divide would come to define American politics in the following years.
The Silent Generation
The Silent Generation is the demographic cohort following the Greatest Generation and preceding the baby boomers. The generation is generally defined as people born from 1928 to 1945.
In the United States, the Silent Generation is associated with a time of widespread prosperity and rising social mobility due to the post-World War II economic boom. The G.I. Bill led many members of the cohort to attend college and join the middle class, while others became part of the rapidly expanding suburbanization trend. The generation has been described as “pop culture’s first adolescents” and “America’s youth apathetic about social issues, yet dynamic in their economic pursuits”.