1988

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN & ELECTIONS

OVERVIEWS & CHRONOLOGIES: 1988

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

OVERVIEW

Election Year: 1988

Election Day Date: November 8, 1988

Winning Ticket:

  • George Bush, J. Danforth Quayle, Republican 48,886,597 53.37% 426 79.2%

Losing Ticket(s):

  • Michael Dukakis, Lloyd Bentsen, Democratic 41,809,476 45.65% 111 20.6%
  • Ron Paul, Andre Marrou, Libertarian 431,750 0.47% 0 0.0%
  • Other (+) – – 466,863 0.51% 0 0.0%

Voter Turnout:

  • Total VAP 182,630,000
  • Total REG 126,325,257
  • Total Vote 91,594,686
  • %VAP 50.2%
  • %REG 72.5%

Central Forums/Campaign Methods for Addressing Voters:

Stumping, speeches, rallies; Television, print and television ads; primary, Presidential, Vice Presidential debates

Election Law/Campaign Finance Changes:

  • Introduction of regional primaries; Super Tuesday, March 8, 1988, nine primaries the Southern states

Incumbent President and Vice President on Election Day:

Ronald Wilson Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush, Republican 1981-1989

Population: 245,061,000

Nominal GDP (billions of dollars): $5,100.4 Real GDP (billions of 2005 dollars): $7,613.9 GDP Deflator (index 2005=100%): 66.99 Population (in thousands): 245,061
Nominal GDP per capita (current dollars): $20,813 Real GDP per capita (year 2005 dollars): $31,069

Number of Daily Newspapers: 1,655 (1990)

Average Daily Circulation: 62,649,218 (1990)

Households with:

  • Radio: 91,100,000 (1990)
  • Television: 92,100,000 (1990)

Method of Choosing Electors: Popular vote (mostly General Ticket/Winner Take All)

Method of Choosing Nominees: Presidential preference primaries and caucuses

Central Issues (Nomination/Primaries):

Iran-Contra scandal tarnished President Ronald Reagan, Republicans;

Democrats gained control in the Senate in the 1988 mid-term/congressional elections

Leading Candidates (Nomination/Primaries):

Democratic Party candidates

  • Michael Dukakis, governor of Massachusetts
  • Jesse Jackson, reverend and civil rights leader (Illinois)
  • Al Gore, U.S. senator (Tennessee)
  • Dick Gephardt, U.S. representative (Missouri)
  • Paul Simon, U.S. senator (Illinois)
  • Gary Hart, former U.S. senator (Colorado)
  • Bruce Babbitt, former governor of Arizona
  • Joe Biden, U.S. senator (Delaware)

Republican candidates

  • George H. W. Bush, Vice President of the United States (Texas)
  • Bob Dole, U.S. senator (Kansas)
  • Pat Robertson, televangelist (Virginia)
  • Jack Kemp, U.S. representative (New York)
  • Pierre S. du Pont, governor of Delaware
  • Alexander Haig, former U.S. secretary of state from Pennsylvania
  • Ben Fernandez, RNHA chairman of California
  • Paul Laxalt, Former Senator of Nevada
  • Donald Rumsfeld, Former Secretary of Defense (Illinois)
  • Harold E. Stassen, Former Governor of Minnesota

Main Controversies (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Democrats looking for a candidate that would create a new image for the party;

Campaign Innovations (Nomination/Primaries):

Major Personalities (Nomination/Primaries):

  • Republican: Pat Robertson, Robert Dole;
  • Democratic: Mario Cuomo; Gary Hart; Bill Clinton; Joe Biden; Dale Bumpers, (Senator, Arkansas)

Primaries:

  • Democratic 37 66.6% delegates
  • Republican 37 76.9% delegates

Primaries Results:

Republican Party: Jul 01, 1988

  • George Herbert Walker Bush: 8,258,512, 67.91%
  • Robert J. “Bob” Dole: 2,333,375, 19.19%
  • Marion G. “Pat” Robertson: 1,097,446, 9.02%
  • Jack Kemp: 331,333, 2.72%
  • Unpledged: 56,990, 0.47%

Democratic Party: Jul 01, 1988

  • Michael S. Dukakis: 9,898,750, 42.46%
  • Jesse L. Jackson: 6,788,991, 29.12%
  • Al Gore: 3,185,806, 13.67%
  • Richard “Dick” Gephardt: 1,399,041, 6.00%
  • Paul M. Simon: 1,082,960, 4.65%
  • Gary Warren Hart: 415,716, 1.78%
  • Unpledged: 250,307, 1.07%

Turning Points (Nomination/Primaries):

Republican Party:

  • Front-runner Vice President George H. W. Bush, endorsed by President Reagan, pledged to continue his policies, but Bush also appealed to moderates
  • Televangelist Pat Robertson, religious right
  • Iowa Caucus upset, Robert Dole won it, Pat Robertson, second and Bush, third
  • Dole lead in the polls in New Hampshire, Bush released a campaign ad portraying Dole as a tax raiser, Governor John H. Sununu campaigned for Bush, Bush won by a small margin, “Big Mo” momentum;
  • Dole went on TV after his defeat in New Hampshire to denounce Bush
  • After Super Tuesday, Bush as much as clinched the nomination (organizational strength, fund raising lead)

Democratic Party:

  • Democratic 1984 hopeful Colorado Senator Gary Hart was the front runner; moderate centrist; Rumors of an extramarital affair dogged Hart in 1987; challenged The New York Times magazine to ‘put a tail’ on him, but they would “be bored”; Miami Herald received an anonymous tip from a friend that Donna Rice was the one involved in the rumored affair with Hart; On May 8, 1987, Hart withdrew from the race, resumed his campaign in December 1987; the adultery allegations haunted him in the primaries, before he finally withdrew from the race
  • Edward Kennedy announced in 1985 he would not run for the Presidency
  • Joseph Biden, Delaware Senator, accused of plagiarizing a speech by Neil Kinnock, leader British Labour Party; although he cited all his other sources, the Dukakis campaign used this one time, as a political hit piece; Dukakis campaign admitted later to have released the tape. Biden withdrew from the race as a result
  • Richard Gephart, (populist campaign) won he Iowa caucus; Illinois Senator Paul M. Simon second, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis third
  • Dukakis won New Hampshire; Gephardt, second; Simon, third
  • Dukakis and Tennessee Senator Al Gore released negative television ads against Gephardt. United Auto Workers, withdraw their endorsement for Gephardt, his campaign relied on labor union support
  • Super Tuesday: Dukakis, six primaries; Gore, five, Jesse Jackson five; Gephardt one; Gore and Jackson split the Southern states.
  • Simon won Illinois, Jackson, second
  • The most candidates won primaries in 1988
  • After Jackson won the Michigan Democratic caucus with 55%, he was considered the front runner briefly led in delegate count (6.9 million votes, won 11 contests; seven primaries (Alabama, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and Virginia); four caucuses (Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina and Vermont, Alaska) and Texas’s local conventions; However, he lost the Wisconsin primary to Dukakis
  • Dukakis became the front-runner after winning New York, Pennsylvania

Primaries Quotations:

  • “Stop lying about my record.”Robert Dole in response to George H.W. Bush’s ad that accused Dole of raising taxes

Primaries Results:

Democratic Party: Jul 01, 1988

  • Michael S. Dukakis: 9,898,750, 42.46%
  • Jesse L. Jackson: 6,788,991, 29.12%
  • Al Gore: 3,185,806, 13.67%
  • Richard “Dick” Gephardt: 1,399,041, 6.00%
  • Paul M. Simon: 1,082,960, 4.65%
  • Gary Warren Hart: 415,716, 1.78%
  • Unpledged: 250,307, 1.07%

Republican Party: Jul 01, 1988

  • George Herbert Walker Bush: 8,258,512, 67.91%
  • Robert J. “Bob” Dole: 2,333,375, 19.19%
  • Marion G. “Pat” Robertson: 1,097,446, 9.02%
  • Jack Kemp: 331,333, 2.72%
  • Unpledged: 56,990, 0.47%

Conventions (Dates & Locations):

  • Republican National Convention: August 15-18, 1988, Louisiana Superdome; New Orleans, 1st ballot, George H. W. Bush (Texas), Dan Quayle (Indiana)
  • Democratic National Convention: July 18-21, 1988, The Omni; Atlanta, James C. Wright (Texas), 1st ballot, Michael S. Dukakis (Massachusetts) Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr. (Texas)

Convention Turning Points:

Republican National Convention:

  • Bush chose as his running mate Dan Quayle, junior senator from Indiana
  • Bush’s “No new taxes” pledge.

Democratic National Convention:

  • Jackson remain an active candidate at the convention; his supporters claimed by finishing second with a substantial amount of delegate support, Jackson was entitled to Vice-Presidential spot on the ticket;
  • Dukakis chose instead experienced Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas.
  • Media called the ticket the “Boston-Austin” axis; comparison to John F. Kennedy, Massachusetts and Lyndon Johnson, Texas in 1960

Number of Ballots to Choose Nominees:

The Balloting Presidential Ballot

  • Michael S. Dukakis           2,876.25
  • Jesse L. Jackson    1,218.5
  • Richard H. Stallings          3
  • Joe Biden 2
  • Richard A. Gephardt        2
  • Gary W. Hart        1
  • Lloyd M. Bentsen             1

Vice Presidential Ballot

  • Lloyd M. Bentsen             4,162

Convention Keynote Speaker:

  • Democratic National Convention: Texas State Treasurer Ann Richards “Poor George [H.W. Bush], he can’t help it, he was born with a silver foot in his mouth.”

Nominating Speech Speakers (President):

  • Democratic National Convention: Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, speech lasted too long; delegates booed

General Election Controversies/Issues:

  • Social and cultural issues
  • Personal /character attacks
  • Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen appeared more “presidential” than did Presidential Dukakis, both a help and hindrance
  • Position on crime/death penalty (Dukakis as soft on crime)

Campaign Innovations (General Election):  Attack ads

Major Personalities (General Election): James Baker, Lee Atwater, Roger Ailes; Idaho Republican Senator Steve Symms

Campaign Tactics:

  • Republican Party: negative campaign; Painted Dukakis as a “Massachusetts liberal” unreasonably left-wing; attacked for opposing mandatory recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools; “card carrying member of the ACLU”
  • Democratic Party: Attack and tie Bush to Iran Contra scandal, Republican hawk on foreign policy; Dukakis wanted not to be defined as a liberal but as a competent manager; attacked Quayle as too inexperienced;

Debates:

  • October 13, 1988 Presidential Debate in Los Angeles
  • September 25, 1988 Presidential Debate in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • October 5, 1988 Vice-Presidential Debate in Omaha, Nebraska
  • Vice Presidential: Due to Bentsen’s elder statesman status, Republican nominee Dan Quayle avoided direct confrontation and criticism, focused instead on criticizing Dukakis as a liberal; Quayle tried to compared his experience to that of John Kennedy to show he was experienced for the position; exchange between Quayle Bentsen
  • Presidential second debate: Dukakis showed no emotion, bland response when Bernard Shaw asked if he continue to oppose the death penalty if his wife Kitty was raped and murdered; criticized for emotionless response, Dukakis had the flu, and his mannerisms played to his reputation as being emotionally cold

Turning Points (General Election):

  • Willie Horton Ad, (Dukakis as soft on crime, vetoed in 1976 allowing first-degree offenders from the program) defined the campaign; Dukakis did not respond effectively
  • Presidential second debate: Dukakis showed no emotion, bland response when asked if he continue to oppose the death penalty if his wife Kitty was raped and murdered; criticized for emotionless response. Bush won the debate, post debate  Gallup Poll 49-43 Bush lead
  • Misstatements by Dan Quayle (attacked for inexperience, lack of credentials)
  • “Dukakis in the tank”, “Snoopy Incident”: Dukakis criticized on his knowledge on military issues; set up a photo op to squash the criticism rode an M1 Abrams tank at the General Dynamics plant grounds, Sterling Heights, Michigan, stuck his out and waved to the crowd; Footage used by Bush to further criticize Dukakis’ Presidential potential;
  • Staff member Donna Brazile resigned after she claimed Bush was involved in an extramarital affair with Jennifer Fitzgerald (his secretary, 1970s)
  • President Ronald Reagan actively stumped for Bush, helped push Bush in the lead towards the end of the campaign

Popular Campaign Slogans:

  • Republican Party: George Bush “Kinder, Gentler Nation”; “Building on America’s Strength”; “For a Strong America”
  • Democratic Party: “It’s Time to Say YES”

Campaign Song:

  • Republican: George H. W. Bush: “This Land Is Your Land” (Woody Guthrie)
  • Michael Dukakis: “America” (Neil Diamond)

Influential Campaign Appeals or Ads:

  • Republican: Willie Horton Ad (black prisoner Horton released on Massachusetts prisoners’ weekend furlough program for a weekend, raped and terrorized a woman in Maryland; “Revolving Door”; “Boston Harbor” (environmental pollution in Boston harbor)
  • Democratic: “Quayle: just a heartbeat away.” (Vice Presidential debate footage, Kennedy comparison, attacked Quayle)
  • Counter to Willie Horton ad: “In 1968, George Bush helped an ex-convict fund a halfway house for early released felons in Houston, Texas. In 1982, one of those prisoners raped and murdered a minister’s wife.”

Money Spent (Each Campaign/Party/Overall):

Defining Quotation (Winning Candidate):

  • “And I’m the one who will not raise taxes. My opponent now says he’ll raise them as a last resort, or a third resort. But when a politician talks like that, you know that’s one resort he’ll be checking into. My opponent, my opponent won’t rule out raising taxes. But I will. And the Congress will push me to raise taxes and I’ll say no. And they’ll push, and I’ll say no, and they’ll push again, and I’ll say, to them, ‘Read my lips: no new taxes.’” George H.W. Bush
  • “so diffuse, there isn’t a symbol, I don’t think, in the Yale situation, any symbolism in it…. Harvard boutique to me has the connotation of liberalism and elitism” George H.W. Bush
  • The Republicans “don’t let murderers out on vacation to terrorize innocent people. . . . Dukakis owes the people an explanation of why he supported this outrageous program.” George H. W. Bush about the Willie Horton Issue

Defining Quotation (Losing Candidate):

  • “This election is not about ideology, it is about competence.” Michael Dukakis
  • “In the Dukakis White House, as in the Dukakis State House; it you accept the privilege of public service, you had better understand the responsibilities of public service. If you violate that trust, you’ll be fired; if you violate the law, you’ll be prosecuted; and if you sell arms to the Ayatollah, don’t expect a pardon from the President of the United States.” Michael Dukakis “A New Era of Greatness for America”: Address Accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta, July 21, 1988
  • Quayle, “I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency.” Bentsen, “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Quayle, “That was really uncalled for, Senator,”; Bentsen, “You are the one that was making the comparison, Senator, and I’m one who knew him well. And frankly I think you are so far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well-taken.”
  • “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy, I knew Jack Kennedy, Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Senator Lloyd Bentsen to Republican vice-presidential candidate Senator Dan Quayle

Campaign Quotations:

  • “Voters inclined to loathe and fear elite Ivy League schools rarely make fine distinctions between Yale and Harvard. All they know is that both are full of rich, fancy, stuck-up and possibly dangerous intellectuals who never sit down to supper in their undershirt no matter how hot the weather gets.” Columnist Russell Bake
  • “The consensus tonight is that Vice President George Bush won last night’s debate and made it all the harder for Governor Michael Dukakis to catch and pass him in the 25 days remaining. In all of the Friday morning quarterbacking, there was common agreement that Dukakis failed to seize the debate and make it his night.” Tom Brokaw, NBC News, October 14, 1988
  • “In 1988, fighting Dukakis, I said that ‘I would strip the bark off the little bastard’ and ‘make Willie Horton his running mate.’ I am sorry for both statements: the first for its naked cruelty, the second because it makes me sound racist, which I am not.” Lee Atwater, Bush’s campaign manager, before his death in 1991

Further Reading: 

  • Pomper, Gerald M. The Election of 1988: Reports and Interpretations. Chatham House Publishers, 1989.

Lasting Legacy of Campaign:

  • Trivialization of presidential politics; campaign did not focus on the major issues; but rather character attacks; mean-spirited, negative campaign.

 

CHRONOLOGY

  • May 5, 1985: “Reagan attends a wreath-laying ceremony at Bitburg military cemetery in West Germany, the gravesite of 200 German soldiers including 49 members of Adolf Hitler’s SS. Responding to criticism of the visit, Reagan visits and lays a wreath at a nearby concentration camp earlier in the day.”
  • July 13, 1985: “Reagan has a malignant polyp removed from his colon; Vice President Bush serves as acting President for eight hours.”
  • November 19-21, 1985: “Reagan and Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev hold a summit meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the first such meeting between U.S and Soviet heads of state since 1979.”
  • December 19, 1985: Edward Kennedy announces he would not run for the Presidency
  • June 17, 1986: “Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger announces his retirement; Regan elevates Justice William Rehnquist to the position of chief justice and nominates Anthony Scalia as an associate justice.”
  • September 16, 1986: Pierre DuPont announces his candidacy
  • October 11-12, 1986: “Reagan and Gorbachev meet in Reykjavik, Iceland.”
  • October 22, 1986: “Reagan signs a revision of the tax code into law.”
  • November 4, 1986: Midterm elections; the Democrats regained control of the U.S. Senate. “The Democrats win control of Senate, the first time during Reagan’s tenure that both houses of Congress are in Democratic hands.”
  • November 13, 1986: “The White House informs Congress that the United States secretly sold arms to Iran in violation of federal laws prohibiting arms deals with Iran. The administration denies that the sales were part of an attempt to secure the release of American hostages held by Iranian-backed forces.”
  • November 25, 1986: “The administration admits that between $10 and $30 million had been diverted from Iranian arms sales and funneled to the Nicaraguan contras.”
  • November 26, 1986: “The Tower Commission is appointed to investigate the Iran-Contra affair. Reagan forgoes any claim of executive privilege and orders his administration to cooperate fully with the investigation. Lawrence Walsh is appointed special prosecutor to investigate criminal wrongdoing.”
  • December 1986: Joe Biden announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
  • February 19, 1987: Mario Cuomo withdraws from the Democratic race
  • 1987: The new Senate rejects Reagan’s choice for a Supreme Court vacancy (Robert Bork).
  • February 21, 1987: Sam Nunn announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential Race.
  • February 23, 1987: Iran contra scandal tarnishes President Ronald Reagan and the Republicans.
  • February 17, 1987 Jack Kemp announces his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination.
  • February 19, 1987: Richard Gephardt announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
  • February 26, 1987: “The Tower Commission releases its report, finding no criminal wrongdoing on the part of the White House but remaining critical of the administration nonetheless.”
  • February 27, 1987: Howard Baker withdraws from the Republican Presidential race.
  • March 4, 1987: “In televised address, Reagan accepts responsibility for actions in Iran-Contra affair that occurred without his knowledge.”
  • March 10, 1987: Bruce Babbitt announces his candidacy the Democratic Presidential nomination.
  • March 16, 1987: Michael Dukakis announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
  • March 19, 1987: Jesse Jackson announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
  • March 20, 1987: Dale Bumpers withdrew from the Democratic Presidential race/
  • ???March 24, 1987: Alexander Haig February 12, 1988 Alexander Haig
  • April 1987: Bob Dole announces his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination.
  • April 10, 1987: Al Gore announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
  • April 13, 1987: Gary Hart announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
  • April 28, 1987: Paul Laxalt announces his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination.
  • May 8, 1987: Colorado Senator Gary Hart withdraws from the race. The 1984 Democratic hopeful, a moderate centrist is the front-runner, until rumors of an extramarital affair dog Hart in 1987. He challenges The New York Times magazine to ‘put a tail’ on him, but claims they would “be bored.” Miami Herald receives an anonymous tip from a friend that Donna Rice is the one involved in the rumored affair with Hart.
  • May 18, 1987: Paul Simon announces his candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
  • July 15, 1987 Bill Clinton withdraws from the Democratic race.
  • August 24, 1987 Joe Biden withdraws from the Democratic race.
  • August 26, 1987 Paul Laxalt withdraws from the Republican race.
  • September 15, 1987: Delaware Senator Joseph Biden is accused of plagiarizing a speech by Neil Kinnock, the leader of the British Labour Party. Although he cites all his other sources, suspicion raises. The Dukakis campaign uses this one time, as a political hit piece. Dukakis campaign later admits to having released the tape.
  • September 16, 1987: “Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., a Democratic Presidential candidate, was accused of plagiarism while in his first year at Syracuse University Law School, academic officials familiar with Mr. Biden’s record said.” (NYT)
  • September 23, 1987: Biden withdraws from the race as a result.
  • September 28, 1987: Patricia “Pat” Schroeder announces her candidacy for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
  • October 1, 1987: Pat Robertson, televangelist, religious right, announces his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination.
  • October 12, 1987: George H.W. Bush announces his candidacy for the Republican Presidential nomination.
  • October 19, 1987: The stock market falls sharply on Black Monday because of computer trading.
  • November 18, 1987: “Congress issues its Iran-Contra report, declaring that Regan must assume “ultimate responsibility” for the affair.”
  • December 7-10, 1987: “Gorbachev and Reagan meet in Washington, D.C., and sign the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.”
  • December 15, 1987: Gary Hart reenters the Democratic Presidential race. The adultery allegations haunt him in the primaries, before he finally withdraws from the race
  • January 14, 1988: Michigan Republican caucus (“middle step in delegate allocation, process began in August 1986”)
  • February 1-7, 1988: Kansas Republican caucuses
  • February 4, 1988: Hawaii Republican caucuses
  • February 8, 1988: Iowa caucuses (both parties). Iowa Republican caucus George H.W. Bush 19% Bob Dole 37% Pat Robertson 25% Jack Kemp 11% Pete du Pont 7% Iowa Caucus: Republican upset, Robert Dole won it, Pat Robertson, second and Bush, third; Democrat: Richard Gephart, (populist campaign) won he Iowa caucus; Illinois Senator Paul M. Simon second, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis third
  • Dole leads in the polls in New Hampshire, Bush releases a campaign ad portraying Dole as a tax raiser, Governor John H. Sununu campaigns for Bush,
  • February 9, 1988: Wyoming Republican caucuses (through February 24)
  • February 16, 1988: New Hampshire primary. New Hampshire Republican primary: George H.W. Bush 38% Bob Dole 29% Pat Robertson 9% Jack Kemp 13% Pete du Pont 10%. Republican Bush wins by a small margin, “Big Mo” momentum; Dole goes on TV after his defeat in New Hampshire to denounce Bush; Democrat Dukakis won New Hampshire; Gephardt, second; Simon, third
  • Dukakis and Tennessee Senator Al Gore release negative television ads against Gephardt. United Auto Workers, withdraw their endorsement for Gephardt, his campaign relies on labor union support.
  • February 18, 1988: Nevada Republican caucuses
  • February 18, 1988: Bruce Babbitt withdraws from the Democratic race.
  • February 18, 1988: Pierre DuPont withdraws from the Republican Presidential race.
  • February 23, 1988: Minnesota caucuses (both parties), South Dakota primary South Dakota Republican primary: George H.W. Bush 19% Bob Dole 55% Pat Robertson 20% Jack Kemp 5% Pete du Pont 1%
  • February 28, 1988: Maine Democratic caucuses;
    February 26-28, 1988: Maine Republican caucuses, George H.W. Bush 64% Bob Dole 8% Pat Robertson 14% Jack Kemp 2% 0%
  • February 27-March 1, 1988: Alaska Republican caucuses
  • March 1, 1988: Vermont primary (beauty contest — no delegates at stake)Vermont Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 49% Bob Dole 39% Pat Robertson 5% Jack Kemp 4% Pete du Pont 2%
  • March 5, 1988: South Carolina Republican primary (party-run), Wyoming Democratic caucuses South Carolina Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 49% Bob Dole 21% Pat Robertson 19% Jack Kemp 11% 0%
  • March 8, 1988: Super Tuesday, Alabama primary, Arkansas primary, Florida primary, Georgia primary, Hawaii Democratic caucuses, Idaho Democratic caucuses, Kentucky primary, Louisiana primary, Maryland primary, Massachusetts primary, Mississippi primary, Missouri primary, Nevada Democratic caucuses, North Carolina primary, Oklahoma primary, Rhode Island primary, Tennessee primary, Texas primary (Democratic primary-caucus), Virginia primary, Washington caucuses (both parties). After Super Tuesday Bush as much as clinches the nomination (organizational strength, fund raising lead); Democrat: Dukakis, six primaries; Gore, five, Jesse Jackson five; Gephardt one; Gore and Jackson split the Southern states.
    • Alabama Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 65% Bob Dole 16% Pat Robertson 14% Jack Kemp 5% 0%
    • Arkansas Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 47% Bob Dole 26% Pat Robertson 19% Jack Kemp 5% Pete du Pont 1%
    • Florida Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 62% Bob Dole 21% Pat Robertson 11% Jack Kemp 5% Pete du Pont 1%
    • Georgia Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 54% Bob Dole 24% Pat Robertson 16% Jack Kemp 6% 0%
    • Kentucky Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 59% Bob Dole 23% Pat Robertson 11% Jack Kemp 3% 0%
    • Louisiana Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 58% Bob Dole 18% Pat Robertson 18% Jack Kemp 5% Pete du Pont 1%
    • Maryland Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 53% Bob Dole 32% Pat Robertson 6% Jack Kemp 6% Pete du Pont 1%
    • Massachusetts Republican primary, Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 59% Bob Dole 26% Pat Robertson 5% Jack Kemp 7% Pete du Pont 1%
    • Mississippi Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 66% Bob Dole 17% Pat Robertson 13% Jack Kemp 3% 0%
    • Missouri Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 42% Bob Dole 41% Pat Robertson 11% Jack Kemp 4% 0%
    • North Carolina Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 45% Bob Dole 39% Pat Robertson 10% Jack Kemp 4% 0%
    • Oklahoma Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 37% Bob Dole 36% Pat Robertson 21% Jack Kemp 5% 0%
    • Rhode Island Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 65% Bob Dole 23% Pat Robertson 6% Jack Kemp 5% Pete du Pont 1%
    • Tennessee Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 60% Bob Dole 22% Pat Robertson 13% Jack Kemp 4% 0%
    • Texas Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 64% Bob Dole 14% Pat Robertson 15% Jack Kemp 5% 0%
    • Virginia Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 53% Bob Dole 26% Pat Robertson 14% Jack Kemp 5% Pete du Pont 1%
  • March 10, 1988: Alaska Democratic caucuses
  • March 11, 1988 Gary Hart withdraws for the second time from the Democratic Presidential race.
  • March 12, 1988: South Carolina Democratic caucuses
  • March 15, 1988: Illinois primary. Illinois Republican primary: George H.W. Bush 55% Bob Dole 36% Pat Robertson 7% Jack Kemp 1% Pete du Pont 1%. Illinois Democratic Primary: Simon wins Illinois primary, Jackson comes in second
  • March 19, 1988: Kansas Democratic caucuses.
  • March 26, 1988: Michigan Democratic caucuses. Jesse Jackson wins the Michigan Democratic caucus with 55%, he is considered the front runner and briefly leads in the delegate count (6.9 million votes). Jesse Jackson wins in total 11 contests; seven primaries (Alabama, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and Virginia); four caucuses (Delaware, Michigan, South Carolina and Vermont, Alaska) and Texas’s local conventions however, he loses the Wisconsin primary to Dukakis.
  • March 27, 1988: North Dakota Democratic caucuses.
  • March 28, 1988: Richard Gephardt withdraws from the Democratic Presidential race.
  • March 28, 1988: Jack Kemp withdraws from the Republican Presidential race.
  • March 29, 1988:  Connecticut primary. Connecticut Republican primary: George H.W. Bush 71% Bob Dole 20% Pat Robertson 3% Jack Kemp 3% 0%
  • Dukakis becomes the front-runner after winning New York and Pennsylvania primaries.
  • March 29, 1988: Bob Dole withdraws from the Republican Presidential race
  • April 4: Colorado caucuses (both parties)
  • April 5, 1988: Delaware Republican caucuses (through April 25), Wisconsin primary. Wisconsin Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 82% Bob Dole 8% Pat Robertson 7% Jack Kemp 1% 0%
  • April 7, 1988: Paul Simon withdraws from the Democratic Presidential race
  • April 16, 1988: Arizona Democratic caucuses
    April 18, 1988: Delaware Democratic caucuses
  • April 19, 1988: New York primary, Vermont caucuses (both parties)
  • April 21, 1988: Al Gore withdraws from the Democratic Presidential race
  • April 25, 1988: Utah caucuses (both parties)
  • April 26, 1988: Pennsylvania primary. Pennsylvania Republican primary: George H.W. Bush 79% Bob Dole 12% Pat Robertson 9% 0% 0%
  • May 3, 1988: Indiana primary, Ohio primary
    • District of Columbia Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 88% Bob Dole 7% Pat Robertson 4% 0% 0%
    • Indiana Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 80% Bob Dole 10% Pat Robertson 7% Jack Kemp 3% 0%
    • Ohio Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 81% Bob Dole 12% Pat Robertson 7% 0% 0%
  • May 10, 1988: Nebraska primary, West Virginia primary
    • Nebraska Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 68% Bob Dole 22% Pat Robertson 5% Jack Kemp 4% 0%
    • West Virginia Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 77% Bob Dole 11% Pat Robertson 7% Jack Kemp 3% 0%
  • May 11, 1988: Pat Robertson withdraws from the Republican Presidential Race
  • May 14, 1988: Arizona Republican convention (“end of multi-tiered caucus process which began in 1986”)
  • ?May 15, 1988: President Reagan endorses Republican front-runner Vice President George H. W. Bush. Bush pledges to continue Reagan’s policies, but Bush also appeals to moderates.
  • May 17, 1988: Oregon primary. Oregon Republican primary: George H.W. Bush 73% Bob Dole 18% Pat Robertson 8% 0% 0%
  • May 24, 1988: Idaho primary (Republicans only), George H.W. Bush 81% 0% Pat Robertson 9% 0% 0%
  • May 29-June 1, 1988: “Reagan visits the Soviet Union for the first time.”
  • June 7, 1988: California primary, Montana primary, New Jersey primary, New Mexico primary
    • California Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 83% Bob Dole 13% Pat Robertson 4% 0% 0%
    • Montana Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 73% Bob Dole 19% June 7, 1988:  New Jersey Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 100%
    • New Mexico Republican primary, George H.W. Bush 78% Bob Dole 10% Pat Robertson 6%
  • June 11, 1988: Bush comments about Harvard’s liberalism and the differences with his own alma matter Yale
  • June 14, 1988:  North Dakota primary (Republicans only), George H.W. Bush 93%
  • July 18-21, 1988: Democratic National Convention convenes at the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia. James C. Wright (Texas) serves as chairman. The convention nominates on the 1st ballot, Michael S. Dukakis (Massachusetts) for President and  Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr. (Texas) for Vice President. Jackson remains an active candidate at the convention; his supporters claim by finishing second with a substantial amount of delegate support, Jackson is entitled to the Vice-Presidential spot on the ticket. Dukakis chooses instead experienced Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas. The media calls the ticket the “Boston-Austin” axis, as a comparison to John F. Kennedy, Massachusetts and Lyndon Johnson, Texas in 1960.
  • July 21, 1988: Michael Dukakis gives an address “A New Era of Greatness for America” accepting the Presidential Nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta.
  • August 15-18, 1988: Republican National Convention convenes at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana and nominates on the 1st ballot, George H. W. Bush (Texas) for President, and Dan Quayle (Indiana) for Vice President. Bush chooses as his running mate Dan Quayle, the junior senator from Indiana.
  • August 18, 1988: George H. W. Bush accepts the Presidential Nomination at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans. Bush gives his “No new taxes” pledge in the speech.
  • September 6, 1988: “Michael S. Dukakis’s campaign gave ground in the debate over debates, grudgingly agreeing that there might be only two debates between the Presidential candidates, instead of three or four.” (NYT)
  • September 16, 1988: (“Bush Talks of Lasers and Bombers”) “Dukakis in the tank”, “Snoopy Incident”: Bush criticizes Dukakis on his knowledge of military issues. Dukakis sets up a photo op to squash the criticism, riding an M1 Abrams tank at the General Dynamics plant grounds, Sterling Heights, Michigan. Dukakis sticks his head out and waves to the crowd. Bush uses the footage to criticize Dukakis’ Presidential potential.
  • September 21, 1988: Floyd Brown and the Americans for Bush part of the National Security Political Action Committee (NSPAC) begin airing the ad “Weekend Passes” Willie Horton Ad (Depicts Dukakis as soft on crime, vetoed in 1976 allowing first-degree offenders from the program) defines the campaign; Dukakis does not respond effectively
  • September 25, 1988: Presidential Debate in Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  • October 4, 1988: Willie Horton, “Weekend Passes” ad is taken off the air.
  • October 5, 1988: Bush campaign airs “Revolving Door” ad, which also criticizes Dukakis’s Furlough program.
  • October 5, 1988: Vice-Presidential Debate in Omaha, Nebraska. Due to Bentsen’s elder statesman status, Republican nominee Dan Quayle avoids direct confrontation and criticism, and instead focuses on criticizing Dukakis as a liberal. Quayle attempts to compare his experience to that of former President John Kennedy to show he is experienced enough for the position, which prompts an exchange between Bentsen and Quayle.
  • October 13, 1988: Second Presidential Debate in Los Angeles: Dukakis shows no emotion, and a bland response when Bernard Shaw asks if he would continue to oppose the death penalty if his wife Kitty is raped and murdered. Dukakis is  criticized for his emotionless response. Dukakis had the flu, and his mannerisms played to his reputation as being emotionally cold. Bush wins the debate. The post debate Gallup Poll has Bush in lead 49-43.
  • October 7, 1988: Dukakis at campaign stops attacks Dan Quayle, charges that Quayle is inexperienced, lacks credentials, and gives misstatements.
  • October 1988: President Ronald Reagan actively stumps for Bush, which helps push Bush in the lead towards the end of the campaign.
  • November 8, 1988: Election Day; Republicans George H. W. Bush is elected President, and Dan Quayle is elected Vice President.
  • December 19, 1988: Presidential Electors cast the electoral votes in their state capitals.
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