Jun. 3, 2016

Why This Election Cycle Resembles 1988

By Marc Platt

There have been so many comparisons of this presidential election cycle to 1964 and Barry Goldwater's issues with African Americans and isolationism. There have also been many comparison's to the 1968 (George Wallace) cycle with the violence at Trump rallies and apparent split parties, etc..

These may be apt comparisons, but let me throw out another cycle that this resembles...1988.

Let's take a closer look at the political climate in 1988. Ronald Reagan was a popular president, despite his terrible "Iran-Contra Scandal." This scandal did not affect his overall popularity. Reagan did preside over an economic (Jimmy Carter) recovery, as has Barack Obama (Dubya).

Obama has good approval (52%) ratings and Hillary Clinton will surely piggyback on that success in the fall.

Here is another similar factor. Mike Dukakis was a stubborn candidate who rarely listened to his staff, just as Trump is. Both candidates made unforced errors that wounded their campaigns. Dukakis did the "Tank" thing that made him look like a jackass, clearly displaying his lack of military experience. Don't get me started on Trump's catalog of mistakes. Those are blatant and aplenty.

We won't know until November just how badly Trump's unforced errors will hamper his dim chances.

Dukakis had no responses in 1988 when George HW Bush's campaign staff did the original dismantling of Dukakis on the "Willie Horton" commercials, regarding a "Weekend Furlough Program" Dukakis shepherded in Massachussets during his governorship. Horton killed while out on furlough and that finally sunk Dukakis.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is adept at knocking any and all of Trump's insane allegations like "Hillary should be in jail because she lies." Clinton and her staff does enough damage control on the wounded Trump campaign, who has hardly spent a dime since he entered the race. 

There are so many similarities between 1988 and 2016, but it really comes down to getting the real message out. That won't happen until after the conventions and into the debates.

It sure will be fun to watch, especially as GOP candidates start jumping ship on Trump in the senate and house races.