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The Center Holds: 1984 to 1992

  • Dante J. Scala

Abstract

Jimmy Carter’s defeat of Ted Kennedy in 1980 was the last New Hampshire Democratic primary to feature an incumbent for sixteen years. Republicans Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush occupied the Oval Office from 1980 to 1992, leaving Democrats to conduct the equivalent of open auditions for their presidential nomination. In such an uncertain environment, one might have expected the unexpected in the New Hampshire primary—and those expectations were fulfilled. In 1984, Colorado senator Gary Hart revived the Granite State’s reputation as a giant-killer, handing former vice president Walter Mondale a lopsided defeat. And in 1992, an obscure former U.S. senator from Massachusetts, Paul Tsongas, carried the primary and became Bill Clinton’s most unlikely challenger for the nomination.

Keywords

Vice President State Party Presidential Nomination National Campaign Democratic Nomination 
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Notes

  1. 4.
    Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, Wake Us When Its Over (New York: Macmillan, 1985), pp. 36–48, 58.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Ibid., p. 54.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Susan Berry Casey, Hart and Soul (Concord, N.H.: NHI Press, 1986), p. 50.Google Scholar
  4. 20.
    For a political scientist’s perspective on New Hampshire voters’ level of knowledge about primary candidates, see Tami Buhr, “What Voters Know about the Candidates and How They Learn It: The 1996 New Hampshire Republican Primary as a Case Study,” in In Pursuit of the White House 2000, edited by William G. Mayer (New York: Chatham House, 2000), pp. 203–53. Buhr concurs with Griffin to some degree: “While the New Hampshire primary campaign is clearly an educating experience for the electorate,” she states, “it fails to provide the same level of education for all of its members” (p. 244).Google Scholar
  5. 21.
    Elizabeth Drew, Campaign Journal: The Political Events of 1983–1984 (New York: Macmillan, 1985), pp. 352–53.Google Scholar
  6. 23.
    Campaign for President: The Managers Look at’ 88, edited by David R. Runkel (Dover, Mass.: Auburn House, 1989), p. 18.Google Scholar
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    Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, Whose Broad Stripes and Bright Stars? The Trivial Pursuit of the Presidency 1988 (New York: Warner Books, 1989), p. 218.Google Scholar
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    Ibid., pp. 222–23.Google Scholar
  9. 38.
    Jack W. Germond and Jules Witcover, Mad as Hell: Revolt at the Ballot Box, 1992 (New York: Warner Books, 1993), p. 96.Google Scholar
  10. 46.
    Campaign for President: The Managers Look at ’92, edited by Charles T. Royer (Hollis, N.H.: Hollis Publishing Company, 1994), pp. 2–3.Google Scholar
  11. 48.
    See pollster Stan Greenberg’s description of the evolution of Clinton’s populism in Campaign for President…’92, pp. 14–15.Google Scholar
  12. 49.
    Ibid., p. 15.Google Scholar
  13. 54.
    John DiStaso, “DLC and Spirou Almost Mend All Party Fences,” Manchester Union Leader, August 6, 1991, p. 7.Google Scholar
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    Germond and Witcover, Mad as Hell, p. 103; Campaign… for President…’92, pp. 33–36.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Dante J. Scala 2003

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  • Dante J. Scala

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