Ross Perot, whose presidential campaign in 1992 may well have taken enough votes for George H.W. Bush to give us President Bill Clinton, is dead.
Perot’s anti-establishment candidacy was in some ways a precursor to that of Trump. Except Trump ran within the Republican Party, and took it over.
From the Washington Examiner:
Ross Perot, the diminutive billionaire Texas businessman who made the deficit an issue of national concern when he ran as an independent presidential candidate in 1992 and 1996, has died at 89.
Perot claimed 19% of the vote in his 1992 race against President George H.W. Bush, the Republican, and his Democratic challenger, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton. Republicans said for years after Perot’s strong performance as an independent tilted the race toward Clinton, though political scientists disagreed with that assessment.
Eccentric and irascible, he stood at just 5ft 6in but could dominate a room. Some Bush aides still believe he cost their man re-election, ushering in eight years of the Clinton administration.
In the late 1980’s, Perot established himself on the political stage by voicing his belief that troops had been left in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. He opened a dialogue with Vietnamese officials, reaching an agreement with Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry in 1990 to act as its business agent should diplomatic tensions normalize.
In 1992, Perot announced his decision to run as an independent candidate in the upcoming election as long as his supporters could get his name on the ballot in all 50 states. His platform was one of balanced budgets, smaller government and opposition to the establishment parties.
By the end of the primaries, Perot was polling evenly with the other two parties. In June, he led the Gallup poll with 39% of the vote. Biut he later fell below 20% and announced his decision to withdraw from the race. But Perot qualified for voting in all 50 states, causing him to re-enter the race, buying half-hour time blocks of infomercial time for campaign ads. One attracted 10.5 million viewers.