Did Pat Buchanan Help George W. Bush Win the Presidency?

I know it has been a long time since the 2000 presidential campaign, and alot has happened since then. So naturally people by and large don’t think too much about the events surrounding it anymore. But one thing has bothered me about that campaign. Well, okay. A couple things bother me about that campaign–but one thing in particular. (All the things that happened during the presidential campaign of 2000 are common knowledge. So I assume it won’t be necessary to provide any cites.)

Rewind to the election of 1992. Bill Clinton won. What was one of the things that helped him win? Ross Perot taking valuable votes away from George Bush, Sr. Ross Perot of course ran on a third party ticket–the Reform Party.

Rewind again to the election of 1996. Bill Clinton wins again. Ross Perot runs again. And again he takes valuable votes away from Bob Dole on the Reform Party part of the ballot.

Now, go back to the election of 2000. Everyone was sure Al Gore was going to win this one. There was a strong economy. Bill Clinton was popular–surely Al Gore must’ve had a little of that popularity rub off on him. So where is that Reform Party candidate that will take crucial votes away from George W.? The Reform Party position on the ballot has been taken over by Pat Buchanan! And believe me folks, even Mr. Buchanan must have realized he didn’t have a snowflake’s chance in hades of winning.

He obvious knew exactly what he was doing and exactly what would happen. Am I right?


You could as easily argue that what happened to Bush, Sr., and Dole, happened to Gore with Nader, who refused to withdraw at an appropriate moment and throw his support to Gore.

And actually what happened to Bush and Dole at the presidential election level has been happening to Republicans at the congressional level. I’ll try to dig up the numbers, but from what I’ve read, many of the Democratic congressional seats are occupied by donkey’s thanks to the Libertarian effect – where the Libertarian candidates routinely get more votes than the Democrats’ margin of victory, thus theoretically costing the GOP a given seat.


Bush was helped a lot because the Reform Party imploded. I do not give Pat Buchanan any credit. He was doing his best AFAIK, but his best was fortunately not very good.

The two major parties managed to keep the Reform party out of the TV debates. Also, Buchanan didn’t have access to the Perot millions which he used for his own campaign. Finally, the public may have tired of this party.

The Libertarian party isn’t really “stealing” any votes from Democrats or Republicans. In truth, they are liberal socially (in terms of civil liberties, legalizing “victimless crimes” like drug use, prostitution, etc) but conservative in terms of taxes (cut government down to the bare essentials). So neither of the two major parties would be considered “close” to what they advocate.

I disagree. Almost every poll, right up to election day, had Bush and Gore dead even, and a few had Bush leading. Nobody was sure Gore was going to win. Though, technically (for the reasons you gave) he should have won. I firmly believe that Ralph Nadar and the stink of Clintons crooked regime, as well as Al Gore himself is what sunk him. Buchanan had nothing to do with it.

I firmly believe that Bush sr. would have barely squeeked by in '92 had Perot stayed out, but that Dole had no chance what so ever in 1996. Though Clinton was beatable (yes, he was!) the GOP went back to their “'Old Boy” way of doing things and put up an unpersonable old man with no real ideas. I’m surprised Dole beat Perot.

—Nobody was sure Gore was going to win.—

Especially not when he changes his suit for different occasions: he must be crazy!!! He lied about creating the internet!!! He said um!!! He lived in a hotel mansion as a child!!!

Please do not make me revist that detestable campaign season and the “liberal” media.

—Though Clinton was beatable (yes, he was!) the GOP went back to their “'Old Boy” way of doing things and put up an unpersonable old man with no real ideas.—

This wasn’t entirely Dole’s fault. To win the nomination, he had to run on platforms that he personally thought, and had publically stated, were loony. Dole, I think, had ideas: he just didn’t have the political muscle to run on them AND satisfy his party.

—happened to Gore with Nader, who refused to withdraw at an appropriate moment and throw his support to Gore.—

I still don’t understand what the Greens think they have, or ever, will accomplish.
When the Democrats realize that some potential voters aren’t faithful enough to vote for them when it counts, but would if only the party would move left, the LAST thing the Democrats are going to do is move left. What sort of moron would abandon the huge center just to win the hearts and votes of a bunch of noisy puppeteers?

While I’m unaware of any published tables of voting preferences (they possibly aren’t collected) it wouldn’t be difficult to estimate the influence of Buchanan was far less than Nader. Simple example, if neither Nader or Buchanan has run in Florida, Gore would have won both the State and the Presidency.

Under a proportional representation system, Nader would have picked up Electoral Congress seats, Buchanan never came within cooee.

Though it seems to be Republican Gospel that Clinton was only elected in '92 and '96 because Ross Perot was stealing votes from Bush and Dole, every poll I’ve seen of Perot voters indicates that they came drew pretty much equally from Democrats and Republicans. A quick google search yielded this 1996 exit poll, showing pretty much exactly that. Considering that the Clinton margins of victory over Bush I and Dole were prettty substantial, it is absurd beyond reason to attribute his victories to Perot stealing Republican votes.

Ralph Nader, on the other hand, indisputably swung the 2000 election. Die, Ralph, die! :mad:

this 1996 exit poll

<<Ralph Nader, on the other hand, indisputably swung the 2000 election.>>

I blame George Bush 41 for Ross Perot. Bush failed to convince Perot that his victory was more important than Perot’s ego.

Similarly, Gore failed to convince Nader that he was sufficiently superior to Bush 43.

One could say that although Gore won the support of millions of voters, he failed to win over the most important voter of all – Ralph Nader.

Gore failed to convince Voters that he was superior to Bush.

You mean the voters on the U.S. Supreme Court, right? 'Cause you couldn’t possibly mean to imply that Gore lost the popular vote.

I meant that not quite enough people wanted him, as opposed to the alternative.
If he’d won his own state, the Supreme Court decision would’ve been unnecessary.

I see yore from Texas; that explains why you are for the death penalty (re: die ralph):eek:

No, I think he means the voters in the states that made up the electoral college votes that Bush got. Surely you know that’s what’s important in a Presidential election.

I stand by my claim that Perot was of no consequence in 1996.
Clinton was a popular president, but he had so much baggage that he was beatable. Had the GOP put up a real Pit Bull of a candidate; someone who screamed the facts about what a traitorous crook Clinton was, and the fact that the good economy was more a credit to the Republican congress than the President, Clinton could have been beaten.

My proof of this is, first, he did not get 50% of the vote, even though he was a popular sitting Prez. Second, Al Gore 2000.
By all means Gore should have walked away in 2000 with at least 60% of the popular vote. The fact he didn’t is proof that, regardless of the economy and popularity, a presidential candidate can be defeated. It just takes the right opponent to do it. The Gop’s choice of Dole in '96 was ridiculous!:mad:

Let’s get something straight: there is no Reform “Party,” and there never was. There was only Ross Perot. For an election or two, he was able to use his money to make himself a semi-respectable candidate. Not that he ever stood the slightest chance of winning, but he bought himself a high enough profile that people were willing to use him to cast a “none of the above” vote. Perot often claimed that there were millions of people who WOULD have voted for him if they thought he had a real chance of winning. I suggest there were millions who DID vote for him who NEVER would have done so if they thought he had a real chance of winning. Perot was a safe protest vote, nothing more.

He did rather well in 1992, not nearly so well in 1996. Had he run in 2000, he have done worse still, because

  1. The economy was doing pretty well, so few voters saw a need to “fix” it.

  2. People were getting tired of Perot’s act.

By 2000, the Reform Party was moribund, and once Perot stated that he wasn’t going to run, the party was just plain dead. Dead. And, in case you didn’t get the point, DEAD. There is no Reform Party without Ross Perot, and even Perot wasn’t a viable candidate any more in 2000.

So, no matter WHOM the Reform Party nominated in 2000, he
wasn’t going to be a serious contender and he wasn’t going to take more than a few votes from either of the major party candidates.