Bill Clinton brought centrism to the Democratic Party, at a time when the party needed centrism in order to survive. Clinton, a young Southerner with a centrist Democratic record, had told the party to moderate their stances to appeal to white suburban voters in the Northeast, West, South, etc, or else they would lose to George H.W. Bush, despite his ruined conservative reputation by the right wing forces (Pat Buchanan’s brigade). If Bill Clinton had lost to Bush/Quayle '92, what would Democrats have done in the 1996 presidential election and beyond?
I think most Democrats would have recognized the validity of Clinton’s message even if he lost his race. People would say that Clinton lost because he had faced an incumbent and had the personal liability of his infidelities.
So in 1996, you would probably have had Gore seeking the Democratic nomination essentially running as Clinton II. He would have moved the party to the center as Clinton did. But Gore would have had the advantage that whoever he was facing (Dole, Quayle, Gramm, Lugar, Kemp) wouldn’t be running as an incumbent. And after sixteen years of Republicans in the White House, the voters would be thinking about a change.
I thought at the time, and think still, that Gore was a more credible candidate than Clinton in some ways. He had some credibility with religious & cultural conservatives. He was a serious environmentalist.
I think serving as Bubba’s VP basically ruined his career, and that’s a shame.
if Gore had been such a great Prez candidate, why did he do so poorly in 1988 (vs. Dukakis and Jackson)?
Bill Clinton made Al Gore into something more than just a scion senator.
The interesting question is what would have happened to the Republican party: would it today be a party dominated by moderates following the tradition of George H.W. Bush instead of the extremists like Cruz and Trump who currently dominate it?