How to Lose a Presidential Election in the 20th Century

Presidential Election
George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

7. When Attacked….. ATTACK!

After serving his two terms in office, Reagan’s Vice President George H. W. Bush would take up the Republican mantle and do battle with Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis in the 1988 presidential elections. However, neither candidate had the same charisma and presence Ronald Reagan had and neither man could claim to have such a dynamic personality. Bush would initially rely on his grandfatherly status with feel-good, family orientated advertising. However, he would soon switch tactics with a more underhanded advertising campaign.

Slightly behind in the polls, the Bush campaign released an ad attacking Dukakis on his handling of the increasing pollution in Boston Harbor. Describing it as an open sewer, adding that the Environmental Protection Agency called his lack of action the most expensive public policy mistake as it would cost taxpayers six billion dollars to clean.

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