United States presidential election, 1988

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Ronald Reagan

George H. W. Bush

The United States presidential election of 1988 featured an open primary for both major parties. Ronald Reagan, the incumbent President, was unable to seek re-election after serving the maximum two terms allowed by the Twenty-second Amendment. Reagan's Vice President, George H. W. Bush, won the Republican nomination, while the Democrats nominated Michael Dukakis, Governor of Massachusetts. Bush capitalized on a good economy, a stable international stage (the U.S. was not involved in any wars or conflicts during this time), and on Reagan's popularity. Meanwhile, Dukakis's campaign suffered from several miscues. This caused the Republicans to win their third presidential election in a row. In this election, Bush became only the fourth incumbent Vice President of the United States to win a presidential election, and the first since Martin Van Buren in 1836. Just like Van Buren in 1840, President Bush would also be defeated for reelection in 1992, after serving a single term.


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