Nomination: The South's Role in 1992 Nomination Politics
CHARLES S. BULLOCK III
In 1988, all southern states except South Carolina held their presidential preference primaries on a single day. The rationale for this concerted action was that the South would be able to determine the Democratic nominee. The region failed miserably in this effort, as its votes were split among three candidates, each of whom won at least two states.1 The ultimate Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, won only the two least southern states ( Florida and Texas), while the winner of the most states and delegates, Jesse Jackson, was certainly not the intended beneficiary of the reform effort. Super Tuesday 1988 was as successful as Gettysburg had been for the South.
The modified southern strategy of 1992 achieved many of the goals held out for its predecessor. A southerner swept all of the region's Democratic primaries held in March and less than two weeks after Super Tuesday 1992 had driven all serious opponents from the field. By March 20, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton had a virtually unobstructed path to the nomination.
Almost immediately after the 1988 Super Tuesday, some states that felt slighted by the candidates indicated that they would shift the date of their primary. Four states moved the date of their presidential primary to some point after March 10. Georgia, which had received substantial attention from candidates and the media in 1988, made a surprise, last-minute change. In late 1991, Governor Zell Miller, who was leading most of the state's prominent Democrats into the Clinton camp, unveiled a proposal to shift Georgia's primary forward to March 3. Miller wanted Georgia to become the New Hampshire of the South.
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Publication information: Book title: The 1992 Presidential Election in the South:Current Patterns of Southern Party and Electoral Politics. Contributors: Robert P. Steed - Editor, Laurence W. Moreland - Editor, Tod A. Baker - Editor. Publisher: Praeger Publishers. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1994. Page number: 9.
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