James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, September 05, 2008

Kemp/Powell 1996: The Lost Ticket

This is my latest at the Partial Observer. Excerpt:
In the mid-1990's, millionaire publisher Steve Forbes wanted his friend, supply-side crusader and former Congressman Jack Kemp, to run for President. Kemp refused, mainly because of the fund-raising he would have had to do. Forbes would have gladly bankrolled Kemp's campaign, but our insane campaign-finance laws prohibited it. Because individuals were allowed to spend on their own campaigns, however, Forbes decided to run for President himself. Kemp endorsed Forbes as the Republcian nominee, angering front-runner Bob Dole. Although Dole did get the nomination, in the end the Forbes' campaign was a success, because Dole chose Kemp as his running mate, and Dole agreed to campaign on a platform of tax cuts, which was the primary issue for Forbes, Kemp, and the Republican base.
Had Kemp himself campaigned for the nomination, he would not have needed to accommodate the social or anti-tax conservatives; they would have enthusiastically voted for him, and Kemp could have had the political capital to appeal to Republican Left-Moderates, something Dole did not have. If Kemp won the nomination, a Kemp-Powell ticket may still have lost, but it would have been a more historic campaign. If there was a Kemp-Powell ticket in 1996, there would not have been four white men on the ticket in 2000. There would not have been four white men on the ticket in 2004.