Brush­ing up on elec­toral history

Re “It’s the ma­jor­ity, stupid,” Opin­ion, June 14

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

In ar­gu­ing that Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton should run “a lib­eral cam­paign,” Jamelle Bouie skews elec­toral history.

It’s true that Bill Clin­ton “never won a ma­jor­ity of the vote,” but that’s be­cause there was a third­party can­di­date (Ross Perot) in 1992 and 1996, not be­cause of his “cen­trist mes­sage.” Perot ran on a con­ser­va­tive, debt-re­duc­tion plat­form.

De­spite that, in 1996, Clin­ton routed Bob Dole by 49.2% to 40.7%. This was more than twice the pop­u­lar-vote mar­gin by which Pres­i­dent Obama de­feated Repub­li­can Mitt Rom­ney in his 2012 re­elec­tion cam­paign.

More­over, Obama’s elec­tion vic­tory in 2008 (52.9% to 45.7%) was mod­est con­sid­er­ing the GOP’s stew­ard­ship over our worst eco­nomic col­lapse since 1932 and the sense­less war in Iraq. To pro­vide some real con­text, in 1932, Franklin D. Roo­sevelt smashed GOP in­cum­bent Herbert Hoover, 57.4% to 39.7%.

History shows that, in 2000, it was lib­eral “purism” that prompted 97,000 Florid­i­ans to vote for Ralph Nader in­stead of Al Gore, who lost to Bush there by fewer than 600 votes.

We all know the dire con­se­quences of that.

Mark E. Kalmansohn

Santa Mon­ica

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