Can Bayh Pull A Clinton?
Mike Taylor responds to Joseph Kenner's last point below:
William J. Clinton 370 electoral 44,909,889 popular vote
George H. Bush 168 electoral 39,104,545 popular vote
H. Ross Perot 0 electoral 19,742,267 popular vote
William J. Clinton 379 electoral 47,402,357 popular vote
Robert Dole 159 electoral 39,198,755 popular vote
H. Ross Perot 0 electoral 8,085,402 popular vote
If it weren't for Ross Perot, Clinton would never have stained a blue dress... well, at least not a blue dress in the Oval Office.
The chart above is the popular vote totals from '92 and '96.
In 1992 Clinton received 43.3% of the vote, Bush 41 received 37.7% and Perot got 19.0%.
Without Perot in the race, I don't think Clinton would have succeeded. Perot was drawing off conservative voters who just had their taxes raised by Geo. H. W. Bush... I can't see that over a third of those Perot voters would have gone for Clinton... no matter how hard those data are spun by Paul Begala and James Carville.
Running with the incumbency in '96, Clinton got the barest of majorities, 50%. Dole garnered 41.4%, Perot finished much worse at 8.5%.
The big myth is that Bill Clinton is a master politician... his "genius" was getting Ross Perot to run in 1992 and getting Bob Dole as an opponent in 1996...
And yes, I know that it comes down to the electoral vote.. I don't have Perot's vote count by state to see how he affected Ohio, West Virginia, Georgia, Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri... all in the Clinton electoral column in 1992.
I think that Evan Bayh is certainly "polished" as you put it, but he comes from a small Midwestern state and has little to no name recognition. And, yes, that could also describe Bill Clinton in 1992... but who would be Bayh's Ross Perot?
Perhaps John McCain... if he doesn't survive the Republican primaries but feels he can appeal to a plurality of voters?
Perhaps Rudy Guiliani... certainly a proven leader with HUGE name recognition and a record to run on? ... also a Pro Choice Republican.
Such stuff as political dreams are made on.