Third Party Politics
The economy. It was not that America teetered on the edge of another depression in 1992. Although homeless men, women, and even children could be seen on corners and in doorways of the nation’s cities, there were not the long bread lines or crowded soup kitchens of the 1930s. But a general sense existed among the middle class, among those who had jobs and were paying the rent, that this generation was not doing “as well as” previous generations. Sons were not living as well as fathers, daughters not as well as mothers. The pursuit of happiness, fueled in large part by cash, had become that much more difficult, and a majority of voters blamed it on George Bush. Bill Clinton entered the White House by a comfortable margin, but if voters rejected Bush, a sizable minority of them also rejected Clinton.
For the first time since Theodore Roosevelt ran as a Bull Moose candidate in 1912, a third-party contender made a significant impact at the polls. Presenting himself as a candidate dissatisfied with both the Republicans and Democrats, billionaire Texas businessman H. Ross Perot (b. 1930) told Americans that they were the “owners” of the nation and that it was about time they derived benefit from such ownership.