Alternative History


President George H.W. Bush was re-nominated for a second term. Vice President Bob Dole of Kansas also achieved re-nomination without opposition.


The Democratic nomination was spiritedly contested. The front runner and heir apparent was former Vice President Walter Mondale, but he was challenged by Senators John Glenn (Ohio), Gary Hart (Colorado), and Alan Cranston (California), in addition to the activist Reverend Jesse Jackson. After securing the nomination against Hart (the surprise runner-up), Mondale selected as his Vice-Presidential candidate Rep. Geraldine Ferraro of New York.

Top-Finishers in the Democratic Primaries

  • Walter Mondale (nominee)
  • Gary Hart
  • Jesse Jackson
  • John Glenn
  • Alan Cranston

Electoral College Result:

Bush/Dole: 419

Mondale/Ferraro: 119

Popular Result

Bush/Dole: 53%

Mondale/Ferraro: 46%

Despite the energy brought to the Democratic campaign by Congresswoman Ferraro (the first woman to be nominated to a presidential ticket in U.S. history), the resurgent U.S. economy, coupled with satisfaction with a more assertive foreign policy stance and the lingering popularity of President Reagan (who had survived an assassination attempt in March 1981 after only a little over two months in office) ensured a triumph to the Republican incumbents.

Congressional elections

House of Representatives

Democratic = 256

Republican = 179


Republican = 52

Democratic = 48

See also