Alternative History


Thinking they had a good chance to upset young Vice-President Clinton after President Cuomo's surprise decision not to seek renomination to a second term in favor of Clinton (eventually accepting appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court), the Republicans presented a crowded field. Among those who entered the race were: Representative Jack Kemp of New York (Dole's running mate in the 1988 election); author and commentator Patrick Buchanan; the televangelist Reverend Pat Robertson; former Congressman and Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney of Wyoming; Senator Lamar Alexander (Tennessee); former Secretary of State James Baker III; and Senator Richard Lugar (Indiana). Despite strong showings by Cheney (the surprise second-place finisher) and the bombastic Buchanan in the primaries, Kemp won the nomination. To heal the rift created by the primaries, Kemp took a page from Reagan and selected as his running mate the runner up and foreign policy/security specialist "Dick" Cheney. It was the first time in recent memory that two nominees comprising the same ticket hailed primarily from the House of Representatives (although Cheney had been Secretary of Defense as well).

Top-Finishers in the Republican Primaries

  • Jack Kemp (nominee)
  • Richard "Dick" Cheney
  • Pat Buchanan
  • Lamar Alexander
  • James Baker III


Vice President Clinton was the clear front runner for the nomination after President Cuomo's bombshell decision to step down after only one term. Still, he had to beat back "insurgent" challenges from maverick former Governor Jerry Brown of California, former Senator Paul Tsongas, and Senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska. As his running mate, Clinton chose another young Southerner, Albert Gore Jr. of Tennessee.

Top-Finishers in the Democratic Primaries

  • Bill Clinton (nominee)
  • Bob Kerrey
  • Jerry Brown
  • Paul Tsongas

Electoral College Result:

Clinton/Gore 302

Kemp/Cheney: 236

Popular Result

Clinton/Gore: 50%

Kemp/Cheney: 49%

Cuomo's gamble in retiring to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court after only one term as President (citing "family reasons" among others) paid off when his younger and more charismatic Vice-President surged to the top of the ticket. The country recovered from the 1989-1991 recession and the Democratic administration benefited from the historic end of the Cold War under its watch plus the entry of Ross Perot making possible the almost miraculous recovery of a Democratic administration that seemed all but beaten in 1991.

Congressional ellections

House of Representatives

Democratic = 230

Republican = 205


Democratic = 55

Republican = 45

See also