What if Lloyd Bentsen in 92?

So Lloyd Bentsen was debating on running for President in 1992 but he decided against it, so what if he decided to take a chance and run? How does he do in the primaries? Could he win the nomination? If he does win the Presidency what is his legacy as President?
 
So Lloyd Bentsen was debating on running for President in 1992 but he decided against it, so what if he decided to take a chance and run? How does he do in the primaries? Could he win the nomination? If he does win the Presidency what is his legacy as President?

He'd be rather old (71) which by today's standards isn't unusual, but it was in 1992. Plus, he'd be associated with a failed campaign that Democrats wanted nothing to do with. When Bentsen ran in 1976, his campaign went nowhere. I think initially Bentsen might top the polls but he'd lose. But one butterfly is he may split the Southern moderate vote with Clinton and hand the nomination to someone like Paul Tsongas.
 
He'd be rather old (71) which by today's standards isn't unusual, but it was in 1992. Plus, he'd be associated with a failed campaign that Democrats wanted nothing to do with. When Bentsen ran in 1976, his campaign went nowhere. I think initially Bentsen might top the polls but he'd lose. But one butterfly is he may split the Southern moderate vote with Clinton and hand the nomination to someone like Paul Tsongas.
Tsongas-Bentsen would be an even more moderate Democratic ticket than OTL on the economic issues.

A big knock-on is that in 1996 the Democratic nomination would be an open field. Tsongas would have passed away and Bentsen would be 75.
 
Tsongas-Bentsen would be an even more moderate Democratic ticket than OTL on the economic issues.

A big knock-on is that in 1996 the Democratic nomination would be an open field. Tsongas would have passed away and Bentsen would be 75.

Well, if Tsongas wins New Hampshire because Bentsen and Clinton split the Southern moderate vote and Tsongas wins the nomination as a result, a Tsongas/Gore ticket could win in the general. In 1995, Tsongas dies due to the stress of the office and President Gore carries the sympathy vote to a full term in 1996. He is re-elected in 2000, becoming the second longest serving U.S. President after FDR.
 
Bentsen, for all of his merits, was on a failed ticket in 1988. Looking at post-WWII, Warren, Sparkman, Kefauver, Lodge, Miller, Muskie, Shriver (plus Eagleton), Ferraro, Quayle, Kemp, Lieberman, Edwards, Palin, Ryan and Kaine never became presidential nominess. Dole and Mondale both did, but each lost heavily and the former's run with Ford in 1976 had by then been overshadowed by his long career in the Senate leadership and the latter had been a well-regarded VP.
 
Bentsen, for all of his merits, was on a failed ticket in 1988. Looking at post-WWII, Warren, Sparkman, Kefauver, Lodge, Miller, Muskie, Shriver (plus Eagleton), Ferraro, Quayle, Kemp, Lieberman, Edwards, Palin, Ryan and Kaine never became presidential nominess. Dole and Mondale both did, but each lost heavily and the former's run with Ford in 1976 had by then been overshadowed by his long career in the Senate leadership and the latter had been a well-regarded VP.
Is there any way Bentsen could have won the nomination?
 
Is there any way Bentsen could have won the nomination?

Absolutely. I don't think it's the most likely outcome, but it's well within the realm of possibility. As mentioned, he'd start with a huge lead based on name rec. In 1992, Harkin had a lock on Iowa so no one competed there. The first contest was New Hampshire. If you delay the Flowers scandal or have Clinton's team botch their handling of it, it isn't hard to see Bentsen winning NH (though Tsongas will probably be close and claim the "Comeback Kid" narrative Clinton did IOTL). At this point, I think establishment Democrats who went to Clinton in the Clinton, Brown, Tsongas three-way race will warm to Bentsen. Tsongas was seen as a little out there by many.

It's not going to be a flowery campaign with big rallies and adoring crowds, but Bentsen can get the job done and win the primary - absolutely. And he probably does better than Clinton in the general. I could absolutely see him picking up North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, and Texas -- all of which Clinton lost by less than 4%.

He'll need a youthful and energetic running mate. You could definitely see Gore. Maybe Bill Bradley?

There will be a lot of speculation about whether or not Bentsen should take a one-term pledge as Dole did in 1996 in OTL, but I don't think he would. (Although by this point candidates hadn't learned the lesson of it backfiring...)
 
Bentsen, for all of his merits, was on a failed ticket in 1988. Looking at post-WWII, Warren, Sparkman, Kefauver, Lodge, Miller, Muskie, Shriver (plus Eagleton), Ferraro, Quayle, Kemp, Lieberman, Edwards, Palin, Ryan and Kaine never became presidential nominess. Dole and Mondale both did, but each lost heavily and the former's run with Ford in 1976 had by then been overshadowed by his long career in the Senate leadership and the latter had been a well-regarded VP.

It's worth noting that Ferraro, Kemp, Palin, Ryan, and Kaine never tried after being on the ticket, and Quayle did not try in 1996; he waited four years by which point he was largely irrelevant in national politics.

In the era of modern primaries and caucuses, only Shriver and Lieberman made a serious go of trying to win the nomination after losing as the running mate.
 
It's worth noting that Ferraro, Kemp, Palin, Ryan, and Kaine never tried after being on the ticket, and Quayle did not try in 1996; he waited four years by which point he was largely irrelevant in national politics.

In the era of modern primaries and caucuses, only Shriver and Lieberman made a serious go of trying to win the nomination after losing as the running mate.
Lodge ran in 1964, Muskie in 1972
 
Absolutely. I don't think it's the most likely outcome, but it's well within the realm of possibility. As mentioned, he'd start with a huge lead based on name rec. In 1992, Harkin had a lock on Iowa so no one competed there. The first contest was New Hampshire. If you delay the Flowers scandal or have Clinton's team botch their handling of it, it isn't hard to see Bentsen winning NH (though Tsongas will probably be close and claim the "Comeback Kid" narrative Clinton did IOTL). At this point, I think establishment Democrats who went to Clinton in the Clinton, Brown, Tsongas three-way race will warm to Bentsen. Tsongas was seen as a little out there by many.

It's not going to be a flowery campaign with big rallies and adoring crowds, but Bentsen can get the job done and win the primary - absolutely. And he probably does better than Clinton in the general. I could absolutely see him picking up North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, and Texas -- all of which Clinton lost by less than 4%.

He'll need a youthful and energetic running mate. You could definitely see Gore. Maybe Bill Bradley?

There will be a lot of speculation about whether or not Bentsen should take a one-term pledge as Dole did in 1996 in OTL, but I don't think he would. (Although by this point candidates hadn't learned the lesson of it backfiring...)
I feel like Bentson being more old school would pick Bradley as a running mate for both geological and ideological balance. Now, what changes I don't know maybe Bradley wins in 2000?
 
Bradley refused consideration as the running mate in 1984, 1988 and 1992. If he'd been interested he would have quite possibly been the running mate in the latter two.
 
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