WI: Donald Rumsfeld ran for President in 1996

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by 297*, Dec 2, 2019.

  1. 297* Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2014
    In OTL, Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld initially forned an exploratory committee, but later declined to formally enter the race.

    Let's say that sometime in January 1995, Bob Dole announces he is not running for President in the 1996 Republican Primaries. Later that same year, Rumsfeld announces his candidacy. How well would Donald Rumsfeld do during ATL's Primaries? Were Rumsfeld to win the nomination, how well would he do against Bill Clinton during the General Election? Whom might Rumsfeld select as his VP nominee? I was thinking either John McCain or Carroll Campbell.
  2. Thomas Jefferson Well-Known Member

    Jun 11, 2012
    I think he'd have a big "Don Who?" problem. At this point, he'd been in the private sector for nearly 20 years, and he didn't have the high public profile of the business leaders who usually get talked about for Presidential campaigns.
    Amadeus and overoceans like this.
  3. overoceans Well-Known Member

    Jul 5, 2012
    He would have to keep long-time collaborator Steve Herbits miles away from any campaign, especially the primaries. And, actually, given Herbits' very high-profile activism on certain, shall we say, cultural issues(see under "Philanthropy"), even total non-involvement on his part probably wouldn't dissuade the forces of Right.
  4. V-J Resources From Westminster

    Sep 11, 2007
    Bob Dole not being there isn't going to make Random Defence Secretary From the Seventies viable any more than he was viable with Dole there. You need to materially change Rumsfeld's career to make him a potential nominee.
    Beanstalk likes this.
  5. Amadeus Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2017
    I don't think Rumsfeld had enough institutional support or charisma to win the nomination. Even if he did (maybe the GOP establishment turns to him to stop Buchanan) he'd probably lose to Clinton. 1996 was Clinton's election to lose: with a good economy and an unpopular Republican Congress, the only way a Republican can win is if they are massively popular (like Colin Powell) and if Clinton screws up badly. If the only thing that changes here is that Rumsfeld runs while Dole doesn't, then Clinton is still re-elected.
    darklordoftech and Beanstalk like this.
  6. Whanztastic BohemianAmerican Defenestrater Monthly Donor

    Apr 13, 2009
    Ft. Dearborn
    I don't think Rumsfeld really has the urge to deal with modern campaigning, but to make him a viable candidate in 1996, winning the 1990 and 1994 Illinois gubernatorial races would make me more of a likely option.
    von Mises likes this.
  7. von Mises Stalin

    Aug 24, 2015
    Given he'd have been an Illinois governor, and given the record they have, it would probably have made him more likely to be imprisoned than a viable candidate.
    jhenderson 20 and Whanztastic like this.