Only One Republican President Has Swept The Popular Vote Since 1988

Photo courtesy of the White House / Public Domain / Cropped

George H.W. Bush was the last Republican to sweep a presidential election, doing so by 426-111 electoral votes in 1988.

The 1988 U.S. presidential election saw then-vice president Bush run against and successfully defeat then-Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, by a margin of more than 300 electoral votes and 8 points in the popular vote, the Washington Examiner reports.

Interestingly, Dukakis started off with 17 points ahead, but his lead quickly plummeted as Bush attacked with a fierce campaign that pledged to continue Ronald Reagan’s popular economic policies, and painted Dukakis as a soft liberal that would raise taxes and be weak on crime and national defense.

The rest of the campaign was marked with notable moments such as a photo-op with a ridiculous-looking Dukakis in a tank-commander helmet, Bush’s notorious "read my lips, no new taxes" promise, a controversial Willie Horton ad, and Bush’s choice of Dan Quayle as his running mate.

Four years later, Bush lost to Bill Clinton, and since then, key states such as California have shifted the electoral college advantage to Democrats.

Since 1988, there have been 7 presidential elections, 3 of which have been won by Republicans that have never won more than 304 electoral votes like Trump did in 2016. Republicans won the popular vote in only one of these elections, when George W. Bush defeated John Kerry in 2004.

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