Bill Clinton was elected to the presidency in 1992, a time of economic distress, social division, and a deep yearning for change and hope.
Seasoned observers had said that President George H. W. Bush was unbeatable. In 1991, when Governor Clinton decided to run for the White House, Bush had popular approval ratings near 90 percent. But Bill Clinton wasn’t listening to the pundits. He was listening to the people he met on his travels across the country—hardworking Americans facing economic hardship, and poor people who had been left behind. They all felt forgotten by the people in power.
In the primaries that followed, Clinton defeated five other contenders for the nomination of the Democratic party. In the general election, he faced not only the incumbent President, but also the independent Ross Perot, a tough-talking Texas businessman. But it was Bill Clinton who claimed the mantle as the candidate of change, the only candidate with a clear vision for America’s future, and the ideas and political will to make it reality.
On election night, Clinton received 370 electoral votes to Bush’s 168. The man from Hope won 33 states—and the presidency of the United States.