Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Ross Perot, billionaire business magnate and former presidential candidate, dies at 89

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Ross Perot
by Elisha Fieldstadt

Ross Perot, a billionaire business magnate who twice ran as a third-party candidate for president, has died after a battle with leukemia.
He was 89.
The self-made billionaire died at his home in Dallas on Tuesday "surrounded by his devoted family," a statement from the family said.
"In business and in life, Ross was a man of integrity and action," the statement said. "A true American patriot and a man of rare vision, principle and deep compassion, he touched the lives of countless people through his unwavering support of the military and veterans and through his charitable endeavors."
"Ross Perot will be deeply missed by all who loved him. He lived a long and honorable life," it said.
Perot was a problem-solver, an obituary posted on his website said. His philosophy was: “If not me, who? And if not now, when?”
That philosophy led him to two presidential campaigns, in 1992 and 1996, as a third-party candidate.
In the 1992 run against George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton, he won 19.7 million votes, almost 20 percent of the popular vote. It was among the best showings by an independent presidential candidate in the 20th century...
To read more, click here.

8 comments:

NewFederalist said...

He really did his best to try to educate the American voter about the unsustainable growth in government spending. It's a shame that no one listened. RIP

FWW said...

Not denigrating Mr. Perot, but I must point out what is an error in vulgar understanding. (And indeed, it is repeated by the author of the article).

Since 1992, it has been widely held that Mr. Perot's ballot yield of some 19.7 million votes was the "most successful" independent/third party bid for president in modern American history. I dispute that presumption.

Strictly speaking, the most successful independent/third party campaign was actually George Wallace's in 1968. While Wallace "only" won about 13.5% of the popular vote (~9.9 million ballots), he actually WON Electoral College votes--46 in total--taking five States in the Lower South (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia).

Even though Perot achieved a relatively enormous ballot count of about 19% of the electorate in 1992 (~double that of Wallace's ballot in 1968), Perot did NOT win Electoral College votes.

I make this caveat because too often third parties think only in terms of a candidate's total percentage of the vote. Doing so is a strategic mistake too often made.

Recent examples: Independent John Anderson in 1980 took what was perhaps the third best total ballot in modern times--5.7 million (6.6%). And, as a Libertarian, Gary Johnson in 2016 took about 4.5 million votes (~3.3%). Yet neither Perot, Anderson or Johnson could claim success in the Electoral College...whereas Wallace could. By that measure, Wallace's 1968 campaign was the LAST "successful" third party/independent bid.

Independents and third parties would be better served by focusing strategies upon winning Electoral College votes rather than extensive operations (without depth) aimed at what are merely bragging rights on "X-numbers" of votes. Expenditure wise, more precise objectives (taking Electoral College Votes) are ultimately more achievable and efficient.

Besides, should an Independent or third party achieve what Wallace did in 1968 in today's narrowly and sharply divided political arena, it is very possible that NO candidate would be in possession of a majority of the Electoral College. Thus, the independent/third party candidate (in possession of a portfolio of "successful" Electoral College Votes) could potentially become "king maker" or at least in a better position to broker the eventual nomination outcome and perhaps leverage several Cabinet appointments and begin to develop a third party portfolio...which I consider vital to effect systemic change.

So, the distinction of what constitutes "success" must be revised. A "non-major" party candidate has insurmountable challenges in winning the nationwide popular vote. Besides, success is non necessarily defined that way...if changing the paradigm is the objective.

In the case of Wallace's 1968 run, he "succeeded" in swinging the former Democrat South from an increasingly leftist party into the more conservative Republican camp. Another point in considering only the popular ballot count...is the current president. In 2016 Trump achieved the necessary majority of Electoral College votes, despite losing the popular ballot to Mrs. Clinton. Thus he, not she, is the current President.

The percentage of the popular ballot therefore should not be the criterion for "success".

While it may be bragging rights, (and indeed Mrs. Clinton has be whining about it for the past two and a half years), the total popular vote is akin to Mark Twain's famous observation. "Thunder's fine. Thunder's impressive. But it's lightning what does the work."

Anyhow, rest in peace, Mr. Perot.

NewFederalist said...

Good commentary, Floyd. Very accurate.

FWW said...

To be clear: "...the total popular vote [versus the Electoral College vote] is akin to Mark Twain's famous observation. "Thunder's fine. Thunder's impressive. But it's lightning what does the work."

NewFederalist said...

The Electoral College is under attack today precisely because no one reads the Constitution or the Federalist Papers and the Anti-Federalist Papers. The states created the national government not the other way around. The House of Representatives was intended to be elected frequently and directly by the people. Not the Senate nor the president/vice president. They were to be elected by the states in whatever fashion each state decided. The 17th Amendment encroached on the states method of electing Senators and now the "buzz" is to get rid of the Electoral College. Democracy was not the intention of the founders... a Republic was. We shall see if we can actually hold on to it.

NewFederalist said...

One more comment... by Floyd’s Electoral College versus popular vote analogy above perhaps John Hospers 1972 presidential showing on the Libertarian ticket would also qualify as successful due to him receiving an Electoral College vote from Virginia. Just my $0.02 worth.

FWW said...

Now, now, now.

John Hospers in 1972 received a vote cast by an unfaithful Nixon elector. Unfaithful electors do not count. Besides, many States have sanctions against that.

Should also point out that in 2016 alleged "write-ins" received 7 electoral votes...but again, these were unfaithful electors, whose ballots were effectively spoiled.

NewFederalist said...

Then one of Wallace's 1968 EV doesn't really count, either. A Nixon elector from North Carolina jumped ship.