Reverend Jesse Jackson 1988
Following eight years of hard right conservatism from President Ronald Reagan, the 1988 election would be a fight for ideology. The Democratic Party was trying to find a fresh face candidate to help spark some excitement and end the Republican reign in the White House. Jesse Jackson thought he could be that new face. This would be his second bid for the White House as he was unsuccessful in 1984. This time around, he would be much more financed and organized, demonstrating to the voters that he was a serious candidate.
Jackson was well known first for his efforts in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s working closely with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In the 1980s, he would begin his career as a politician and a spokesman for civil rights issues. In 1983, he became just the second African American to establish a national campaign for the presidency. He surprised many with his popularity as he finished in third place, a statement to the American people. This left him in a prime position to establish a strong base and gather monetary support going into the next election.
Leading up to the caucuses and primaries, Gary Hart was a frontrunner for most of 1987. A moderate Senator from Colorado, the Democratic Party felt he was exactly what they needed to take on the Republicans. He would eventually die off as rumors began to spread about his extramarital affairs. He would insist that this was not true and challenged the media to follow him around in order to prove himself innocent. This was not a good idea as the rumors were true, killing his hopes for the nomination.
This gave rise to candidates who were thought to have little chance prior to the Hart scandal. Jesse Jackson began gaining widespread support from the American people. In the end, Jackson wound up winning 7 primaries and 4 caucuses. His momentum would take an ultimate him in Wisconsin as the eventual nominee, Michael Dukakis, won with a fairly comfortable margin.
Herman Cain 2012
Herman Cain burst into the spotlight as a Republican candidate for president in the reelection year of President Obama. In an era of outsiders, Cain stood out for his business background and expertise in what seemed as a must-win election for Republicans. In the Fall of 2011, Cain was the frontrunner for his party, but would see his support quickly disappear.
Cain attended graduate school at Purdue University where he would receive a master of science in computer science. Despite this degree, his career would launch on the business side of the restaurant industry. He would then be appointed in 1989 as chairman of the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Following that stint, he moved to Washington D.C. where he lobbied for the National Restaurant Association. This is where he began his involvement in politics as he began gaining experience with lawmakers and making key connections within the Republican Party.
With Cain’s rise to the top of the Republican Party came his inevitable downfall. After being deemed the party frontrunner through different straw polls, Cain’s numbers began to drop significantly when allegations arose of his past sexual misconduct with numerous female employees. As the allegations stirred around the media, his support would plummet to the point where he suspended his campaign at the end of 2011.