, Georgia
The Omni
July 18th - 21st 1988

Democratic Convention Schedule of Speakers


Monday, July 25, 2016: Democratic Convention, Day 1
Tuesday, July 26, 2016: Democratic Convention, Day 2
Wednesday, July 27, 2016: Democratic Convention, Day 3
Thursday, July 28, 2016: Democratic Convention, Day 4
  List of all Speakers with videos and transcripts

Convention Chairperson:
James C. Wright of Texas
Presidential Nominee:
Michael S. Dukakis of Massachusetts
Vice Presidential Nominee:
Lloyd M. Bentsen, Jr. of Texas
 


The Omni Coliseum in Atlanta, Georgia, was the host for the 40th Democratic National Convention from July 18 to July 21 1988. The run up to the convention saw favorites Gary Hart (runner up in the previous edition, behind Walter Mondale), Mario Cuomo (Governor of New York) and Senator Joe Biden (Vice President in the Obama administration) fell to the wayside as their personal affairs wrecked their bid at its infancy. It was particularly heartbreaking for Hart as he was generally considered a strong favorite for the Democratic candidacy, but his affair with glamour model Donna Rice put paid to his and his supporters' ambitions.

Relative national newcomers Michael Dukakis, (Governor of Massachusetts) and Reverend Jesse Jackson emerged as the new favorites with Dukakis eventually winning the nomination with ease, winning twelve of the last thirteen primaries. The Seven Dwarfs, as the seven candidates were fondly referred to during the primaries, consisted of Hart, Dukakis, Jackson and Missouri Representative Richard Gephardt, Governor Bruce Babbitt of Arizona, Senator Al Gore Jr. of Tennessee (Vice President in the Clinton administration), and Senator Paul Simon of Illinois.

The final tally for the delegates stood as:

Michael Dukakis - 2,877 (70.09%)
Jesse Jackson - 1,219 (29.70%)
Richard Stallings - 3 (0.07%)
Joe Biden - 2 (0.05%)
Dick Gephardt - 2 (0.05%)
Lloyd Bentsen - 1 (0.02%)
Gary Hart - 1 (0.02%)

Figures from the primaries showed Dukakis that his support among the blacks was very low, which led him to seriously consider the approach from Jackson, who offered himself to be Dukakis' running mate. Such a move would immediately consolidate Dukakis' position among his weakest demographic, but Jackson was deeply unpopular among the "Reagan Democrats" and after some extensive behind the scenes maneuvering, Dukakis chose Lloyd Bentsen as his running mate. However, the Dukakis camp leaking of the story to the press before informing Jackson angered his supporters, but Jackson, to his credit, dutifully fell back in line and threw his full support behind Dukakis.

The generally relaxed atmosphere of the event was credited to Convention Chair, Jim Wright, who was also Speaker of the House of Representatives, and apart from the expected ribbing and criticism on the Republican candidate, George Bush, it was one of the more sedated Democratic Convention in recent history.

One of the most memorable moments of the convention was when an unknown Arkansas Governor, going by the name of Bill Clinton (ring any bells?), made one of the worst opening night address ever, which led to him being jeered by some in the Coliseum during his 32 minute opus.

The Democratic platform for the convention stressed the necessity to amend the health care program and subject it to government control in light of its rising costs, and ensuring that coverage is extended to a wider spectrum of Americans. The party also sought to increase federal funding for the education sector, drug enforcement initiatives and the armed services, while stating its intent to pursue a stronger peace policy in the Middle East.






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