If you don’t remember Michael Dukakis, there’s a reason for it. Dukakis, the former Governor of Massachusetts, ran for President in 1988 as a Democrat, losing to the Republican nominee of George H.W. Bush. Declaring himself the “Massachusetts Miracle”, Dukakis hoped to attract huge democratic swarms to his campaigns during the election season. Who stood in his way? Joe Biden, Al Gore, Jesse Jackson, Paul Simon, Gary Hardt…(the Democratic field in 1988 seems to resemble to 2016 Republican one in terms of size) in the primaries.
He prevailed, with 2,877 out of 4,105 delegates, and became the candidate for the Democratic Party in 1988. Dukakis had trouble with the personality that he projected to the voting public. He wasn’t an open man, with a charismatic atmosphere that one expects from politicians. He was reserved, stoic at times, and the public considered him to have a lack of passion when it came to politics. Foundation wise, Dukakis was rather sound. But when it came to presenting himself, he fell…pretty short.
His soft personality made for great Republican criticism. His platform mixed with his character oftentimes, when it came to defense. His perceived weaknesses, his softness in personality and in spirit, brought Dukakis to a crossroad. Either he’d be forced to orchestrate something to get rid of the Republican claims against him, or he’d continue being perceived as a weak choice for the presidency.
So, what did Dukakis do?
He took pictures and footage of himself inside a tank.
Of course, Dukakis isn’t the only politician in history to do such a thing. The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher, had been photographed riding in a Challenger tank; but Thatcher’s picture resulted in a successful reelection prospect. Dukakis attempted to mimic this success, visiting the General Dyanamics Land Systems Plant in Sterling Heights Michigan on September 13th of 1988 to get his own “tank miracle”. A photo op took place, and the historically famous video of Michael Dukakis in an M1 Abrams tank was recorded.
The footage was used in television ads from the Bush campaign, and Republicans claimed it as evidence that Dukakis would not have made a good commander-in-chief for the United States. “Dukakis in the tank” is perhaps the staple for backfired public relations in American politics.
You’d think politicians would learn, right?
Well, welcome to the United States. Most politicians don’t seem to realize history exists, apparently.
Meet Carly Fiorina, one of the most pathetic excuses for a candidate in the Republican primaries in 2016, 28 years after Dukakis and his failed attempt to become president. She’s been caught in a string of lies, from Planned Parenthood to the real reason why she bailed from her failure at the Iowa Caucus (she claimed it was due to a storm). A terrible politician who inherited her terrible behavior from her terrible time as a failure of a CEO at HP, Fiorina has absolutely no business being in the primaries. She bashes Clinton for over-using the term ‘woman’ and then turns around to boast about how she’s the only woman running on the Republican side. Her fanbase is composed of elderly women who watch Fox News (so about six people across America).
So, she can’t really do anything to make her campaign worse, right?
Just the idea of getting near something like this, fake or real or joke or not, should bring a politician Dukakis flashbacks.