CAMPAIGN ’88 : Parallels to ’76 Cited

If you believe in historical parallels in politics, San Francisco Democratic consultant Paul Ambrosino argues that the 1988 Democratic presidential race looks a lot like 1976.

--"Mario Cuomo is Hubert Humphrey,” Ambrosino said. “Humphrey never got in the race in ’76 but said he would not rule out a draft at the convention.”

--Jackson is former Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace this time: “a populist message and a base of angry voters.”

--Simon is the 1988 version of Arizona Rep. Morris K. Udall: “Both are thoughtful liberals, very popular with the press, everybody’s second choice.”


--Missouri Rep. Richard A. Gephardt is 1988’s Birch Bayh, the former senator from Indiana: “They’re the bland Midwesterners.”

--What about Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis? “He’s Scoop Jackson,” argues Ambrosino, referring to the late Washington Sen. Henry M. Jackson. “Scoop had all the money but couldn’t win.”

--Former Arizona Gov. Bruce Babbitt is the 1988 version of 1976’s Frank Church, the late senator from Idaho: “Very decent men who can’t catch on.”

That leaves Tennessee Sen. Albert Gore Jr., and it should be noted that Ambrosino just signed a contract to do campaign mail for Gore.


Not surprisingly, he sees Gore as Jimmy Carter, 1976’s winner: “Both are Southern centrists. One admitted lust in his heart, the other lust in his lungs,” Ambrosino said, referring to Gore’s use of marijuana 15 years ago.

That still leaves former California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., who got into the 1976 race late and beat Carter in several primaries.

“Hmmm, I wonder if Jerry will be Jerry again,” Ambrosino said.