What if Perot Won the 1992 U.S. Presidential Election?

Disclosure: The author of this post is third party. This is pure speculation.


The latest video from the AlternateHistoryHub YouTube channel is about Ross Perot winning the 1992 U.S. election and becoming the 42nd president.

I remember the 1992 election and how some people were enthusiastically supporting his run. There was definitely a desire, small but undeniable, for change.

The video supposes Perot would have also won a second term in 1996. I really don't think that would have been. Maybe the 1994 mid-term election could have also got more Reform party members in Congress but that would have really depended on how the first half of Perot's term went. I can't really imagine that there wouldn't have been a lot of gridlock and resistance to Perot's administration from a unified front of Republicans and Democrats.

Maybe as the video points out Perot might have at least stalled temporarily the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Looking at the vote numbers passage was pretty close and a Perot 1992 victory might have skewed the votes in the Senate to a 50-50 tie. If that had happened then under Article I, Section 3, Clause 4 of the U.S. Constitution the tie would have been broken by the vice president. In a 1992 Perot administration that would have been retired Vice Admiral James Stockdale who presumably would have voted no based on Perot's opposition to NAFTA.

Rather than going into the timeframe of when NAFTA could have still passed with a Perot veto and a two-thirds vote in each Chamber of Congress finally agreeing to vote for an override to the veto (some of the gridlock I imagine would have happened); there is something else I don't think would have happened under Perot. There probably wouldn't have been a Line Item Veto Act of 1996. I don't think the embedded two party system would have wanted to give that power to a third party president. In the long term it really doesn't matter because the line item veto was declared unconstitutional in 1998.

I think if Perot ran again in 1996 he would have lost. Probably the Republicans would have been perceived to be too close to the Reform party and would have also lost in 1996. I imagine 1996 would have been won by Al Gore or John Kerry and Clinton might have ran again for the presidency in 2004. Richard Nixon lost in 1960 but won in 1968 and I like to go with historic parallels.