1988 Democratic National Convention

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1988 Democratic National Convention
1988 presidential election
Dukakis1988rally cropped.jpg LloydBentsen.jpg
Dukakis and Bentsen
Date(s) July 18 - July 21, 1988
City Atlanta, Georgia
Venue The Omni
Keynote speaker Ann Richards
Notable speakers Ted Kennedy
Bill Clinton
Jim Hightower
Jimmy Carter
Walter Mondale
George McGovern
Jesse Jackson
Presidential nominee Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts
Vice Presidential nominee Lloyd Bentsen of Texas
Total delegates 4,105
Votes needed for nomination 2,054
Results (President) Dukakis (MA): 2,877 (70.09%)
Jackson (DC): 1,219 (29.70%)
Stallings (ID): 3 (0.07%)
Biden (DE): 2 (0.05%)
Gephardt (MO): 2 (0.05%)
Bentsen (TX): 1 (0.02%)
Hart (CO): 1 (0.02%)
Ballots 1
1984  ·  1992

The 1988 National Convention of the U.S. Democratic Party was held at The Omni in Atlanta, Georgia from July 18–July 21, 1988 to select candidates for the 1988 presidential election. At the convention Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts was nominated for President and Senator Lloyd Bentsen of Texas for Vice President. The chair of the convention was Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Jim Wright.

Notable speakers

File:Omni Coliseum 1977.jpg
The Omni was the site of the 1988 Democratic National Convention

In one of the subsequent presidential debates, when questioned about the general alleged "negativity" of the campaign, Bush cited the ad hominem attacks against him at the Convention as the root cause, an assertion not rebutted by Dukakis then or subsequently.


The organizers for the convention chose pastel colors as a background in the belief that they would appear better on television. They were patterned after the colors of the American flag in salmon, azure, and eggshell.[2] Republicans mocked the choice and used it to buttress their case that the Democrats were "soft" on the issues.[3] New Jersey governor Thomas Kean claimed at the Republican Convention that "The Dukakis Democrats will try to talk tough, but don't be fooled. They may try to talk like Dirty Harry, but they will still act like Pee Wee Herman." Kean continued that Democrats and Republicans alike "have no use for pastel patriotism... The liberal Democrats are trying to hide more than the colors in our flag; they are trying to hide their true colors."[2]

The theme song for the convention was composed and performed by longtime supporter and folksinger Carly Simon. Entitled Turn of the Tide, this B-side of the hit single Let the River Run from the 20th Century Fox motion picture Working Girl was subsequently used a few weeks later in the U.S./Russian co-production of Marlo Thomas' and Tatiana Vedeneyeva's Emmy-award winning ABC television special Free to Be... a Family and was subsequently released on the best selling soundtrack album.


A number of candidates withdrew from the race at the start of the convention as the rules stated that delegates won by withdrawn candidates could be replaced. Not all of them did however.

The following had their names placed in nomination:


Democratic National Convention presidential vote, 1988[4]
Candidate Votes Percentage
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%)
Totals 4,162 100.00%


With Jackson's supporters demanding that he receive the Vice Presidency as his reward for coming in second, the Dukakis campaign decided to nominate Senator Bentsen by voice vote, rather than a roll call.[citation needed]


  1. Michael E. Eidenmuller (2009-02-13). "Top 100 Speeches of the 20th Century by Rank". American Rhetoric. Retrieved 2015-10-27.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Apple, R. W. (1988-08-17). "THE REPUBLICANS IN NEW ORLEANS; BUSH CHOOSES SENATOR QUAYLE OF INDIANA, A 41-YEAR-OLD CONSERVATIVE, FOR NO. 2 SPOT". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-03-06. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Democrats sell themselves as party of strength at every opportunity". USA Today. 2004-07-27. Retrieved 2008-03-06. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. http://partners.nytimes.com/library/politics/camp/880621convention-dem-ra.html Accessed: April 4, 2013

Preceded by
San Francisco
Democratic National Conventions Succeeded by
New York