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United States

Yearbook 1996

USA. According to, political life in the United States in 1996 was dominated by the November 5 elections. In addition to the president and vice-president, one-third of the Senate, the entire House of Representatives and a wide range of state and local officials were elected.

1996 United StatesIn the presidential election, on the Democratic side, Bill Clinton as incumbent president was the self-signed candidate, while a number of candidates signed up among Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas, who was now seeking his party's nomination for presidential candidate for the third time, was the leader, but he was challenged from the right by Pat Buchanan, who won the primary in New Hampshire Feb. 20, and by multimillionaire Steve Forbes, who won primary election in Arizona February 27. Other Republican candidates were former Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander and Texas Senator Phil Gramm. By the end of March, however, it was clear that Dole had won the nomination, following a series of clear victories in the primary elections across the United States, and all challengers except Buchanan withdrew their names.

1996 United States

Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, opinion polls gave President Clinton a secure lead over his challengers, often by more than ten percentage points. In June, Dole resigned as senator and majority leader to devote himself entirely to his candidacy, which did not seem to help his cause, and the entire campaign became quite paralyzed. Instead, much of the interest came from whether Democrats could regain control of one or both chambers of Congress.

When the votes were counted, Clinton had won safely with 379 electoral votes against Doles 159. Of voters, Clinton got 49%, Dole 41%, and Perot 8%.

In the congressional elections, however, Republicans retained control in both the Senate (55 vs. 45, a two-seat increase) and in the House of Representatives (227 vs. 207.1, a three-seat reduction). Voter turnout in the presidential elections was the lowest in decades, just under 50%.

The end of the election shows Clinton's skill as a politician, as his chances for reelection were considered very small after the 1994 midterm elections when Republicans took control in Congress. The relatively good US economy, the fact that Republicans succeeded in dominating Newt Gingrich's right wing and the inherent advantage that a presidential office provides are other important explanations for Clinton's victory.

The US economy performed well in 1996. Inflation remained at a low level - below 3% - and unemployment was just over 5%. In October, the Dow Jones index on the New York Stock Exchange also reached an "all time high" and for the first time exceeded 6,000.

The protracted budget battle between the president and Congress, which meant layoffs of federal employees at the end of 1995, were finally finalized in January. It is also clear that the question of how pensions and healthcare should be financed in the future is among the most important economic-political issues in the United States today.

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