July 20

Democratic National Convention

July 20, 1988 - Atlanta

The Democratic Party came to Atlanta in 1988 to choose its champion to take on Vice President George Bush, the shoo-in republican nominee as President Reagan’s heir apparent.

By the time Democrats gathered at the Omni in Atlanta for four days in July 1988, former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis had won a hotly contested nomination over Jesse Jackson. Governor Joe Frank Harris led Georgia’s delegation, which included former President Jimmy Carter and Senator Sam Nunn. Though Harris cast Georgia’s vote for Dukakis, the governor thought he was too liberal and didn’t publicly support him in the fall campaign. Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton formally nominated Dukakis in a rambling 32-minute speech that pundits confidently predicted would end his political career.

But even if Vice President Bush did trounce Dukakis that fall, the Democrats had found the man who would dethrone him four years later—Governor Bill Clinton of Arkansas, who nominated Michael Dukakis for president on a hot night in Atlanta on July 20, 1988, Today in Georgia History.