Fi, Fie, Foe, Perot: Populist Giant or Grim Illusionist?

Purcell, Richard

"Ross Perot. The billionaire. The presidential candidate. The man who made three references to the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny in a recent debate with the Vice President. However one chooses to think of him, Ross Perot is an amazing individual. He simply did not exist as a national political figure two years ago. Yet his simple, down-to-earth approach to economics and government ("just plain talk"), his successful business background, and his stated desire to "do what's right for my country" landed him nearly 20 million votes in last year's presidential election —19 percent of the electorate — without the support of any major party (Fineman 34). A year later he remains the most potent political force in the United States outside the Beltway. This kind of popularity by a single, independent individual is unusual, to say the least.
But contrary to Perot's own often used expression, it's just not that simple. Ross Perot is a skilled political operator, to be sure, but there are larger social, political, and economic forces sustaining his popularity. White House pollster Stan Greenberg is right when he says that Perot is largely a creation of the voters. The Texas billionaire has reached his current level of popularity because the public is dissatisfied with the nation's leadership."--from page 3

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The Journal of Politics and Society

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Helvidius Group
Helvidius Group of Columbia University
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February 12, 2014