In 1987, a man named Gary Hart ran for President of the United States. The Democratic Senator from Colorado — who had run McGovern’s campaign in 1972, and who had narrowly lost to Walter Mondale for the Dem nomination in 1984 — was damn near a sure thing. He was way out ahead of everyone in the race, and if he’d won the nomination, I’m guessing he would have fared much better than Michael Dukakis. He might have stopped George W. Bush from becoming President, which I’m sure would have had a butterfly effect on the entire Presidential succession until now.
But Hart’s campaign was derailed because 1987 was the year that the media decided to turn the personal lives of politicians into news. Hart was rumored to have had an affair with a campaign aide, Donna Rice, and the media scrutiny into his personal life — and that of his family — ultimately forced Hart out of the campaign. When he returned — a month before the New Hampshire primaries — it was already over. He finished with 4 percent of the vote in New Hampshire, dropped out, and the rest is history.
This photo right here might have altered our entire Presidential history.
Without that photo, maybe Clinton wouldn’t have been President. Maybe W. wouldn’t have been, either, or even Trump. Maybe Hart wins, and then Bob Dole, and then John Kerry and then John McCain, and maybe the Bush/Clinton dynasties never happen, but maybe Obama is never President, either. Or Bernie never happens. Maybe in our Sliding Doors scenario, Jon Kasich is our President. Or Tom Daschle. Or maybe it was supposed to be Trump all along.
The candidacy of Gary Hart is now being adapted into what is likely an Oscar contender starring Hugh Jackman, directed by Jason Reitman. Vera Farmiga, Sara Paxton, and J.K. Simmons also star. Here’s the trailer:
Header Image Source: Sony