Publish Date: Nov. 21, 1988
Cover Story: Color It Republican
How TIME Covered the News: Chalk up another win for the Republicans. George H.W. Bush, the former CIA director and Ronald Reagan’s two-term vice president, earned a promotion to the nation’s highest office. Taking credit for America’s enduring peace and prosperity, Bush won by a large margin, holding on to many of Reagan’s key voting blocs.
In addition, 1988 became the year of the handlers. Reagan had elevated the importance of public relations and image manipulation. This year the effort to control the imagemakers transformed the way campaigns are conducted: instead of carrying a message directly to voters, the Bush campaign (eventually imitated by the Dukakis camp) sought to produce simple and substanceless sound bites that would convey the right signal during the network news shows.