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The broken promise that changed the Republican Party

Why George H.W. Bush was the last of his kind.

Video by Liz Scheltens, Mallory Brangan, and AJ Chavar

Presidents give hundreds of speeches, but, for better or worse, Americans tend to remember just a few one-liners. For George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st US president, that line was his pledge at the 1988 Republican National Convention when he accepted the party’s nomination.

“Read my lips: No. New. Taxes.”

The crowd roared in approval, but their cheers were short-lived. When Bush took over the Oval Office, he inherited the consequences of his predecessor Ronald Reagan’s supply-side or “trickle down” economics: massive budget deficits. And in 1990, Bush broke his promise and raised taxes.

Bush was a traditional “country club” Republican, whose relatively moderate economic and social beliefs contrasted with more right-wing conservatives who had supported Reagan. When Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, Reaganites abandoned a moderate, bipartisan approach to politics, and the Republican Party has moved further to the right ever since.

Watch the video above to learn more about the legacy of George H.W. Bush. You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. Subscribe and stay tuned for more.

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