Right out of the starting blocks, the presidential campaign of Donald Trump has been headline-making controversial — with stories of the candidate remarking on rape, expressing disgust with a nursing mother and calling into question Sen. John McCain's heroism as a prisoner of war.
The Hillary Clinton campaign has already had its share of oddities, as well. More than 50 percent of Americans say they do not trust her, CNN reports: "And it's likely the result of the weight of several problems that haven't gone away — particularly her use of a private email while at the State Department and her family foundation's acceptance of foreign contributions."
What is an American political campaign if not a challenge to convention, a stretching of the status quo, an ode to originality? There have already been many remarkable moments on the trails this season. But, historically speaking, which candidate's presidential campaign was the strangest ever?
Crackers And Milk
The question is really about the strangest "campaign" — as a whole — in American history as opposed to the strangest thing or things that "happened" during someone's campaign.
Political observers of the past have pointed to:
'Remarkable And Unique'
So do any of these qualify as the Strangest Presidential Election Campaign in American History?
"While I would give honorable mention to the ones you cited," says Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, "I'd add Jerry Brown's quixotic effort in 1992. But my nominee would be Ross Perot in 1992. He broke all the rules and had a very significant impact on politics and policy even in losing." Sabato lists his reasons:
We put the same open-ended question to Jason Johnson, a political historian at Hiram College. And we got the same answer.
"I would probably say Ross Perot, at least in recent memory," Johnson says. "Ross Perot's campaign was legitimately odd for the time." Johnson lists his reasons:
So Perot wins. At least when it comes to weird campaigns. And at least with our two historians. But there are many months to go in the 2016 race. And there are a lot of candidates. So who knows? In politics, things can always get stranger.
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