In 1988, the Republican national convention opens in New Orleans, at the Louisiana Superdome. New York's Rep. Jack Kemp (pictured) has emerged as the clear front-runner for the presidential nomination, but supporters of several other candidates, especially the Rev. Pat Robertson, are demanding concessions regarding the party's platform.
Family Values by Eric LippsThree days later, as expected, Jack Kemp receives his party's presidential nomination. In his acceptance speech, he announces he has asked Senator Phil Gramm to be his running mate. The choice of Gramm is widely seen as a compromise with the forces of insurgent candidate Rev. Pat Robertson, whose large evangelical following is considered crucial to Republican victory in the fall; Gramm is considered "acceptable" to both mainstream conservative Republicans and the so-called Christian Right, whose members tend to distrust Kemp.
The GOP platform this year shows the influence of the Reverend Robertson and his followers: it pledges renewed fealty to "family values", opposition to abortion, and support for a constitutional amendment to "legalize prayer in the schools of this nation". In addition, outspoken Georgia Rep. Newt Gingrich, influenced by Dr. Edward Teller, has pushed through a plank demanding of a massive increase in funding for the Office of Strategic Defense to develop technologies which will "render nuclear weapons impotent and obsolete".