Ross Perot (1930–2019)

RIP to Ross Perot

What Might Have Been…In 1992, A Real Billionaire Almost Changed American Politics — Forever!

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Source: Wikimedia Commons — Photo by Allan Warren — Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17607108

RIP Ross Perot. He was a Texas entrepreneurial legend. And yes, he was a REAL billionaire (unlike someone we know…).

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Source: Wikimedia Commons — By Ross Perot — United We Stand: How We Can Take Back Our Country, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79187461

If you read-up on the 1992 election kids, American history might have been far, far different today (and over the past few decades) had he not quickly dropped-out of (and subsequently got back-in) the 1992 presidential race — in probably the really first big incident of big-time #fakenews about his daughter (As the story goes, the Republicans tried to smear his daughter for allegedly being a lesbian and disrupt her wedding — yes, the world was a different place in 1992!). Still Ross Perot got almost 20 million votes! At one point though, he led both Bush 41 and Clinton in the polls….

An independent victory might well have disrupted the two-party duopoly and forever changed American politics…. Not that Perot might have actually fared better than another billionaire(??) had he actually become President (imagine having both the Democrats and the Republicans against you as President!), but historians have and political scientists will continue to debate what might have been had he actually pulled that feat off!

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Source: Wikimedia Commons — By Ross Perot presidential campaign, 1992 — http://ronwade.freeservers.com/BumperstickersA9.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63986190

So, RIP to a true legendary figure in American business, culture and politics. After all, not many in history can have done all the things that Perot did in his 89 year:

  • Founding two major information technology companies (EDS and Perot Systemsboth of which were acquired for billions!);
  • Influencing the direction of many other companies(like a little one called General Motors!):
  • Investing with a few folks you might have heard of (like Steve Jobs);
  • Organizing, financing and overseeing a private, secret raid to rescue two of his employees who were being held hostage in post-revolutionary Iran in 1979 when “Death to America!” was the greatest hit there (later becoming the subject of a best selling book, On Wings of Eagles, by Ken Follett); and
  • Oh by the way, he almost became President of the United States!
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Source: Wikimedia Commons — By George Bush Presidential Library and Museum — https://bush41library.tamu.edu/audiovisual/photos/31, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=68228310

So, Rest in Peace Henry Ross Perot. While everyone has their faults, you were an entrepreneur and billionaire that made a true difference — and did indeed work to change the course of American political and business history! Well-played….

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Source: Wikimedia Commons — By dbking — originally posted to Flickr as _MG_6184, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9031044

Written by

David Wyld (dwyld@selu.edu) is a Professor of Strategic Management at Southeastern Louisiana University. He is a noted business consultant and writer.

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