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The economy of the United States would take a downturn during his term and Russia's economic power rose. Russia would be seen by American voters to be winning the Cold War as it added several nations in Europe to its greater union. Thorburgh, despite promising to be tough on Russia, proved unable the prevent these annexations.
As Thornburgh ran for re-election, the already waning public opinion dived as scandals during his role as Governor broke out. Thornburgh would be closely defeated in the 1992 election by Liberal candidate Michael Dukakis.