Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


Do Losing Presidential Candidates "Step Aside?"

Bookmark and Share

Mitt Romney told America this weekend that he would not run for president a third time in 2016; was his rationale persuasive?

mittromney11.jpgOne of the takeaways from Mitt Romney's appearance on Meet the Press last Sunday was his attempt to convince the nation - and perhaps the Republican Party in particular - that he was not interested in running for president for a third consecutive cycle in 2016.

Media reports in recent weeks have indicated notable Republican donors are sending out feelers for another Romney bid in two years.

The former Massachusetts governor addressed this issue and avoided the usual murky language of politicians who are seriously considering a run for office, such as "I have no plans to run for president at this time" or "I am not currently seeking my party's nomination."

Instead, the 2012 GOP nominee said this:

"I'm not running for president. I think by and large people who lose a presidential race, well, they step aside."

The first sentence is direct and Romney's relatively low profile over the last year, compared to other rumored 2016 GOPers (like officeholders Rand Paul, Scott Walker etc.) suggests he is being truthful, even though a more definitive answer would have been, "I will never run for president again."

When deconstructing the second sentence - that losing candidates 'step aside' - Romney's rationale for not running in two years is accurate if he is specifically talking about presidential nominees: since World War II, there have been nearly two-dozen presidential hopefuls who did run for president again for a second (or third) time - including Romney himself.

However, only a small handful of unsuccessful major party nominees have suited up for another run in a subsequent cycle.

Since the birth of the modern two-party system in 1828, four have done so successfully on their second try: Democrat Andrew Jackson (1824, 1828), Whig William Harrison (1836, 1840), Democrat Grover Cleveland (1888, 1892 - after winning in 1884), and Republican Richard Nixon (1960, 1968).

Others have failed as a multiple cycle nominee such as Henry Clay (1824, 1844), Democrat William Jennings Bryan (1896, 1900, 1908), Republican Thomas Dewey (1944, 1948), and Democrat Adlai Stevenson (1952, 1956).

(Democrat Martin Van Buren also followed up his 1840 loss to William Harrison with an 1848 run as the Free Soil nominee).

Many others have lost presidential bids - falling short of winning their party's nomination or otherwise - only to come back to campaign again in subsequent cycles.

The list of names from World War II on is significant including Republicans Wendell Willkie, Harold Stassen, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes, Lamar Alexander, John McCain, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney and Democrats Hubert Humphrey, George McGovern, Eugene McCarthy, George Wallace, Scoop Jackson, Jerry Brown, Jesse Jackson, Dick Gephardt, Al Gore, Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich, and John Edwards.

Another Democrat seemingly poised to be added to that list in 2016 is Hillary Clinton, though if and when the former Secretary of State and 2008 presidential candidate will make such an announcement is the million dollar question this cycle.

And whether Romney will go down in the books in 2016 as a Bob Dole (and not run), a Wendell Willkie (run again and fail), or a Thomas Dewey (run again and claim the GOP nod for a second straight cycle) will also be quite evident in the near future.

Follow Smart Politics on Twitter.

Previous post: Presidents' Day Special: Post-Administration Presidential and Veep Longevity
Next post: Democrats Flirting with Poorest Nevada Gubernatorial Showing Since the 1800s

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Own the Best Track Record in Backing Eventual GOP Presidential Nominees?

Nine states (each with primaries) have an unblemished record in voting for the eventual Republican nominee since 1976 - and not all host contests on the back end of the calendar.

Political Crumbs

Evolving?

When Scott Walker "punted" back in February after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution he added, "That's a question a politician shouldn't be involved in one way or the other." However, it may very well be a question that is asked at one of the upcoming GOP debates this year. In South Carolina during the first GOP debate in 2012, FOX News' Juan Williams asked Tim Pawlenty, "Do you equate the teaching of creationism with the teaching of evolution as the basis for what should be taught for our nation's schools?" Pawlenty replied, "There should be room in the curriculum for study of intelligent design" but that it was up to the local school districts if it should be in a science class or comparative theory class. At the fourth Republican debate held in California, Jon Huntsman addressed the GOP becoming "anti-science" thusly: "Listen, when you make comments that fly in the face of what 98 out of 100 climate scientists have said, when you call into question the science of evolution, all I'm saying is that, in order for the Republican Party to win, we can't run from science. We can't run from mainstream conservative philosophy."


73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting