Former Candidates Can’t Run Again (Right Away)
Reader Berkley recently wrote, “The Democrats desperately need to reinvent themselves. They need to put aside Biden, Clinton, Sanders and all the “over seventy” wannabe presidents.” But will they? Bernie admits that his age is a problem. It’s probably more a perception of age. He’s only a few years older than Trump but looks like somebody’s doddering granddad. Ever since JFK, how someone looks on television is critical. And as we noted elsewhere, Trump has been in over 60 movies and TV shows—including a movie with Sandra Bullock and two movies with Whoopie Goldberg–so he knows how to use the medium.
Last week we had a story about Hillary Clinton’s activities, which suggest that she might want to run again in 2020. But aside from the fact that Hillary and Trump were the most unpopular candidates to run in the same year in American history, there is just no precedent for a “loser” winning in the next election. And that goes back to Grover Cleveland, who by the way, won the popular vote all three times he ran.
Simply put, then, Hillary is tagged as a “loser.” While it’s true that Bernie and Biden have attempted to run for president, they are not “losers.” If you get the nomination, you are expected to win or get out of the way the next time.
Let’s look at history (at least as far as I remember): Tom Dewey lost in 1944 and in 1948, so was dumped in 52. Stevenson ran in 52 and Dems renominated him in 56, but only because no one was going to topple Ike. If you lose once, you’ll lose the second time, as well, usually with a worse showing. Nixon ran in 60, but IMHO, if he had tried in 64, he’d have been creamed. He had to wait a cycle to run in 68.
Let’s look at the other “losers” Humphrey (68), McGovern (72), Mondale (84), Dukakis (88), Dole (96), Gore (2000), Kerry (04), McCain (08), and Romney (12). NONE of them could have been nominated the next time. Lieberman, who had run for veep in 2000 was laughed off the stage (he claimed to have “Joe-mentum”) in 2008 because he had fawned over Dick Cheney during his “run” for vice president in 2000. His limp attempt to run that year encouraged McCain to want to pick him as his running mate on the Republican ticket in 2008 and said it was perhaps the greatest regret of his life that he picked Sarah Palin, instead.
By the way, while Sarah Palin was greatly insulted by McCain’s regret, it wasn’t aimed at her. McCain was monumentally generous to her after their loss. McCain’s point was that in 2008, the public wanted change, and it would have been unprecedented in modern times to have a Republican and Independent-Democrat to run together. More importantly, McCain and Lieberman were close friends and agreed on nearly all issues. McCain was not saying he regretted picking Palin. He was just saying that he should have stood by his principles and picked the person he really wanted.
Anyway, it is perhaps not surprising that the media that are promoting Hillary to run in 2020—are conservative. Fox News says “count on Hillary to run in 2020,” and the conservative Townhall says she’s the only hope the Democrats have.
But other “old” names keep popping up, as Berkley said. Bernie may be decrepit, but he ain’t dead. In fact, Vox says the Democratic Socialist may have the upper hand—if he’s the “front-runner” this time, instead of Don Quixote.
If Bernie Sanders runs in 2020, as looks likely, he’ll enter the race as the frontrunner. The upside of that is he won’t have to fight for coverage; every utterance, every proposal, will be a story. He’ll set the terms of the debate. The downside, at least if he lets it be a downside, is he’ll be evaluated as a potential president. He won’t be graded on the insurgent’s curve.
CNN, meanwhile, puts former Vice President Joe Biden at the top of the list, that includes Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Kirsten Gillibrand at the top. To them, Bernie Sanders is number five, followed by Deval Patrick, Cory Booker, Eric Garcetti, Amy Klobuchar, and Steve Bullock, rounding out their “top ten.”
While no candidate has lost an election and come right back to win in more than a century, we do have the Richard Nixon phenomenon. After losing to JFK in 1960, Nixon went back to California, thinking he could be governor, which would put him in the news leading up to 1964. However, it didn’t work out that way. He lost the governor’s race, and Nixon gave the self-pitying “you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore” speech. We thought he was washed up. But he crossed the nation, picking up “chits” campaigning for other Republicans in 1964 and 1966 and became unbeatable in his run in 1968.
We have several former candidates who could come back from the dead. One is John Kerry, who lost n 2004. Business Insider says he won’t rule out a 2020 presidential run.
And the Independent says 2000’s Al “hanging chad” Gore’s new climate change film “raises a huge question: ‘will he run again in 2020?’”
On the Republican side, obviously 2008’s candidate, John McCain, can’t run, but 2012’s Mitt Romney might. The Hill notes that Romney says it’s too early for him to say if he’ll support Trump in 2020.
Romney, who last week won the GOP nomination in the Utah Senate race, has gone back and forth on his praise of the president.
“It’s too early to say who I will support,” Romney said while appearing on MSNBC. “I did say I think he’ll get reelected, that’s not an endorsement.”
The former governor of Massachusetts and 2012 presidential candidate was a harsh Trump critic during the 2016 race, calling him a “fraud” and a “phony” and urging Republicans not to support him. In May, he said that he did not see Trump as a “role model” for his grandchildren.
Last month, Romney penned an op-ed for The Salt Lake Tribune vowing to speak out against Trump when necessary, and said he would continue to oppose the president if he said something “racist or divisive.”
In fact, the Brookings Institute says Romney may be in the unique position of being “the swing vote” of the entire Senate, giving him visibility as well as power.
If, as expected, Mitt Romney wins his race for a Senate seat from Utah he may become the most powerful man in the United States Senate. As many of us remember, Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, ran for president in 2012 and lost to Barack Obama. It wasn’t one of those totally humiliating losses—the map did not turn blue—but we assumed Mitt Romney would fade into history.
Well, maybe not. . .[His] seat will remain Republican-held for President Trump come January of 2019, but this one could very well turn out to be the swing vote in the Senate. If Democrats pick up one seat, not two, the Senate will be tied and Trump will have to continue to rely on Vice President Pence to cast tie-breaking votes unless other Republicans defect. In that scenario, Romney, a frequent critic of President Trump’s, could easily upset the balance of power.
The reason? Republican Senator Romney will have what no other Republican Senator currently has, a Republican constituency that does not like President Trump.
The article goes on to say that, unlike other senators, Romney won’t have to worry about going against Trump. Utah is heavily Mormon, and Mormons don’t like Trump’s infidelities and dubious business practices. As Mormon, himself, Romney will be free to say anything he wants—for or against Trump.
And, so, if things turn against Trump, the Senate will give Romney a great soapbox, as well as a rallying position to succeed Trump, if it comes to that.
Filed in: Politics Tagged in: candidates clinton former president Romney