Just something to think about on this the Eleventh Day, Year One, of The Golden Age of Obama. It’s actually very rare for a President to win a second term, no matter how well things go in that first term. Because of Reagan, Clinton, and George W. Bush, we assume a second term’s a given for presidents because the majority of those in our lifetimes have been two-termers (especially for those of us in our early 30s, who’ve mainly known two-termers). But, historically, that’s not the case.
Here are the men (and, unfortunately all men so far, despite all the talk of change still in the air) who’ve held the office two terms (or more, in one case):
(1) Franklin Delano Roosevelt (served 3 full terms, but elected to 4)
(2) Thomas Jefferson (2 terms)
(3) James Madison (2 terms)
(4) James Monroe (2 terms)
(5) Andrew Jackson (2 terms)
(6) Ulysses S. Grant (2 terms)
(7) Grover Cleveland (2 nonconsecutive terms)
(8) Woodrow Wilson (2 terms)
(9) Dwight Eisenhower (2 terms)
(10) Ronald Reagan (2 terms)
(11) Bill Clinton (2 terms)
(12) George W. Bush (2 terms)
(13) George Washington (2 terms)
(14) Richard Nixon (2 terms)
(15) William McKinley (2 terms)
(16) Abraham Lincoln (2 terms)
Those who wanted second terms but lost their elections:
(a) John Quincy Adams
(b) Martin van Buren
(c) Franklin Pierce
(d) Benjamin Harrison
(e) William Howard Taft
(f) Herbert Hoover
(g) Jimmy Carter
(h) George H.W. Bush
(i) John Adams
So, 16 wanted a Part Deux and got one. 9 wanted re-election but were denied. Almost 2/3 of our presidents were thus one-termers (or less).
And another interesting thing to note is that the last time THREE two-term presidents happened in a row was all the way back in the early 1800s, with Jefferson/Madison/Monroe (the 3rd, 4th, and 5th presidents). That hasn’t been repeated for 200 years now.
Not saying it won’t ever again, because it’s much too early to tell, but just noting it’s not an automatic, considering past as probability if not predictor.
Clinton/Bush/Obama as three two-termers in a row would be anomalous but certainly not impossible.
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