- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 27, 2015


“Talk of a Joe Biden 2016 presidential candidacy is at peak coverage this cycle, with Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton seemingly ceding ground to Sen. Bernie Sanders with the passing of every month,” observes Eric Ostermeier, a University of Minnesota political professor and a meticulous researcher.

He points out that though Mr. Biden is 72, it doesn’t appear to be a deterrent to a White House run, given that his immediate rivals are, well, up there: Mr. Sanders is 73, Mrs. Clinton 67 and GOP front-runner Donald Trump is 69.

“But even with a wave of initial good will at his back for a 2016 campaign, Biden would face long historical odds in winning the White House from his current political perch,” Mr. Ostermeier said.

His research reveals this: “Just two sitting vice presidents have been elected to the presidency across nine attempts in the modern two-party era since 1828 and only one over the last 175 years.”

The pair of sitting VPs elected president before the ratification of the 12th Amendment were John Adams in 1796 and Thomas Jefferson in 1800. “Thereafter nine have ventured a presidential bid from their perch as vice president with only two doing so successfully - Democrat Martin Van Buren in 1836 and Republican George H.W. Bush in 1988,” the professor says.

Seven other sitting VPs launched failed presidential campaigns. Three lost their party’s nomination: Republican Charles Fairbanks in 1908, Democrat John Nance Garner in 1940, and Alben Barkley in 1952. Four lost in the general election (Southern Democrat John Breckinridge in 1860, Republican Richard Nixon in 1960, Democrat Hubert Humphrey in 1968, and Democrat Al Gore in 2000).

“In addition to the seven failed bids by sitting vice presidents mentioned above, five others received modest to nominal support for president at nominating conventions, although they did not officially launch candidacies for the office: Democrat George Dallas in 1848 (three delegates), Democrat Adlai Stevenson in 1896 (10), Democrat Thomas Marshall in 1920 (37), Republican Charles Dawes in 1928 (four), and Democrat Walter Mondale in 1980 (one),” the research says.

See Mr. Ostermeier’s complete analysis here

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