- - Monday, December 5, 2016

A CNN article last week asked the question: “Why Can’t Democrats Win Three Consecutive Terms?”.

“I’m not only talking about Hillary Clinton, but also Al Gore.Their inability to protect the Oval Office raises a big question for Democrats: Can they win the White House without a charismatic outsider for a nominee and without a Republican-made mess to clean up? Because neither of those factors is always easy to come by.

Their inability to protect the Oval Office raises a big question for Democrats: Can they win the White House without a charismatic outsider for a nominee and without a Republican-made mess to clean up? Because neither of those factors is always easy to come by.No Democrat has been able to take the baton and keep party control of White House for a third term since Martin Van Buren in 1836, and he had the advantage of running against a Whig party that failed to agree on a single nominee. Since then, only Franklin Delano Roosevelt was able to win a third consecutive term for the Democrats, but he had the luxury of finishing what he started. (Republicans have had a slightly easier time stringing together three or more consecutive terms, accomplishing the feat four times since the party’s founding 162 years ago.)

No Democrat has been able to take the baton and keep party control of White House for a third term since Martin Van Buren in 1836, and he had the advantage of running against a Whig party that failed to agree on a single nominee. Since then, only Franklin Delano Roosevelt was able to win a third consecutive term for the Democrats, but he had the luxury of finishing what he started. (Republicans have had a slightly easier time stringing together three or more consecutive terms, accomplishing the feat four times since the party’s founding 162 years ago.)

To say Republicans have accomplished this feat four times is true, but it is also being overly kind to the GOP of the past century — they’ve only done it one time (Reagan-Reagan-Bush) since most of were alive.

Before that, the GOP last won the White House three times in a row, sort of, from 1921-1933 (Harding-Coolidge-Hoover). I say “sort of” because Harding died in office, making Coolidge the President. Then, he won the 1924 election outright — his first full term. He declined to run again in 1928 and his popular Commerce Secretary, Herbert Hoover, ran instead and won. So the Harding-Coolidge-Hoover pattern isn’t the same as a two-term president who is followed up by a winning candidate from his same party.

To win the White House after one man from your own party has been the chief executive for two full terms means that the citizens of the United States have to want more of the two-termer. They want more of his policies, more of his peace (or leadership in war), or more of his personality. If the electorate is tired of any one of those, then the next election is going to be a “change election.”

That’s why I think President Ronald Reagan was a uniquely great president. George H. W. Bush defeated Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis 426-111 in the electoral college and 48 million to 41 million in the popular vote. In hindsight, we can say that Mr. Dukakis was a weak candidate. But it would be historical amnesia to say that Mr. Bush was a natural politician and communicator himself. And the polls were tight right up to the end. And, as noted above, the Republicans hadn’t won three consecutive White House victories since 1928 — 60 years prior!

But as the results came in on election night, Americans had made clear their desire to reward the party that gave them eight years of Reagan. They gave the keys to the Oval Office to Reagan’s vice president and said, in effect, “Give us some more Reagan.”

I’m sure that Donald Trump and the people who will serve in his administration have high goals for how to “Make America Great Again” — that phrase borrowed from Reagan’s 1980 campaign.

The rarest achievement of all, however, might be for Mr. Trump to serve the American people so splendidly that even after eight years in office, voters say, “We’ll take some more of that.”

 

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide