One, Twice, Three Times A Maybe: A History of Presidential Losers and Potential Trump Run

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Michael Siegel

Michael Siegel is an astronomer living in Pennsylvania. He is on Twitter, blogs at his own site, and has written a novel.

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  1. Avatar Pinky
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    says:

    I expect Trump to spend the next four years undercutting Republicans, settling imagined scores, pretending to consider running for president again, endorsing and unendorsing the GOP candidate, and and handing the Democrats the White House.Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      I think this is likely the case.

      What’s odd to me are the various Republicans who desperately think they will be able to harness a post-Presidential Trump with a PAC. In so far as Trump owns the Republican brand, those Republicans are screwed.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to Marchmaine
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        says:

        Agree with you and @Pinky. The WH is probably lost to the GOP for 8 years.

        Where the real “combat” will occur is House and Senate Races. Lost of room there for Trump to shape things, and we already see state Party organization censuring every and any republican who voted against trump in the current impeachment climate.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Philip H
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          says:

          I’m keeping my eye open for a “red wave” in 2022.

          Not that I necessarily think that there will be one… but that I know that neither party has shown the ability to say “oh, they only voted for me because the other guy was worse” instead of “HOLY CRAP WE HAVE A MANDATE”.

          The more mandatey Biden proves to be in the next year will determine what happens there.Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird
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            says:

            I could see a red wave in 2022… Trump’s not on the ticket… sophomore slump kinda thing.

            We’re still waiting for the ‘defining thing’ of the Biden Presidency… so far it’s promise to do slightly less than our current projections. But if we hit our current projections with Vaccines he gets that win anyhow…

            So, other than running downhill on Covid… what’s the Biden Presidency going to focus on for their one win before 2022? Covid relief package won’t get him re-elected in 2022 on its own.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              15 minutes ago, I would have said “police reform” but, hey. That was over more quickly than I thought it would have been.

              Funny how that happens.

              I imagine that he’ll continue to get a favorable (if not defensive) press for at least the next two years and he will continue to be, more or less, Obama II: Electric Boogaloo.

              If Clinton lost merely because she was an awful, awful candidate, that’s probably not going to come into play in 2024’s election.

              If she also lost because her policies for addressing The Future were out of sync with a lot of America, then 2024 is going to be interesting indeed.

              But we’ll need to see what 2022 looks like first. (And, of course, if the Republicans talk Jeb into running again.)Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Marchmaine
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              says:

              So, other than running downhill on Covid… what’s the Biden Presidency going to focus on for their one win before 2022?

              With Manchin and Sinema running to the right of even the moderate Dems, there isn’t a lot he *can* do domestically. Perhaps he can do stuff via executive order, but the GOP will blast him for it. Foreign policy can yield some wins but nothing groundbreaking, like a legitimate China reset or containing Iran or….

              The silver lining is that if Dems make government work again, re-vitalize some national pride in our country after Trump crapped in the White House for four years, the Sinema-Manchin approach might not only save Dems from themselves, but turn (or keep) enough voters to retain the House and Senate.

              Personally, I expect them to lose both chambers.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine
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        says:

        I agree. I don’t think Trump genuinely wanted to be President; I don’t think he particularly enjoyed being President and I don’t think the Democratic Party is lucky enough* to have Trump genuinely run again.
        That said I also agree Trump will pretend to run and settle scores in the interim to maintain the big grift. With politics being what they are & Trump always going after the easy targets; the scores he settles will be against Republicans so he may well wreak havoc on the right.

        This is all assuming he doesn’t keel over dead or get utterly flattened by civil and criminal lawsuits against him. I bet Cocaine Mitch has a Trump doll hidden in his office that is just a porcupine of needles.

        *I can think of nothing that would slay the cyclical left wing purity Dragon like having Donald Fishing Trump as the right wing candidate.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to North
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          says:

          I understand Mitch’s calculus that the Republican Party is more or less stuck with Trump in so far as he carries a constituency with him. In this sense Realignment and/or Third Parties just means that Republicans lose and Democrats win.

          But what’s less clear to me is how the Republican Brand survives the harrowing over time. At some point the Republican Party isn’t Trump plus Republicans… it’s just Trump, and re-alignment happens anyway.

          I mean, the 2016 idea that Trump would work on the party and the party would work on Trump is pretty well sizzled. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz fronting Trump during Impeachment? Might as well be board-members of Gamestop planning their next quarter.Report

          • Avatar superdestroyer in reply to Marchmaine
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            says:

            A Republican Party can survivie if the Democrats raise taxes high enough to balance the federal budget and fund all of their programs. The Republican Party can survivie when people realize that there is no reason for Joe Manchin or Mark Kelly to be in the same political party as AOC or Hakeen Jefferies.
            Also, if the Democrats make a huge push for reparations to keep black voters happy, the Republican Party will come roaring back.Report

            • Avatar North in reply to superdestroyer
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              says:

              None of which, of course, will happen because the Democratic Party is not run by its loons the way the GOP is run by its own. What programs the Dems do pass will likely be deficit funded under the same model the GOP has used to fund its adventures from Reagan on, so taxes won’t be raised and any Republican complaints about the deficit will only earn them the contemptuous laughter from all parties that such complaints would richly deserve. Reparations simply aren’t going to happen nor are they required to “keep black voters happy”.Report

          • Avatar North in reply to Marchmaine
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            says:

            I am not sure what happens. I read the rights stuff plenty but I don’t, honestly, know where the right as a voting constituency goes from here. Something is going to change and I expect it’ll mostly be changing on the right.

            The Democratic Party has become the stogey conservative party. The grinding tectonic trench warfare between the Democratic middle and their idealistic wings will rumble predictably on. What I don’t know how to predict is what happens on the right. How long can the GOP work when its monied elites passionately desire one policy set and their voting masses passionately desire nearly the opposite? How long can culture war resentment paper over that rift?Report

  2. Avatar Stillwater
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    says:

    My first best guess is that Trump doesn’t want to be President. Oops, I mean President again. He wants fame and money without responsibility. But he also likes power, so I see him trying to ease his way into a kingmaker role where money and control run through him (and he takes an easy 30% off the top). But supposing he does run, Biden wins even if the economy isn’t doing well. The wildcard here is whether Biden even runs for reelection. In a race between Harris and Trump I give the edge to Trump.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Stillwater
      Ignored
      says:

      More than power: attention. The downside of being a kingmaker is that you make someone else king, and then who’s looking at you anymore? Better to always play kingmaker and treat the entire government like The Apprentice where the only one who comes back every season is you.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes, I think that’s right. Trump wants to be a Duke maker, not a king maker. He’ll be happy to bless the candidacy of CCers if the show proper respect, but not a potus nominee. Not only would he never support a person who could legitimately challenge his status in the party, he’d actively work to undermine that person. (That’s why all the nonsense from Graham and Bannon about the “role” Trump will play in the future party is ludicrous. Trump doesn’t *care* about the party. He cares only about himself.)Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Stillwater
      Ignored
      says:

      Honestly on the fence on this one… not sure Trump really knew what to do with Power… I’m sure he liked being “The Man” but as you note, 30% of Presidential level funding is Yuge. Being “The Man” in Mara Lago with a constantly replenished Slush Fund might be even better.

      I expect him to both run and not-run for president… having the Party come to him for approval and funding is win/win for Trump whether or not the candidates actually ever win.

      Somewhat cynically I’d say his likelihood of running comes down to tax rates.Report

  3. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    There were (and still are) many Nixon supporters who thought the 1960 election was stolen by Mayor Daley. This is incorrect — Kennedy could have lost Illinois and still won.

    The more knowledgable version of this is “the 1960 election was stolen by Mayor Daley and Lyndon Johnson”, because Kennedy couldn’t afford to lose both Illinois and Texas.Report

  4. Avatar scott the mediocre
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    says:

    “You’ll notice that, up until this point, all the post-Civil War re-nominees have been Democrats”. Uh, Dewey, whom you did mention.

    For the period before the Late Unpleasantness, if you think of Clay as a nominee in 1824, then he also got two swings (1844).Report

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