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American creator F. Scott Fitzgerald as soon as wrote that “there aren’t any second acts in American lives.”
But it’s already assumed Donald Trump will go on to a subsequent act in a single type or one other.
Will he begin his personal media firm? Function a GOP kingmaker?
There are even rumblings that he’ll resolve to run once more for president in 2024. Having served just one time period, he’s constitutionally eligible to strive for one more.
If he does resolve to run once more – and if he wins – he’ll be in uncommon firm.
Just one American president has misplaced reelection after which gained again his workplace: Grover Cleveland. Within the American elections course that I educate, college students study particulars concerning the long-term political impacts of those comeback efforts, most of that are workout routines in futility.
‘Gone to the White Home, ha ha ha’
The late Nineteenth-century political atmosphere resembled right this moment’s in some ways: tight polarized elections, sturdy regional patterns in nationwide voting, comparatively excessive voter turnout and damaging campaigning.
Cleveland, a Democrat, had been governor of New York for lower than two years when his get together nominated him for president in 1884. As governor, he had gained a fame for combating Tammany Corridor corruption in New York Metropolis.
In the course of the 1884 marketing campaign, wherein Cleveland ran towards Republican James Blaine, a scandal erupted when a New York lady named Maria Halpin accused Cleveland of raping and impregnating her. She was ultimately institutionalized and compelled to surrender her baby for adoption. Cleveland disputed a number of the particulars of the story, and his supporters countered jeers of “Ma, ma, the place’s my pa?” with chants of “Gone to the White Home, ha ha ha.”
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Cleveland ended up successful the nationwide standard vote by a slim margin – 48.85% to 48.28% – and gained 219 electoral votes to Blaine’s 182. Cleveland’s base of help was within the South and in his dwelling state of New York, whereas Blaine did nicely in the remainder of the North. Voter turnout was excessive, estimated at 77.5% of the voting-age inhabitants.
Throughout Cleveland’s time period, tariffs turned a divisive partisan subject in American politics. Republicans favored larger tariffs to guard Northern manufacturing pursuits, whereas Democrats like Cleveland usually needed decrease tariffs to assist the South’s agricultural export-oriented pursuits and to decrease costs for shoppers.
When Cleveland ran for reelection in 1888, he confronted off towards Republican Benjamin Harrison. Cleveland once more gained the nationwide standard vote by a decent margin, however misplaced two states – Indiana and New York – that he had gained in 1884. It was sufficient to flip the Electoral School and permit Harrison to be elected president.
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After shedding the election, Cleveland returned to work as an lawyer in New York. Below President Harrison, Congress authorized the McKinley Tariff and the Sherman Silver Buy Act, every of which had been strongly opposed by Cleveland.
In 1891, after two years of avoiding the general public highlight, Cleveland once more turned politically energetic and began to vocally oppose the financial insurance policies of Harrison. Cleveland attracted some nationwide consideration that 12 months with a public letter indicating his persevering with help for the gold customary.
As Cleveland met with get together leaders and made some public speeches in 1892, nationwide Democratic help for his presidential nomination started to develop. By the point the Democratic Nationwide Conference met in June that 12 months, help for Cleveland had change into overwhelming, and he secured the nomination.
With Populist Celebration candidate James B. Weaver on the poll pulling votes from each main get together presidential candidates, Cleveland gained the nationwide standard vote for the third straight election, this time besting Harrison by a 46% to 43% margin and successful the Electoral School.
Attempt, strive once more
Whereas Cleveland has, to this point, been the one U.S. president to lose reelection after which come again and win, different presidents have tried and failed.
In 1840, Democratic President Martin Van Buren misplaced reelection. He tried to be renominated by his get together in 1844, however Democrats as an alternative selected James Polk. By 1848, Van Buren joined with a gaggle of disaffected Democrats and anti-slavery activists to change into the nominee of the Free Soil Celebration, which opposed the extension of authorized slavery to U.S. territories. Whereas Van Buren gained 10% of the nationwide standard vote and completed second in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont, he gained no Electoral School votes.
Van Buren is the one president aside from Cleveland to be renominated by his get together, lose reelection after which seem once more on ballots as a presidential candidate.
Three different presidents additionally made tried comebacks to regain the presidency after leaving workplace.
In 1852, President Millard Fillmore, who had ascended to the presidency after the dying of Zachary Taylor, made a halfhearted try and win the Whig Celebration nomination for a full time period. When he failed, he got here again 4 years later because the presidential candidate of the American Celebration, higher often called the “Know Nothings,” a political motion to limit Catholic immigration to the US. Fillmore gained over 21% of the nationwide standard vote, the second-best efficiency by a third-party presidential candidate in American historical past and gained Maryland’s electoral votes.
One of the best efficiency by a third-party presidential candidate in American historical past was additionally by a former president, Theodore Roosevelt. In 1912, he ran for the Republican presidential nomination towards his extra conservative protege, President William Howard Taft. When Roosevelt didn’t get his get together’s nomination that 12 months, he ran because the Progressive Celebration candidate.
After being shot at a marketing campaign rally through the month earlier than the election and surviving, Roosevelt received 27% of the nationwide standard vote and 88 electoral votes, ending far forward of Taft in each vote tallies – however nicely behind the winner, Woodrow Wilson.
The final American president to lose reelection and try and run for president once more was Herbert Hoover, who was unsuccessful in each 1936 and 1940 at persuading different Republicans to let him lead the get together once more after he misplaced in a landslide in 1932.
Richard Nixon made a distinct form of political comeback.
He misplaced the presidential election of 1960 whereas serving as Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice chairman after which went on to lose the 1962 California gubernatorial election. After the 2 losses, Nixon famously instructed the press, “You gained’t have Nixon to kick round anymore.” However the press did get one other whack at Nixon when he ran for president a second time – and gained – in 1968.
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The final try at a political comeback by a defeated president was a really transient effort by Gerald Ford, who had misplaced reelection in 1976, to barter the opportunity of being Ronald Reagan’s working mate through the 1980 Republican Nationwide Conference. The plan fell by way of, and Ford returned to personal life.
As soon as out of workplace, most ex-presidents keep out of the highlight and keep away from criticizing their successor. Whether or not or not President Trump makes an attempt a political comeback in 2024, it’s seemingly that he gained’t keep mum over the subsequent 4 years.
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Robert Speel doesn’t work for, seek the advice of, personal shares in or obtain funding from any firm or group that might profit from this text, and has disclosed no related affiliations past their tutorial appointment.