Is anyone worried about the 2 term effect?

Having watched both conventions and listening to all the pundits (including that idiot Jeffery Lord) it is clear to me that the Dems had the stronger convention and better campaign.

All things being equal I really believe Clinton would have an easy EV win… That said I am really worried about the trend/statistics that show it is very difficult for a party to win an election following a 2 term presidential hold from the same party.

While I fail to understand how anyone outside of the 1% could vote for a racist mogul with a poor business record, six bankruptcies and zero experience… This 2 term effect scares the hell out of me, anyone else?

Bush won in 1988, and Gore did hold a 10% lead in the 2000 election at one point and ultimately was only 538 votes away from victory.
I think in 2020 the Republicans will be slightly favored to win. In this election, Hillary will still beat Trump handily. The two-term effect you speak of would be a GOP advantage except that the GOP nominee, Trump, is a clown.

Bad News

There have been only ten times in U.S. history when a non-incumbent of the incumbent party won the popular vote after a two-term President. And all but one of those ten instances come with an “asterisk.” (Note that the record-setting streak of Roosevelt-Truman victories were all by incumbents.)

(A) Adams-2 succeeded Washington-1
(B) Madison-4 succeeded Jefferson-3
(B,C) Monroe-5 succeeded Madison-4
(B,C) Adams-6 succeeded Monroe-5
(A) Van Buren-8 succeeded Jackson-7
Hayes-19 succeeded Grant-18
(D) Taft-27 succeeded Roosevelt-26
(D) Hoover-31 succeeded Coolidge-30
(A) Bush-41 succeeded Reagan-40
(A,E) Gore-(“43”) won the popular vote after Clinton-42

  • A - winner was the sitting Vice President under a very popular President.
  • B - winner was the sitting Sec’y of State under a very popular President.
  • C - there was no effective opposition party.
  • D - the two-term President hadn’t served a full eight years.
  • E - the winner lost in the electoral college.

Only Rutherford B. Hayes has achieved this feat “without an asterisk.”
If Clinton does it, it will be only the second time in history.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Good News

While there are causal relationships correlated with the “two-term effect,” overall it may be more of a coincidence than a useful predictor. Maybe.

That’s because you haven’t been paying attention. A few of us have mentioned – multiple times – some reasons why we’re voting for Trump.

There’s only been 13 two-full-term Presidents. Only 12 who served two terms in a row. 10 out of 13 ain’t bad.

But if you want to look only at WWII and after, and kind of use the asterisks pre-emptively , it’s a lot worse (if you’re a Democrat)

FDR -> Truman, no flip.
Ike -> Kennedy, flip
Kennedy/Johnson -> Nixon, flip
Nixon/Ford -> Carter, flip
Reagan -> Bush, no flip
Clinton -> Bush, flip
Bush -> Obama, flip

So, 5 out of 7.

But since everyone will at this time be living in holes and eating squirrels, it would be a hollow victory…

I make a lot of guarantees but the only one that I can be confident of is that if Donald Trump loses this election he will make it out to look like he won it and was cheated out of a fair win.

I don’t know if it’s something I should “worry” about. If it’s some sort of gypsy curse then Clinton is screwed no matter what. Only thing to do is to run the best campaign you can (or for concerned voters to contribute how they can).

There have been 44 presidents, there isn’t enough date to make projections of future elections based on any trends.

I had thought of this. Basically after eight years people kind of want to change the channel. Agree that absent Trump the Republicans would have this going away. But Trump, based at least on his primary performance, makes any past models of predicting electorate behavior irrelevant, if not obsolete.

Never before has one party, or at least its nominee, disqualified itself politically.

I’ll give you something to worry about - if you told people they you were gonna have to read at least 1,461 news stories over the next 4 years about one or the other, who would they pick.

Yup, this worries me.

What bothers me is even if Trump loses, he will still get 50+ million votes. The fact that 50 million people minimum will want Donald Trump to be in charge of the military is a very sad and scary thought.

I like the one about how Bill Clinton couldn’t beat George Bush in '92 because, in modern times, even-numbered presidents have unusual given names while odd-numbered presidents have ordinary names.

32 - Franklin
33 - Harry
34 - Dwight
35 - John
36 - Lyndon
37 - Richard
38 - Gerald (birth name Leslie)
39 - Jimmy
40 - Ronald (BIG stretch calling this an unusual name, I know)
41 - George

Electoral Precedent

Depending on what you think happened in Florida and Ohio, the Democrats have won the Presidential election every time since 1988. Isn’t that a more solid data base to extrapolate from?

If it makes you feel any better, there were plenty of explanations in 2012 of various stats/historical trends that showed Obama couldn’t possibly get reelected.

I’m confused by this–are you saying Dukakis really beat Bush? He lost by 7m votes in the popular vote and Bush won over 400 electoral votes.

I think if you look at history, 1932-1968 was an era of “Democratic majority/supremacy”, in fact something many argue to reflect this is that the sole Republican President in this span (Ike) was actually pushed into more of a Democratic position on lots of issues. In many ways, Ike’s win during this time is sort of an aberration and show show powerful the Democrats really were, Ike won because he was an extremely popular general, he would’ve won if he had ran as a Democrat too, and there’s good evidence people were voting for Ike the man not the Republican party.

After 1968, it’s been argued that we’ve switched into an area of “Republican majority/supremacy” that has since ended (albeit many argue about when it ended.) From 1968 to 2004 the GOP won most of the Presidential elections (68, 72, 80, 84, 88, 00, 04.) Their three losses come with pretty obvious explanations, too. Nixon was forced to resign for extremely corrupt behavior, Ford takes office and is initially there are some signs the country is ready to rally behind Ford after the scars of Watergate. Then very early in his term, Ford pardons Nixon, and is immediately accused of having made a “corrupt bargain” back when he agreed to become Nixon’s Vice President, to pardon him when the time came. We’ve never found out if it was true or not, but it effectively ended Ford’s political career either way. He almost lost to Reagan in the '76 primaries, and if he had, Reagan almost certainly would’ve beaten Carter.

As it was, Carter got in because of a unique situation, and he actually won a pretty close campaign against Ford–if Ford hadn’t pardoned Nixon or if Reagan had unseated Ford in the primary it’s really very likely Carter was never President. Carter was also helped (the same way Bill would be 16 years later) by being a Southern Democrat who was able to compete and win in Southern states–Carter actually being the last Democrat to actually carry the South, although Clinton was competitive in many Southern states.

Carter was quickly pushed out by Reagan, and we had another 12 years of Republican Presidents. Then we had Clinton win in 92 and 96, but his Presidency is very similar to Ike’s, but reversed. He was a “Democrat in a Republican time”, and to win he ran as a “Third Way” Democrat, which means adopting Republican-lite policies in many areas. He also was aided by a weak campaigner in George H.W. Bush, a somewhat fractured Republican electorate who were angered when Bush raised taxes (despite promising not to), and his reelection was aided when the GOP nominated a corpse to run against him in '96–a corpse that shockingly yet draws breath 20 years later.

Now, when this era of Republican supremacy ended is in dispute. Some view it as having ended in '00, with Gore actually winning the popular vote, and Bush is viewed as a “contra” President–a Republican holding office in a more Democratic era. I don’t take this view because Bush won pretty convincingly in 2004. I think that 2006 you started to see a real shift away from Republicanism as the dominant political force, and ever since then it’s pretty clearly been the “party of the minority.” (You’ll note I don’t wade into control of the House or Senate, because of issues like the power of incumbency, the crazy way we structure congressional districts and etc, the composition of the legislature doesn’t necessarily match the mood of the country–for much of the era of Republican supremacy there was actually a Democratic legislature, for example.)

In past years I’ve often mentioned the historic trend that presidencies tend to move in two-term cycles, with factors like a president dying bumping the cycle by one term. I’ve always tried to explain that this is historically explanatory rather than being predictive for any particular election.

Why should this election cycle be any different? In the past I don’t think it would be. No overwhelming reason to continue the Democrats in office are apparent, and negatives are widespread.

Today is different for two major reasons. One is that we are in an unprecedented period of polarization. In the past parties had liberal, moderate, and conservative wings and could more easily find candidates and issues that would appeal to those of the opposite party but similar outlook. That has nearly disappeared. Overlapping with that is the demographic imbalance. Virtually no black voters are left in the Republican party, and other minority groups overwhelmingly prefer Democrats. The percentage of white voters overall is at the lowest in history, meaning that a Republican has to appeal to ever-increasing percentages of them to retain the same vote level. No evidence exists that whites will overwhelmingly vote this way.

This affects the presidential race much more than state races, although in the long-term the redistricting after the 2020 census will probably lessen the impact of high white voting in several red states. The only factor in opposition is that the extreme polarization along with the high levels of dissatisfaction with current politics is unstable and may lead to a rearrangement of party lines. Our two-party system historically has been designed to be big tents. A multitude of small ones (1912, 1948, 1968) didn’t last; they were absorbed. Something like that seems likely in the future but the details are harder to predict.

I think you need to. Focusing on the Presidency alone ignores half of the environment. Part of the American electoral tradition had always been ticket-splitting, a preference for letting both parties have a share of power since both were essentially trustworthy and the expectation was that we’d have better government if it were more comprehensive. That tradition faded into history when one party decided to make itself untrustworthy, and demonize rather than cooperate with the other - and you can date that to the Bill Clinton administration and Gingrich’s putsch.