Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Getting Real

What is past isn’t always prologue, but Democrats can learn from our history.

I have written about this before; however, as the topic was also briefly and recently mentioned on a local podcast known to all, it bears repeating:

Since the Civil War, the only non-incumbent Democratic presidential candidates who have won (with the exception of Grover Cleveland’s non-consecutive second term) were first-time presidential candidates.

Here is the list.  See for yourself:

1884    Grover Cleveland (first-timer/won)
1892    Grover Cleveland (but he already served one term as president/won)
1912    Woodrow Wilson (first-timer/won)
1932    Franklin D. Roosevelt (first-timer/won)
            [1948 – Harry S. Truman ran for election while serving as president/won]
1960    John F. Kennedy (first-timer/won)
[1964 – Lyndon B. Johnson (sought the office before) ran for election while serving as president/won]
1976    Jimmy Carter (first-timer/won)
1992    Bill Clinton (first-timer/won)
2008    Barack Obama (first-timer/won)

So what should the Democratic party look for in an ideal nominee for 2020?  A fresh face, new and bold progressive ideas, and an insistence on reality-based governance.

To that end, a framing of Trump as a phony [a “reality show” president as opposed to a “real” president] could be another interesting campaign narrative.  It exposes Trump’s essential hollowness while reminding voters that genuine challenges require actual, mature leadership.

In other 2020 news, as of this writing, I have nothing to say about State Senator Richard Ojeda (WV) and his long-shot bid for the White House…aside from one point.  If we are going to consider nominating a state legislator for a spot on the ticket, then why not former State Senator Nina Turner (OH)?  Compared to Senator Bernie Sanders (VT), I think she would be a better option for the Democratic Left in 2020.

In solidarity.


  1. By "first-time presidential candidates" do you mean people who were not previously nominated by their party, or people who never previously sought the nomination at all? If the former, then then only one Republican has lost a presidential race and come back to win (Richard Nixon). If the latter, then certainly Ronald Reagan is an example of someone who sought the GOP nomination, failed, and then came back later. There may be others.

  2. Each of the above were either a sitting Governor or Senator at the time they ran for president. Does that eliminate anybody not in that capacity come the 2020 cycle (Turner, Beto, Gillum, etc.)? Also, there's that little detail about all of them being, well, men. Just sayin'....