Politics and Public Opinion, Elections, Pethokoukis

If Obama loses in 2012, would he run again in 2016?

Steve Jurvetson-Flickr

Steve Jurvetson-Flickr

American politics isn’t kind to presidential election losers. But comebacks and reruns do happen from time to time. Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincy Adams in 1824, but came back to win two terms in 1828 and 1832. William Jennings Bryan grabbed the Democratic nomination three times, losing to Republicans on each occasion. Thomas Dewey was the GOP nominee in 1944 and 1948, losing in November both times, while Adlai Stevenson ran twice against Dwight Eisenhower, losing in 1952 and 1956. Richard Nixon lost to JFK in 1960, but grabbed the Republican nomination again in 1968, going on to win two terms.

But being a losing candidate is one thing. Second chances for defeated incumbents are quite another. Gerald Ford thought about a bid in 1980 after losing to Jimmy Carter in 1976, but passed. And there was talk of a Gore-Bush rematch in 2004. The only example of a losing incumbent eventually returning to the Oval Office is Grover Cleveland who won in 1884, lost in 1888, but won again 1892.

Now imagine if Barack Obama should narrowly lose to Mitt Romney on Nov. 6, maybe even winning the popular vote though losing the electoral college. (Certainly the economic indicators — though certainly not the head-to-head-polls — right now suggest he should be a one termer.) Might Obama try to grab the nomination in 2016 and take another crack at Romney?

1. Obama, always trim and fit, would be only 55 on Election Day 2016.

2. Obama would likely still have a deep reservoir of support among key Democratic interest groups including (most importantly) African Americans, gays, young voters, and the educated elite.

3. Many Democrats might be inclined to give an historic president a second chance, reasoning he was dealt an impossibly bad economic hand by George W. Bush. “Bush got two terms, and Obama just one? Please.”

4. While there could potentially be some big name rivals in 2016, including Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo, none seem as formidable as Ronald Reagan was to Ford in 1980.

5. The economy the next four years could be pretty rough thanks to high levels of U.S. debt and a possible eurozone implosion. The Obama years might be subject to some positive revisionist history by a friendly media. And as one gloomy economic analyst told me recently,”Whichever party wins the White House in 2012 won’t win again for 20 years.”

I can see that 2016 Obama-Warren ticket already …


17 thoughts on “If Obama loses in 2012, would he run again in 2016?

  1. Democrats are not very friendly to losers either and there will be enough around in 2016 to make sure he does not get another go. When he loses in Nov, i think he’ll go down as one of the biggest mistakes in history, a completely untested unready amateur as Hillary had said and that’s why she will get the nod in 2016, people recognize she was the smarter choice in 08. She would get the historic first female Presidency in 2016. So if he ran again in 2016, 4 years of unchecked without a re-election ahead. No thanks.

  2. I doubt he would run in 2016, maybe 2020 or 2024. I could certainly see him becoming Secretary-General of the U.N. before running for President again.

  3. Are you kidding? The knives are already out if he loses. He’ll be blamed inside the party for amateurishly blowing the best chance at a Dem realignment since FDR. There will be revisionism, alright, but not the kind you seem to think.

  4. RE: Obama in 2016

    It would depend on how effective the democrats were in demonizing Romney and how inept Romney’s administration might appear. The Democrats soured voters on Bush.

    How bad could the next four years get?

  5. We all watched as Bill Clinton refused to leave the stage after his second term. He stayed basically harmless and was satisfied to appear once in a while on TV. If Obama loses this election he also will not leave the stage, BUT will revert back to continuing as a “Community Organizer. This does not bode well for the USA, when one considers the adoring press that continues to support this sham.

  6. He will lose and sign a bunch of stuff before he leaves in January to cause as much trouble for President Romney as he can, he will try to control the USA as the Secretary General of the UN, he is the only American who has a chance at that job, he is black and is friends with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, he is liked in 3rd world non aligned nation who do not like Banki Moon, and he hates Israel, just an oppinnion not thought of before by anyone as far as I know

    • I can see why some American voters would share your opinion, givien the gridlock which should be our Govt trademark (Gridlock ™). I wanted to point out that it is impossible for Obama to be UN Secretary General; the US is one of the 5 permanent members of the UN security council, therefor no US born could be Sec Gen until they are replaced (not since it’s inception for US– two other countries have been replaced since 1947).

      I used to work at the UN, so it would be unfair for me to ridicule your and Benjamin’s ridiculous comment(overstatement). You are right about Obama signing a bunch of stuff before he leaves office, that is typical of every president in the modern era. Also typical, is the newly elected president to reverse as much as possible from the previous incumbent.

      Good to see the “educated elite” online and voicing their opinions.

    • Actually, He just won yesterday. Now he gets a second term. Haha your wrong how does it feel. Next time don’t write stupid posts.

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