Here’s a little hint that might save you some money in the future. Just because something usually happens, or even always has happened in the past, doesn’t mean that it will happen again. But that is where the smart money goes unless there is a good reason – a really, really good reason – to believe that conditions are different this time.
So, here’s a statistic to ponder. Since the 22nd Amendment limited a President to two terms, i.e. since Truman, there have been six elections where one party had held the office for two preceding terms and the incumbent was not on the ticket. This is written carefully to accommodate two special cases. First Roosevelt and Truman and then later Kennedy and Johnson were co-incumbents over two consecutive terms due to deaths in office. In only one of these six cases did the candidate of the same party as the retiring President succeed him. In fact, in only one instance was the election even close. That was the Bush/Gore cliffhanger in 2000. Of course many Democrats still believe that the Supreme Court effectively stole that election, so maybe we should put an asterisk on those 5:1 odds.
We now face a seventh example, with Hillary Clinton attempting to follow the two terms of Barack Obama. Just on this basis alone, those are pretty awful odds against Hillary, don’t you think? The American people just get tired of the same old, same old. They hope, against all experience to the contrary, that the other party might be better.
Even worse, in the one case where it did happen, the previous President and the successful candidate were very popular. They were Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. When Reagan left office his approval rating was 63% and his successor was usually in the mid 50’s. Today’s candidates would kill for those numbers. And certainly neither Obama nor Clinton come anywhere near close to this, although Obama’s ratings have been rising recently.
The best thing that Hillary has going for her, given this history, is Donald Trump. And I suspect it just might be enough. Do you think those rumors that the Clintons are behind the rise of their old pal Donald might have some substance?