Gerald Ford

The Beginning Of A Challenge To Donald Trump For Renomination: William Weld And Larry Hogan

It seems as if the beginning of a challenge to Donald Trump for renomination by the Republican Party has arrived.

Former Massachusetts Governor William Weld (1991-1997) , also the Libertarian nominee for Vice President in 2016 with Presidential nominee Gary Johnson, has indicated he is planning to challenge Trump. He would be 75 at the time of the inauguration in 2021.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who just won reelection last year by a 12 point margin, has also indicated he plans to compete for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2020. He would be 64 at the time of the next election.

Both are moderate Republicans, seen as centrist and pragmatic, and both won office in heavily Democratic states.

Weld has a distinguished aristocratic background starting with ancestors coming over on the Mayflower with the Pilgrims in 1620. He was a counsel with the House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate Impeachment inquiry, and with one of his colleagues being Hillary Rodham, before she married Bill Clinton.

Hogan has the heritage of being the son of a Congressman, with the same name, who, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee in 1974, voted to bring impeachment charges against President Richard Nixon.

Can either of them seriously overcome the advantages of being an incumbent President?

History tells us when incumbent Presidents are challenged for renomination, invariably, the President defeats his opponent, but then loses the election.

So even if Weld or Hogan cannot defeat Trump, hopefully, they can weaken him enough that he will follow in the tradition of William Howard Taft, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush, who overcame, respectively, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, Ted Kennedy, and Pat Buchanan, and yet lost the second term as President.

The Wealthiest And The Poorest Presidents

The American Presidents have varied greatly in wealth acquired or inherited in their lifetimes.

Some were born poor, such as Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, and Bill Clinton, due to family circumstances, with Clinton and Nixon acquiring wealth in their lifetimes, but Johnson would still be the seventh poorest President at death, according to statistics.

Materials gathered by scholars have led to conclusions on the net worth of our 44 Presidents, including their post Presidential years.

Easily, at least by the knowledge we have now, Donald Trump is likely the wealthiest President, although subject to change by further Congressional investigation of Trump’s finances, sure to come in the 116th Congress by congressional subpoenas. By estimate, Trump is wealthier than all the other 43 men who have been President of the United States.

After Trump, probably John F. Kennedy, had he not been assassinated, would have inherited close to $1 billion later in his life.

Other than Trump and Kennedy, George Washington would be considered the wealthiest President, in modern terms, around $580 million.

Behind him would be Thomas Jefferson ($234 million); Theodore Roosevelt ($138 million); Andrew Jackson ($131 million); James Madison ($112 million); and Lyndon B. Johnson ($108 million), with all those numbers being estimates.

Other Presidents who had substantial estimated wealth would include Herbert Hoover ($82 million; Bill Clinton ($75 million); Franklin D. Roosevelt ($66 million); and John Tyler ($57 million). Clinton acquired most of his wealth post Presidency by speeches and authored books, and will likely rise much higher if he lives a long life.

At the other end of the scale, we had 13 Presidents who had $1 million or less wealth by all estimates, in 2016 dollars, including in ranked order:

William McKinley

Warren G. Harding

James Buchanan

Abraham Lincoln

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

James A. Garfield

Chester Alan Arthur

Woodrow Wilson

Calvin Coolidge

Harry Truman

Notice that the bulk of these Presidents served in the years from Buchanan to McKinley, the last half of the 19th century, a total of seven out of eleven Presidents.

The three Presidents from Wilson through Coolidge also are on this list, and Harry Truman ends up as the least prosperous President at his death, as compared to Andrew Johnson the poorest at birth.

Barack Obama is rated just below John Tyler at number 13 on the wealth list at an estimated $40 million, with potential over a long lifetime to become one of the top few wealthiest Presidents by speeches, books, and other activities due to the stature and prestige of being a former President in modern times.

Other Presidents are rated in the middle on wealth, such as George W. Bush at $39 million; George H. W. Bush at $26 million; John Quincy Adams at $23 million; John Adams at $21 million; Richard Nixon at $17 million; Ronald Reagan at $14 million; Dwight D. Eisenhower at $9 million; and Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter at $8 million each.

Walter Mondale 91 Years Old, And Adds To Record Of Longest Surviving Retired Vice President, With Longest Surviving Retired President, Jimmy Carter

Today is former Vice President Walter Mondale’s 91st birthday, and he adds to the record daily as the longest surviving retired Vice President, sharing that with the longest surviving retired President, Jimmy Carter. Both will have been out of office for 38 years on January 20.

Mondale is at this point the 5th oldest Vice President in American history, with John Nance Garner (under Franklin D. Roosevelt) having reached the age of 98; Levi Morton (under Benjamin Harrison) dying on his 96th birthday; George H. W. Bush (under Ronald Reagan) reaching the age of 94; and Gerald Ford (under Richard Nixon) reaching the age of 93. Only John Adams (under George Washington) otherwise reached the age of 90, surpassed by Mondale a few months ago.

Mondale also goes down as, in many ways, the most active, involved, and engaged Vice President we have ever had, although it does seem as if Joe Biden may have been as intimately involved with Barack Obama during their two terms of office, with more information on that involvement to follow with future research.

Happy 91st Birthday, Vice President Mondale, and many more, and the same for President Jimmy Carter, who will become the longest lived President on March 22 of this year; will reach 95 on October 1; and will have the longest Presidential marriage on October 17, with his beloved wife, Rosalynn.

Two Profiles In Courage, Harry Truman And Gerald Ford, Died On This Day

Today, December 26, marks the anniversary of the death of President Harry Truman in 1972, and of Gerald Ford in 2006.

Both Truman and Ford were rare, Presidents who succeeded to the office during the term of others elected, and both facing major challenges and being “Profiles in Courage”.

Both never actively sought the Presidency, did not have the driving ambition and motivation to run for President, and both were thrust into crises—Truman with the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt before the end of World War II, and Ford with the resignation of Richard Nixon in the Watergate Crisis—that required firm determination to keep the nation united in difficult times.

Many may have wondered if either Truman nor Ford would meet the challenges they faced, but they both did, at a time now when we have the greatest crisis since at least the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, and yet we have the most incompetent, amoral, unstable, and unprincipled President in all of American history, when what we need is a Harry Truman or Gerald Ford.

Sadly, it does not seem as if Mike Pence has the guts or commitment to do what needs to be done, to take action to assert the need for the 25th Amendment Section 4 to take away power for mental reasons from Donald Trump, or to push for his resignation, or for his Republican Party to take action in league with the Democratic Party, as the two parties did in 1974, pressuring Nixon to resign for the good of the nation.

Let us stop for a moment, however, to honor both Harry Truman and Gerald Ford as men who deserve our respect and approval for what they did to advance America in difficult times.

44 Retired US Senators Speak Out On Constitutional Crisis, Including Principled Republicans

The Washington Post published two days ago an op-ed editorial by 44 retired US Senators, calling on the present members of the Senate to show guts and courage and speak up to defend democracy and the Constitution, from the threats presented by President Donald Trump.

Eleven of those 44 were Republicans, of all stripes and beliefs, including Ben Nighthorse Campbell of Colorado; William Cohen of Maine; Alfonse D’Amato of New York;  John Danforth of Missouri; David Durenberger of Minnesota; Chuck Hagel of Nebraska; Richard Lugar of Indiana; Larry Pressler of South Dakota; Alan Simpson of Wyoming; John Warner of Virginia; and Lowell Weicker of Connecticut.

The other 33 were Democrats, including such luminaries as Evan Bayh of Indiana; Bill Bradley of New Jersey; Tom Daschle of South Dakota; Chris Dodd of Connecticut; Russ Feingold of Wisconsin; Bob Graham of Florida; Tom Harkin of Iowa; Gary Hart of Colorado; Bob Kerrey of Nebraska; John Kerry of Massachusetts; Joe Lieberman of Connecticut; Barbara Mikulski of Maryland; Sam Nunn of Georgia; Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia; and Mark Udall of Colorado.

America needs Republicans in the Senate, now 53 of them, to stop defending Donald Trump, and start concerning themselves with the preservation of American democracy.  They need to speak up and challenge and confront Donald Trump and stop accepting his violations of the Constitution.

If they do not, they will  be relegated to the dustbin of history, and the Republican party of Lincoln, TR, Ike, Reagan, Ford, and H. W. Bush will die of lack of principle and commitment.

The Fourth Period Of Six Living Presidents Ends With Death Of George H. W. Bush

We have just seen the end of the fourth time in American history that we have had six living Presidents.

The first time was in 1861-1862, from March to January, a total of about 10 and a half months, when we had President Abraham Lincoln, and former Presidents Martin Van Buren, John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, and James Buchanan, until John Tyler died in January 1862.

The second time was 1993-1994 from January to April, a total of about 15 months, when we had President Bill Clinton, and former Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, until Richard Nixon died in April 1994.

The third time, the longest time, was 2001-2004, from January to June, a total of about 40 and a half months, when we had President George W. Bush, and former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, until Ronald Reagan died in in June 2004.

And now, the fourth and last time, was 2017-2018, from January to November, a total of about 22 and a half months, the second longest time, when we had President Donald Trump, and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama, until George H. W. Bush died on the last day of November 2018.

The odds of having a fifth period of six Presidents anytime soon seems unlikely, as Jimmy Carter, at age 94, would seem unlikely to have much more life longevity, but if Donald Trump were to be forced out of office, in the next two years, or be defeated, and Carter stayed in good health, it could happen.

George H. W. Bush And John Adams: Comparisons

With the death of George H. W. Bush, we can make many comparisons with John Adams.

Both were born in Massachusetts.

Both served as Vice President under their Presidents for eight years, John Adams under George Washington, and George H. W. Bush under Ronald Reagan.

Both only had one term as President, defeated for reelection.

Both are seen as lower in ranking than their predecessors, George Washington and Ronald Reagan, who served two terms in office.

Both had the President elected after them rank higher in rankings of Presidents, and both Thomas Jefferson and Bill Clinton served two terms in office.

Both outlived their wives.

Both had a son become President, and live to see that occur.

Both reached to the age of 90, with Adams being the longest lived until Ronald Reagan, then Gerald Ford, then George H. W. Bush, and then Jimmy Carter surpassed his age.

Bush died at the oldest age of any President, although Jimmy Carter could surpass Bush if he lives to March 22, 2019.

Both died after 25 plus years in retirement.

Both have been rated higher than their son, John Quincy Adams and George W. Bush, in rankings of historians and political scientists, and it is unlikely that their sons will ever surpass them.

Midterm Election History In First Presidential Midterms Since 1946, And Likelihood Of Results Of Midterm Elections In 2018

With the Midterm Elections of 2018 upon us in less than two weeks, it is time to analyze midterm election results in the first such elections after a new President has come to office, starting with Harry Truman in 1946 and all the way through to Barack Obama in 2010.

We are discussing 12 Presidents and how they were factors in the midterm elections which followed their entering the Presidency.

Six of the 12 Presidents entered that first midterm election with their popularity in public opinion polls under 50 percent—with the order of lack of popularity being lowest to highest the following—Truman, Reagan, Lyndon B. Johnson, Obama, Clinton, and Carter. Notice this list is all Democrats except for Reagan.

The other six Presidents were above 50 percent popularity at the time of the first midterm elections–from the highest to the lowest being George W. Bush, Kennedy, Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, Nixon, Ford. Notice this list is all Republicans except for Kennedy.

The record shows that only George W. Bush and Kennedy saw the best results, with Bush seeing a gain of 8 House seats and 1 Senate seat, in the year after September 11, and Kennedy losing 4 House seats but gaining 2 Senate seats in the weeks after the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.

And George H. W. Bush, Nixon, and Eisenhower midterms showed respectively 8 House seats and 1 Senate seat lost; 12 House Seats lost and 1 Senate seat gained; and 18 House seats and 1 Senate seat lost.

Only Ford, three months after taking over the Presidency, and with still a high public opinion rating of 54 percent, but the Nixon Watergate Scandal still reverberating with Ford’s pardon of Nixon, do we see a major loss of 48 House seats and 4 Senate seats lost.

Meanwhile, those six Presidents with a lower than 50 percent public opinion poll rating at the first midterm of their Presidency saw a much greater loss, with Carter having the smallest loss, 15 House seats and 3 Senate seats lost with a 49 percent rating.

Reagan, with a 42 percent rating, lowest except for Truman, saw a loss of 26 House seats but one Senate seat gained.

The other four Presidents—Johnson, Clinton, Truman, Obama—suffered far worse losses—with Johnson losing 48 House seats and losing 4 Senate seats, the same as Ford, who had ten points higher public opinion rating of 54 percent to LBJ’s 44 percent.

Clinton, Truman, and Obama, all Democrats,lost massively in seats in both houses of Congress—Clinton losing 54 House seats and losing 8 Senate seats; Truman losing 55 House seats and losing 12 Senate seats; and Obama losing 63 House seats and losing 6 Senate seats.

What all this leads to is the strong belief that Donald Trump, with 47 percent approval rating most recently, will see a major loss of House seats for sure, and the guess at this time, after much reflection, is that it will be between 40-45 seats. In the Senate, with the great Republican advantage in only having 9 seats open for election, and the Senate having a 51-49 Republican margin, the odds of the Democrats holding on to their seats and gaining two or more of the nine contested Republican seats would seem to lead likely to a 50-50 tie, meaning a one seat Democratic gain, but still a Republican controlled Senate at 50-50, whereby Vice President Mike Pence will still organize the Senate for the next two years. This so unless there is a move by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, who voted against Brett Kavanaugh, and has been attacked by her state’s Republican party leadership, to switch to Independent or Democratic support, and giving the Senate to the Democrats.

The Governorships generally follow Congressional results, and are extremely important for reapportionment of state legislative districts and US House districts after the Census 2020 population figures are tabulated, so having more Governors of one party over the other are crucial. At this point, it would seem likely that the Democrats will gain from 16 present Governorships by 10-11, and have 26-27 Chief Executives of states.

So overall, a Democratic gain to a majority of House seats to about 235-240 and 26-27 Governorships, but likely a tied 50-50 Senate, putting the results worse for Trump than for Reagan in the House and Senate, but not as bad as for Ford among Republican Presidents.

The Long Term Crisis Of Supreme Court Legitimacy Could Tear This Nation Apart Over Next Few Decades

The US Supreme Court is entering a period which could tear this nation apart over the next few decades.

Here we are in the 21st century, and yet, the Supreme Court could be taking us back to the late 19th century Gilded Age in its constitutional decisions. Now there is a solid five member conservative majority, with the confirmation and swearing in of Brett Kavanaugh, the most contentious nominee with the closest vote in the Senate since Stanley Matthews’ appointment by President James A. Garfield in 1881.

Matthews served nearly eight years on the Supreme Court, having been nominated by President Rutherford B. Hayes, but seen at the time as too much of a “crony” of the President, so his nomination was withdrawn, but resubmitted by President James A. Garfield in 1881, and confirmed by the closest margin in history, 24-23, but with Kavanaugh the second lowest ever vote 50-48. This was the only Supreme Court appointment of Garfield, who had only served four months, when he was shot and mortally wounded by an assassin, and died in September 1881.

The concern about fairness on the part of Brett Kavanaugh however was not the same as Stanley Matthews, who was the majority opinion author in a case involving discrimination against Chinese laundries and their owners in San Francisco, with the case being Yick Wo V. Hopkins, enforcing the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. This was a step forward at a difficult time, in the year 1886, although the government had passed into law the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

We could only hope for the kind of open mindedness on the part of Brett Kavanaugh, as occurred with Stanley Matthews’ authorship of this case, which gives him stature in Supreme Court history.

We have had Republican appointments in the past, who turned out to be surprises, including:

Earl Warren and William Brennan, appointed by Dwight D. Eisenhower

Harry Blackmun, appointed by Richard Nixon

John Paul Stevens, appointed by Gerald Ford

Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Ronald Reagan

David Souter, appointed by George H. W. Bush

It would be a miracle at this point if Brett Kavanaugh were to travel the same road.

In a nation becoming more minority over the next decades, and with young people and women and college educated people veering to the left, while the Supreme Court veers dramatically to the Far Right, the question is whether civil disorder is not in the making, creating a crisis atmosphere in the future decades, exactly what America’s enemies are hoping for.

One Term Presidents Who Lose Reelection Reassessed

The historical image of One Term Presidents is that it is the worst thing imaginable to lose reelection, and that their historical image is damaged.

Actually, though, it could be argued that a one term Presidency often is a blessing in disguise in the long run.

Let’s examine what happened to the lives of Presidents defeated for a second term.

John Adams lost reelection to Thomas Jefferson in 1800, but went on to live another 25 years, see his son John Quincy Adams be elected and inaugurated President, and die at the age of 90 years and seven months, the all time record until the 21st century, when four other Presidents surpassed him in age.

John Quincy Adams lost reelection to Andrew Jackson in 1828, but went on to live another 19 years, and be elected to nine terms as a Congressman from Massachusetts, engaged in the fight against slavery as the only President elected by popular vote to an elected office after being President.

Martin Van Buren lost reelection to William Henry Harrison in 1840, but went on to live another 21 years, and be the Presidential nominee of the Free Soil Party in 1848, winning about 10 percent of the national popular vote, the first such third party to have an impact on a national election.

Grover Cleveland lost reelection to Benjamin Harrison in 1888, but came back to the White House by election in 1892, and later served on the Princeton University Board of Trustees after his retirement.

William Howard Taft lost reelection to Woodrow Wilson in 1912, but went on to become the only President also to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court from 1921-1930.

Herbert Hoover lost reelection to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, but went on to the longest retirement of more than 31 years, only surpassed by Jimmy Carter in 2012, and Hoover having growing respect for his post Presidential activities, and dying at the age of 90 in 1964, only five months less lifespan than John Adams, and the second President to reach that age.

Gerald Ford lost election to Jimmy Carter in 1976, after succeeding Richard Nixon under the 25th Amendment, but went on to growing recognition and respect in his nearly 30 years after his Presidency, setting the record for longevity until 2018, dying at the age of 93 and five months.

Jimmy Carter lost reelection to Ronald Reagan in 1980, but went on to become the most outstanding former President in his activities and commitments to public service, and has had the longest retirement of any President, nearly 38 years, and has just reached the age of 94, being 111 days younger than George H. W. Bush.

George H. W. Bush lost reelection to Bill Clinton in 1992, but went on to see his son, George W. Bush be inaugurated and serve two terms in the Presidency, and growing respect as he set the all time record of age 94 in June 2018.