California Governor Jerry Brown is one of the most fascinating figures in American politics.
Always a bit different than other politicians, and often seen in his younger days as “flaky”, Brown is now 76 years old, and will begin his fourth term as governor of the largest state in the Union, California, next month.
Brown became noticed nationally precisely forty years ago when he succeeded Ronald Reagan, who had defeated Brown’s dad, Pat Brown, who had served two terms as Governor, before Reagan’s two terms.
Brown was 36 years old when he began his first term as Governor. Now he is 76 years old, and has proved to be a true survivor over four decades of American history.
After leaving the California Governorship at the end of 1982, and having lost a race for the US Senate, Brown ended up in public office again as Mayor of Oakland, and State Attorney General, before deciding to run again for Governor in 2010, 28 years after his having left that office.
Brown came into a state reeling from economic disaster under previous Governor Gray Davis, who was removed from office in a recall election in 2003, but his successor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, had little more luck on the economy.
But now, the California economy is flourishing by comparison, with the budget deficit overcome by tax increases and some budget cuts.
So there are observers who think Brown might just announce his fourth Presidential candidacy, having challenged ultimate nominee Jimmy Carter in 1976; President Carter in 1980; and ultimate nominee Bill Clinton in 1992.
And the thought that Brown might challenge Hillary Clinton, 24 years after challenging her husband, is, in itself, a fascinating story.
Is there any chance that Jerry Brown, 40 years after first trying for the Presidency, could actually be elected the 45th President?
The odds would be astronomical, but considering that we had a failed candidate (Richard Nixon) come back in 1968; an obscure peanut farmer from Georgia (Jimmy Carter) win in 1976; a losing Presidential contender nearly 70 (Ronald Reagan) come back to win in 1980; a candidate who had a sex scandal erupt during the battle for the nomination in 1992 (Bill Clinton), but overcome it to win: and an mixed race first term US Senator with an unusual name (Barack Obama) win in 2008; who can say this could not happen?