James A. Garfield

Pete Buttigieg A Fascinating Presidential Candidate In So Many Ways

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg would be the youngest President in history if he won the Presidential election in 2020, and he would be succeeding a President twice his age.

Mayor Pete, as he is called by most, is a highly intellectual man, who can speak seven languages, while Donald Trump is poor even in speaking and writing English.

Mayor Pete is a gay man, who hid his sexuality until a few years ago, as he wished to pursue a life with someone, and realized he had to “come out”, and he is now married to Chasten Glezman, who has taken his last name, and is seven and a half years younger at age 30, and has been a middle school drama teacher.

Mayor Pete is an Afghanistan War veteran, a Naval Reserve Officer, and an intelligence officer from 2009-2017, reaching the rank of Lieutenant, and who also graduated from Harvard Magna Cum Laude, and went to Oxford University in the United Kingdom on a Rhodes Scholarship. He was also valedictorian of his high school class in South Bend, Indiana. He also won the JFK Profiles in Courage award and met Caroline Kennedy and other family members at the JFK Presidential Library in 2000, having written his essay on Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who now, ironically, is one of his opponents for the Democratic Presidential nomination.

In his two terms as Mayor of South Bend, Buttigieg won 74 and 80 percent of the vote, and was first mayor at age 29. He also gained notice as a contender to head the Democratic National Committee in 2017.

Buttigieg is also a regular church goer at a local Episcopal Church in South Bend, and more “religious” than most recent Presidents in his public display of attendance, probably the most since Jimmy Carter.

Buttigieg is also interesting in that he is left handed, a common trait among many recent Presidents, including Harry Truman, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama, while only James A. Garfield and Herbert Hoover among earlier Presidents, was left handed.

He also would be the first President to be an only child, while four earlier Presidents had half siblings–Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

In so many ways, Mayor Pete is far superior to Donald Trump, and it would be an inspiration if he could win the Presidency in 2020.

Are We Ready For Another “Revolutionary” Change, Beyond Barack Obama?

Democrats are faced with a challenge that will determine the Presidential Election of 2020.

Is the nation ready for another “revolutionary” change, beyond Barack Obama?

The nation elected a mixed race African American Senator to the White House eleven years ago, something much more “revolutionary” than electing the first Catholic President John F. Kennedy in 1960.

The question is whether the nation is ready to do any of the following:

Elect the first woman President (Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Tulsi Gabbard)

Elect the first mixed race woman President (Kamala Harris)

Elect the second African American male President (Cory Booker)

Elect the first Latino President (Julian Castro)

Elect the first gay President (Pete Buttigieg)

Elect our first Jewish President (Bernie Sanders, Michael Bennet)

Elect our first Hindu President (Tulsi Gabbard), who was born in the US territory of American Samoa.

Elect our oldest first term President at inauguration (Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren)

Elect the first President who will reach 80 years of age in office (Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden)

Elect our first sitting Mayor (Pete Buttigieg, Bill de Blasio)

Elect the first sitting Congressman since James A. Garfield in 1880 (Tulsi Gabbard, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, Eric Swalwell)

Elect a President younger than Theodore Roosevelt or John F. Kennedy (Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Eric Swalwell, Seth Moulton)

Five Women Contending For Democratic Presidential Nomination: Who Has Best Chance, Or Will They All Cancel Each Other Out?

The Presidential Election competition for 2020 is certainly the most diverse ever seen.

Instead of seeing one woman or two women competing as in recent elections, we have a total of five women trying to gain the Democratic Presidential nomination.

The question which arises is whether America is really ready to elect a woman President in a nation which has so much misogyny, while so many other nations have had women leaders without any controversy.

The question is who has the best chance, or will they all cancel each other out, and we will end up with a male Presidential candidate in the end.

It would seem to this author and blogger that of the five women candidates for President, that Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who has the appeal of being potentially the youngest President at age 39 in 2020, has zero chance of being the nominee. Only one sitting member of the House of Representatives, James A. Garfield of Ohio in 1880, ever was elected President, and tragically, was assassinated six months into office, after being shot after just four months in the Presidency.

Among the other four, it would seem that New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, with her bullying of former Minnesota Senator Al Franken over unsubstantiated charges of sexual harassment, would be the second most like to fail in her bid for the Presidency.

The other three, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts; Kamala Harris of California; and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota all would seem to have a much better chance of survival.

However, Warren might be more to the left than the nation would tolerate; and Harris, being of a mixed race background, might face a daunting task of overcoming both racism, and what all women candidates face–misogyny.

So on paper, Klobuchar, from the Midwest, and coming across as more centrist a progressive, in the tradition of Hubert Humphrey, Eugene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, and Paul Wellstone, might have the best chance to be nominated and elected.

Time will tell ultimately whether any of the women will survive, or even if any of them might be a Vice Presidential running mate, with only Klobuchar, and possibly, Harris, agreeing to be in that role.

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.

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.

The Midwest Battleground Will Determine The Political Future, And The Prospects For Democrats Look Good

The Midwest battleground—Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan—is where the modern political system began, and has been a crucial factor in elections ever since the Republican Party was first created in Michigan and Wisconsin in the summer of 1854.

The Midwest is the heartland of the nation, often ridiculed by those who are from the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, but the states of this area have a “wallop”, the potential to decide the national political trend.

Nine Republican Presidents came from the Midwest—Abraham Lincoln from Illinois; Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, Warren G. Harding from Ohio; Benjamin Harrison from Indiana; and Herbert Hoover from Iowa; along with Gerald Ford from Michigan inheriting the Presidency via the 25th Amendment.

Also, other Republican nominees (Alf Landon, Bob Dole) and Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower were from “next door” Kansas in the Great Plains.

At the same time, Midwestern Democrats who ran for President include James Cox of Ohio, Adlai Stevenson II of Illinois, Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale from Minnesota, and George McGovern of “next door” South Dakota in the Great Plains, along with Harry Truman of Missouri and Barack Obama of Illinois.

So the Midwest and its nearby neighbors have had an amazing impact, and now the polls indicate the Midwest Governorships that are up for election trend toward Democrats in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, with Ohio also in play.

If the Midwest or most of it is won by Democrats, then the effect on reapportionment of seats in the House of Representatives after the 2020 Census figures are in, will greatly change the political equation for the next decade, so these gubernatorial elections are crucial turning points.

And it may help any Midwestern Democrat who plans to run for President, with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar having a great opportunity, in the tradition of Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale, plus the image of Eugene McCarthy and Paul Wellstone also helping to give her candidacy a boost.

If the Democratic Presidential nominee is from the Midwest, it gives a boost that a candidate from the Atlantic Coast or Pacific Coast cannot give it, as the “Fly Over” States really will, again, as in the past, determine Presidential elections as well as control of Congress.

The Potential Exists For Youngest President In American History To Be Elected In 2020!

With disillusionment with “the older generation” widespread, the possibility now exists that America could elect a President in 2020 who could be younger than any President in American history.

Theodore Roosevelt succeeded to the Presidency at age 42 years and 10.5 months in 1901, upon the assassination of President William McKinley.

And John F. Kennedy was the youngest elected President, taking the oath of office at age 43 years and 7.5 months in 1961.

We have also had three younger Presidential nominees of a major party who lost their campaigns for the Presidency:

Thomas E. Dewey in the 1944 election, who would have been 42 years and 10 months if he had taken the oath in 1945

John C. Breckinridge in the 1860 election, who would have been 40 years and 1.5 months if he had taken the oath in 1861

William Jennings Bryan in the 1896 and 1900 elections, who would have been 36 years and 11.5 months and 40 years and 11.5 months respectively, if he had taken the oath in 1897 and 1901.

Now, in the upcoming election for President in 2020, there are seven theoretical candidates who would be younger than TR and JFK.

They include:

Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, who would be 42 and three months on Inauguration Day

Congressman Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts, who would be 40 and three and a half months on Inauguration Day

Congressman Eric Swalwell of California, who would be 40 and two months on Inauguration Day

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who would be 39 and nine months on Inauguration Day

Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who is running to be Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, in June 2019, who would be 39 and eight months on Inauguration Day

South Bend, Indiana Mayor (since 2012) Pete Buttigieg, who would be 39 and one day old on Inauguration Day

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has no political experience, who would be 36 and eight months old on Inauguration Day

The odds of any of these seven being the Democratic nominee are very long, and highly unlikely, as four are members of the House of Representatives (and only James A. Garfield was ever elected to the Presidency from the lower house); and two are or will be Mayors, and only Andrew Johnson, in Greeneville, Tennessee; Grover Cleveland, in Buffalo, New York: and Calvin Coolidge in Northampton, Massachusetts were mayors, although Theodore Roosevelt ran for New York City Mayor in 1886, but lost.

Finally, Zuckerberg would only be the second person never in public office after Donald Trump, and seemingly, a real long shot. If Zuckerberg were to become President, he would be the youngest nominee ever, three and a half months younger than William Jennings Bryan in 1896.

Presidential Campaigns Lost By 15 Presidents

In our final examination of Presidents and their background and experiences for the White House, we will now examine Presidential campaigns lost by Presidents.

A total of 15 Presidents ran unsuccessful campaigns for Presidents as follows:

Thomas Jefferson lost the Presidential Election of 1796 to John Adams, but then won in 1800 and 1804.

Andrew Jackson lost the Presidential Election of 1824 to John Quincy Adams, but then won in 1828 and 1832.

William Henry Harrison lost the Presidential Election Of 1836 to Martin Van Buren, but then won in 1840.

Martin Van Buren received the most votes on the first ballot at the Democratic National Convention in 1844, but failed to win the required two thirds majority, and lost the nomination to James K. Polk. He also ran on the Free Soil Party ticket for President in 1848, and finished behind winner Zachary Taylor and second place finisher Lewis Cass. However, he had won the Presidency earlier in 1836.

James Buchanan competed for the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1848 and 1852, but failed to get the nomination, losing to Lewis Cass and Franklin Pierce, respectively, but then won the Presidency in 1856.

Millard Fillmore ran on the American (Know Nothing) Party ticket for President in 1856, but finished behind winner James Buchanan and loser John C. Fremont. Earlier, he had served as President after the death of Zachary Taylor.

Andrew Johnson competed for the Democratic nomination in 1860, but lost the nomination to Stephen A. Douglas. He later served as President after the death of Abraham Lincoln.

Ulysses S. Grant competed for the Republican nomination in 1880, losing the nomination to James A. Garfield. He had earlier been elected President in 1868 and 1872.

Theodore Roosevelt competed for the Republican nomination in 1912, losing the nomination to President William Howard Taft. He ran in the general election as the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party candidate, having earlier served as President, after succeeding to the officer upon the death of William McKinley, and then being elected in his own right in 1904.

Herbert Hoover competed for the Republican nomination in 1920, but lost the nomination to Warren G Harding, but then won the Presidency in 1928.

Lyndon B. Johnson lost the Democratic nomination to John F. Kennedy in 1960, became his Vice Presidential running mate, and succeeded to the Presidency upon Kennedy’s assassination in 1963, and was elected for a full term in 1964.

Richard Nixon lost the Presidency to John F. Kennedy in 1960, but then won the Presidency in 1968 and 1972.

Ronald Reagan competed for the Republican nomination in 1968 and 1976, losing the nomination to Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, respectively, but then won the Presidency in 1980 and 1984.

George H. W. Bush competed for the Republican nomination in 1980, losing the nomination to Ronald Reagan, but became his Vice Presidential running mate, and then Vice President, and then was elected to succeed him as President in the Presidential Election of 1988.

Donald Trump competed for the Reform Party nomination in 2000, but withdrew before Pat Buchanan won that party’s nomination, and later won the Republican nomination and was elected in 2016.

Also, two future Presidents competed for the Vice Presidency, with Franklin D. Roosevelt being the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate in 1920, losing to Calvin Coolidge; and John F. Kennedy competing for the Vice Presidential nomination of the Democratic Party in 1956, when Presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson opened up the Vice Presidential nomination to be decided by the convention delegates, and Estes Kefauver being selected over Kennedy.

State Offices Held By Presidents Before Becoming The Chief Executive

Continuing the analysis of Presidents that has been done on this blog in the last week or so, today we will examine what state offices were held by Presidents before becoming the nation’s Chief Executive.

Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and John Tyler all served in the Virginia House of Delegates.

James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson served in the Tennessee House of Representatives, while Johnson also served in the Tennessee Senate.

James Buchanan served in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.

William Henry Harrison, James A. Garfield, and Warren G. Harding served in the Ohio Senate.

Millard Fillmore and Theodore Roosevelt served in the New York State Assembly.

Martin Van Buren and Franklin D. Roosevelt served in the New York State Senate.

Franklin Pierce served in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

John Quincy Adams and Calvin Coolidge served in the Massachusetts Senate, while Coolidge also served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

Abraham Lincoln served in the Illinois House of Representatives, while Barack Obama served in the Illinois Senate.

Finally, Jimmy Carter served in the Georgia State Senate.

Additionally, Martin Van Buren served as Attorney General of New York State; Millard Fillmore as New York State Comptroller; Warren G. Harding as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio;’ Calvin Coolidge as Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts; and Bill Clinton as Attorney General of Arkansas.

Also, three Presidents served as Mayors–Andrew Johnson as Mayor of Greeneville, Tennessee; Grover Cleveland as Mayor of Buffalo, New York; and Calvin Coolidge as Mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts.

The House Of Representatives And The Presidency

The history of the Presidency shows us that Presidents come from the Governorship of a state, or the US Senate, or military leadership, or from being a Cabinet member under a President.

Only one House of Representatives member has gone directly from the lower chamber to the White House, James A. Garfield of Ohio, elected in 1880, but tragically shot after four months in office, and dying after six and a half months in September 1881.

A total of 19 Presidents served in the House of Representatives, however, including:

James Madison
John Quincy Adams
Andrew Jackson
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
James K. Polk
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Abraham Lincoln
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
James A Garfield
William McKinley
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
George H. W. Bush

Some interesting observations:

Gerald Ford served the longest in the House, nearly 25 years, hoping to be Speaker of the House one day.

James A. Garfield served the second longest, almost 18 years, followed by John Quincy Adams.

James K. Polk served as Speaker of the House of Representatives as part of his service.

While only Garfield was elected President from the House, four who served in the House succeeded to the Presidency from the Vice Presidency during a term and were not elected–John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson and Gerald Ford, with Ford the only one not elected to the Vice Presidency, but rather being appointed through the 25th Amendment.

14 of the 19 Presidents who served in the House of Representatives did so before the 20th century, with only 5 serving from the 1930s to the 1970s.

When one looks at the present House of Representatives, there are a number of Democrats who are seen as potential Presidential contenders and also a few Republicans who might join the race, depending on circumstances.

For the Democrats:

Joe Kennedy III (Massachusetts)
Seth Moulton (Massachusetts)
John Delaney (Maryland)
Joaquin Castro (Texas)
Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii)
Adam Schiff (California)
Eric Swalwell (California)

Other potential Democrats who have served in the House of Representatives in the past include:

Bernie Sanders (Vermont)
Kirsten Gillibrand (New York)
Chris Murphy (Connecticut)
Sherrod Brown (Ohio)

For the Republicans:

Mike Pence (Indiana)
Paul Ryan (Wisconsin)
John Kasich (Ohio)
Jeff Flake (Arizona)
Tom Cotton (Arkansas)