Presidential Election Of 1836

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.

Hillary Clinton Could Be Fourth To Be Promoted Successfully As Successor Of President Of Same Party For White House!

In all of American history, there have only been three times that a President could preside over the success of his chosen successor of his own party being inaugurated as the next President of the United States.

The first time was 1837, when Vice President Martin Van Buren was inaugurated as the 8th President, succeeding Andrew Jackson.

The second time was 72 years later in 1909, when Secretary of War William Howard Taft was inaugurated as the 27th President, succeeding Theodore Roosevelt.

The third time was 80 years later in 1989, when Vice President George H. W. Bush was inaugurated as the 41st President, succeeding Ronald Reagan.

Now, next year, 2017, it seems very likely, although not guaranteed at this point, that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be inaugurated as the 45th President, 28 years later after Bush, succeeding Barack Obama.

However, history was not kind on the successors to Jackson, TR, and Reagan, as all three–Van Buren, Taft, and the first Bush—failed to win reelection, and are all ranked lower in the estimate of historians than their predecessors.

So one has to wonder about the future fortunes of Hillary Clinton. However, on this July 4 week, President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are joining Clinton in North Carolina and Pennsylvania to begin the full scale campaign for the Presidency against Donald Trump!

Vice Presidents And The Presidency: Being Elected A Lost Cause!

With Vice President Joe Biden announcing he would not run for President, due to bad timing to announce caused by the family tragedy of the loss of his son Beau Biden in May, it adds to the reality that any Vice President has great odds against him if he wishes to use the Vice Presidency as a launching pad for the Presidency.

Only four Presidents have been able to run from the Vice Presidency for President and triumph, with all but one in the first 50 years of the Republic, as follows:

John Adams 1796

Thomas Jefferson 1800

Martin Van Buren 1836

The other President is George H. W. Bush in 1988.

Never until the 1940s and after did a sitting Vice President ever get considered at all for the Presidency, other than if he succeeded the President by natural death or assassination.

So we had Vice President John Nance Garner trying to win the 1940 Democratic Presidential nomination, but unfortunately for him, Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to seek a third term.

In 1948, former Vice President Henry Wallace in the third term of FDR tried for the Presidency as a third party candidate (Progressive Party), fighting against fourth FDR term Vice President Harry Truman, who had succeeded FDR upon his death in 1945.

Alben Barkley, Vice President under Truman in his full term, tried to win the 1952 Democratic Presidential nomination, but his age was used against him, which may have been good, since Barkely died during the next term when he would have been President.

Richard Nixon ran for President to succeed Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1960, but lost in a close election to John F.  Kennedy.  Of course, Nixon won eight years later, being the first Vice President elected since Martin Van Buren in 1836, but eight years after.

Hubert H. Humphrey ran for President in 1968 to succeed Lyndon B. Johnson, but was defeated by Nixon, and tried for the nomination again in 1972, but failed to be selected as the Presidential nominee.

Walter Mondale ran for President in 1984 after he and Jimmy Carter were defeated in 1980 for a second term, but lost to Ronald Reagan.

George H. W. Bush is the only exception to this reality, winning in 1988 after serving two terms as Vice President under Ronald Reagan.

Dan Quayle tried for the Republican nomination in 1996 after serving one term under George H. W. Bush, but flopped badly.

Al Gore ran for President in 2000 after two terms as Vice President under Bill Clinton, and of course won the popular vote, but lost the hotly contested electoral vote in Florida, with Supreme Court intervention, leading to the victory of his opponent George W. Bush.

Dick Cheney had tried briefly for the Presidency in 1996, but when he was Vice President under George W. Bush for two terms, his health was fragile and he chose not to try for the Presidency in 2008.

And now Joe Biden, after two terms as Vice President under Barack Obama, has reluctantly decided not to run for President in 2016, due to the tragic death of his son Beau in May, and the grieving period preventing organization of a Presidential campaign.

So the record shows, with the exception of Richard Nixon eight years later and George H. W. Bush, no Vice President has succeeded in modern times to the Presidency unless the President died in office, or with the case of Richard Nixon resigning, led to Gerald Ford succeeding him in the White House.

Presidential Candidate Losers Become Secretaries Of State

If one cannot win the White House, there is always the consolation prize of being the leader of the Presidential cabinet, as Secretary of State.

So we see a distinguished list of Presidential candidate losers who took on the most important and most publicized cabinet agency, the State Department. What follows is the list of these distinguished public servants and the national election that they lost.

Henry Clay (1824) was Secretary of State under John Quincy Adams.

Daniel Webster (1836) was Secretary of State under William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, and Millard Fillmore.

Lewis Cass (1848) was Secretary of State under James Buchanan.

James G. Blaine (1884) was Secretary of State under James Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and Benjamin Harrison.

William Jennings Bryan (1896, 1900, 1908) was Secretary of State under Woodrow Wilson.

Charles Evans Hughes (1916) was Secretary of State under Warren G. Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

John Kerry (2004) was Secretary of State under Barack Obama.

Multiple Losing Presidential Candidacies, And Those Who Lost, Then Won The Presidency

The history of multiple candidacies for the Presidency is an interesting one, with five candidates being nominated more than once and losing each time, and five candidates being nominated more than once, and losing before winning the White House (with unusual circumstances for Grover Cleveland)

Those who ran multiple times and continued to lose are:

Charles Pinckney, Presidential Elections of 1804 and 1808
Henry Clay, Presidential Elections of 1824, 1832, and 1844
William Jennings Bryan, Presidential Elections Of 1896, 1900, and 1908
Thomas E. Dewey, Presidential Elections of 1944 and 1948
Adlai Stevenson, Presidential Elections of 1952 and 1956

Those who ran multiple times and first lost, and then won the Presidency are (with unusual case of Grover Cleveland described below):

Thomas Jefferson, Presidential Elections of 1796, 1800 and 1804
Andrew Jackson, Presidential Elections of 1824, 1828 and 1832
William Henry Harrison, Presidential Elections of 1836 and 1840
Grover Cleveland, Presidential Elections of 1884, 1888, and 1892 (winning in 1884, losing in 1888, winning in 1892)
Richard Nixon, Presidential Elections of 1960, 1968 and 1972

Also, Jackson and Cleveland won the popular vote in the elections they lost in the Electoral College, so both actually won the popular vote three times, the only candidates to do that, other than Franklin D. Roosevelt, who won the popular vote and electoral vote four times, in the Presidential Elections of 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944!

Additionally, Martin Van Buren ran a third time in 1848 on the Free Soil Party line and lost; and Theodore Roosevelt ran a second time in 1912 on the Progressive Party line and lost.

Presidents Who Could Have Had Third Terms In Office

Anyone who studies American history knows that our only President who had more than two terms (eight years) in office was Franklin D. Roosevelt, who actually was elected four times, and served a total of 12 years and 39 days before dying in office in 1945.

But there were others who could have had more than eight years in office, were it not because of their own decision not to seek another term, or due to constitutional limitations via the 22nd Amendment!

These potential cases of Presidents who could have had more than eight years in office include:

Andrew Jackson (1829-1837), who would have won a third term had he chosen to run, but instead his Vice President, Martin Van Buren, ran and won the Presidency.

Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), who served seven and a half years after succeeding William McKinley six months into his second term, and then chose not to run in 1908, backing William Howard Taft who won, and then challenging Taft in 1912, on a third party line (Progressive Party), but lost to him. Despite the loss, TR won six states and 88 electoral votes, the best third party performance in American history.

Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929), who served five and a half years in the Presidency, after succeeding Warren G. Harding after two and a half years in office, and decided not to run in 1928, and instead, we saw Herbert Hoover win the Presidency.

These three Presidents mentioned above were popular enough to have won another term, and in each case, would have ended up serving more than eight years in office, as FDR did!

And then there are four Presidents since the 22nd Amendment limitation of two terms or ten years in office if succeeding to the Presidency with less than two years left of the term when they became President, all of whom could have been elected to another term, had there been no such limit!

Dwight D. Eisenhower could have won and run a third term in 1960, as could Ronald Reagan in 1988, and Bill Clinton in 2000, while Lyndon B. Johnson, had he not dropped out in 1968, likely would have beaten Richard Nixon, since his Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, came close to doing so, and did not have the fact of being President to help him win the election!

It is interesting that in all cases mentioned except three—Eisenhower, Johnson, and Clinton–the party of the President who did not run for reelection won the election. Eisenhower saw Richard Nixon lose a close election, despite much evidence of a fixed result for John F. Kennedy in 1960, and Johnson saw Humphrey lose to Nixon in another close election, where LBJ would likely have turned the tide! And Al Gore lost in 2000, despite a popular vote majority, due to the intervention of the Supreme Court in 2000, giving the Presidency to George W. Bush!

So instead of one President with 12 years and 39 days in the Presidency, we could have had, additionally, Andrew Jackson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton with 12 years in office; Theodore Roosevelt with 11 and a half years in office; and Calvin Coolidge with nine and a half years in office and Lyndon B. Johnson with nine years and two months in office!

And Martin Van Buren, William Howard Taft, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush might never have been President if the Presidents before had sought or been able to seek a third term in the Presidency!

PS Another thought that has come to me, belatedly, is that Grover Cleveland (1885-1889, 1893-1897), the only President with two nonconsecutive terms, actually won the popular vote in 1888, but lost in the Electoral College. Had the result been different, Cleveland, in theory, might have run in 1892, anyway, and could have been a three term President, and Benjamin Harrison would never have been President!

President Vs. President In Presidential Elections: 14 Times and 20 Presidents

On George Washington’s actual birthday, 280 years ago (1732), it is appropriate to ask how many times has there been a Presidential election in which two Presidents opposed each other?

The answer is 14 times, and a total of 20 Presidents have competed against a fellow Oval Office occupant, present or future!

Here are the details:

Presidential Elections of 1796 and 1800–John Adams vs Thomas Jefferson, with Adams first winning, and then Jefferson.

Presidential Elections Of 1824 and 1828–John Quincy Adams vs Andrew Jackson, with Adams first winning (even though behind Jackson in popular votes), and then Jackson.

Presidential Elections of 1836 and 1840–Martin Van Buren vs William Henry Harrison, with Van Buren first winning, and then Harrison.

Presidential Elections of 1888 and 1892–Benjamin Harrison vs Grover Cleveland, with Harrison first winning (even though behind Cleveland in popular votes), and then Cleveland.

Presidential Election Of 1912–the only time three Presidents, past, present and future, ran against each other, with Woodrow Wilson defeating President William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt (running on a third party line, the Progressive Party).

Presidential Election of 1932–Herbert Hoover vs Franklin D. Roosevelt, with FDR winning.

Presidential Election of 1960–John F. Kennedy vs Richard Nixon, with JFK winning, but Nixon later winning the Presidency in 1968.

Presidential Election of 1976–Jimmy Carter vs Gerald Ford, with Carter defeating President Ford.

Presidential Election of 1980–President Jimmy Carter vs Ronald Reagan, with Reagan defeating President Carter.

Presidential Election Of 1992–President George H. W. Bush vs Bill Clinton, with Clinton defeating President Bush.

Of these 20 Presidents, only Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton–a total of five–never lost to their Presidential competitor, although it could be pointed out that FDR lost the Vice Presidency in 1920, a race that Warren G. Harding won for the White House, and that Ronald Reagan lost the Republican nomination for President to Gerald Ford in 1976!

So another trivia contest for those who are interested!