Senator Bernie Sanders, D-(I)-Vt., becoming the Democratic Party nominee for president would indeed be a disaster for the GOP — in 2024.
In 2024, Republicans will likely be facing a seemingly-ironclad rule that has held since 1952, one that holds a two-term administration of either party has little chance a successor can be victorious.
On the other hand, most first-term presidents or their successors in office — e.g. Kennedy/Johnson and Harding/Coolidge — get re-elected.
In the twelve presidential administrations since 1920, only three presidents, — Herbert Hoover, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush — were not re-elected. Not surprisingly, all three were done in by poor to disastrous economies.
The Democratic administrations of Franklin Delano Roosevelt/Harry S. Truman ran to five victories in a row.
With those historical precedents in mind, the odds are that President Donald Trump will get the nod from voters for a second term if the economy continues to improve.
If the unprecedented benefits of low employment for blacks — with whom Senator Sanders did poorly — and Hispanics continue their current pace, then President Trump could be positioned for a landslide win.
In such circumstances, the opposing party tends to give vent to its most radical or out-of-touch elements. The Republican Party nominated Barry Goldwater, and the Democratic Party nominated George McGovern and Walter Mondale. They each suffered a massive Electoral College rejection.
Mr. Mondale suffered the worst defeat, carrying only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia (DC). Worth noting, Mr. Mondale nearly lost Minnesota, besting Ronald Reagan 49.72% to 49.54%, or just 1,036,364 votes to 1,032,603 votes.
Mr. Sanders, with his army of “Bernie Bros.,” ticks every box in the crusade type candidacy.
But it is challenging to see the American electorate at a time of full or near-full employment electing what would be perceived as a tax-raising socialist, and conveyor of who knows what new list of politically correct social restructuring.
The prospect of a Sanders candidacy is very real. He has not yet made a move in that direction, but to discount such a possibility would be foolish. Nathan Robinson at the leftwing “The Guardian” hails Senator Sanders as “the most progressive choice for president.”
Notably, according to the Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky, a high-profile Sanders partisan David Sirota attacked Beto O’Rourke, a younger potential rival for the progressive left’s hearts. Tomasky, a Hillary supporter, has in turn attacked Mr. Sanders. David Brook at NBC’s “Think” goes further and attacks Mr. Sanders’ supporters as potential “poisoners.”
More importantly, Mr. Sanders leads by a large margin in polls surveying only progressive candidates. He consistently polls in second place behind former Vice President Joe Biden in broader polls of prospective Democratic nominees.
He has a large following of grassroots supporters to reignite. The second time around as a known factor to the left would make that task more simple, as would the raising of substantial funds.
While a Sanders candidacy would be welcomed by Republicans, the historical reality indicates this would bode poorly for the GOP in 2024. That is particularly noteworthy if a more traditional Democratic candidate loses to President Trump.
If Senator Sanders were to run in 2020 and lose, then the natural expected result would be the humbling of the more radical elements. The Democratic Party would likely turn to a centrist candidate, which would make the job of electing a successor to President Trump very difficult considering the “third-term” hoodoo.
Conversely, if Mr. Sanders were again denied the nomination after a vigorous campaign — with mass rallies attended by hordes of youthful leftists and Hollywood supporters — the pressure for a similar candidate in 2024 would be unstoppable.
President George H.W. Bush broke the third term jinx by having the good fortune to run against an utterly hopeless incompetent in former Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis, who blew an 18-point lead.
Whomever the GOP’s successor to President Trump, he or she can only hope that Senator Sanders is denied the 2020 nomination, and a similar radical is the Democrats’ choice in 2024.