Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Fun Facts about Presidential Elections

Newspaper article MinnPost.com

Fun Facts about Presidential Elections

Article excerpt

Assuming he serves out his new term and then retires (as required by the 22nd Amendment), President Obama will join a perhaps surprisingly short list of two-full-terms-and-out presidents.

It's true that Obama is the third consecutive president to be reelected, which may contribute to an impression that presidents serving two consecutive terms, then retiring, is the natural order of things. But that three-in-row streak for eight-year presidencies hasn't happened since the earliest days of the Republic, when America was briefly a sort of one-party nation and Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe serve two terms each in succession.

But the impression of a two-term norm would be deceptive. Out of the 43 pre-Obama presidents (counting Grover Cleveland twice), just 11 served eight years. And five of those (Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Jackson) were packed into the earliest period of presidential history. Especially in the long period between Monroe and Bill Clinton, the eight-year presidency was a relative rarity. Here are the only other two-full termers: Grant, Wilson, Eisenhower, Reagan, George W. Bush and Clinton.

Nine presidents were nominated for a second term but were defeated for reelection: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Van Buren, Cleveland (although he came back to win a second non-consecutive term), Benjamin Harrison, Taft, Hoover, Carter and George H.W. Bush.

So serving two terms, and losing while trying for a second term still accounts for only 20 of the 44 presidencies. …

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