Donald Trump is about to hitch a small membership of former US presidents who’ve solely served one time period as commander-in-chief, after failing to safe re-election.
And with Joe Biden now the president-elect, social media customers have additionally been fast to level out in current weeks that Trump may be the primary “one-termer” to even have been impeached and lose the favored vote twice.
It has been summed up in a extensively shared Venn diagram:
Snopes discovered the declare was correct, with Trump turning into the primary president in US historical past to lose re-election because the incumbent, having additionally been impeached throughout his time period, and after being elected within the first place regardless of shedding the favored vote.
Hillary Clinton gained the favored vote in 2016, whereas this 12 months Biden at present has an virtually 6 million vote lead over the President.
What number of different presidents have served one time period?
Final century, it occurred 4 occasions. And simply 10 occasions (together with Trump) in complete.
(It is worth mentioning right here that we’re simply counting those that have been elected to the presidency however have been voted out of workplace when looking for one other time period. We’ve not included presidents who have been defeated in conventions and subsequently, didn’t run in a normal election — for instance, Franklin Pierce)
Others who’ve solely served one time period haven’t been listed because of different elements, together with US presidents who took over the presidency as a result of 25th modification however didn’t get elected themselves after their time period ended.
Among the many latter is Gerald Ford, who gained the Republican nomination for the presidency in 1976, however in the end misplaced to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
The place did the thought of solely serving two phrases come from?
For over 150 years, there have been no time period limits on US presidents. The one rule was that they may solely serve 4 years earlier than looking for re-election.
But, based on the Structure Centre, a two-term precedent had been set by the very first US president George Washington in 1796 when he determined to move on a 3rd time period.
That paved the way in which for John Adams and Thomas Jefferson to battle it out within the subsequent race.
Whereas there have been presidents who tried to hunt a 3rd time period, they in the end failed, till Franklin D Roosevelt.
He was the primary and solely US president to win greater than two phrases, however in looking for a 3rd after which a fourth time period, he angered many Republicans.
As outrage over the transfer grew, his opponent Thomas Dewe argued in a 1944 speech that “4 phrases or 16 years is essentially the most harmful risk to our freedom ever proposed”.
And so, two years after Roosevelt’s demise, Congress handed the 22nd Modification, limiting presidents to 2 phrases. It was ratified in 1951:
“No individual shall be elected to the workplace of the President greater than twice, and no one that has held the workplace of President, or acted as President, for greater than two years of a time period to which another individual was elected President shall be elected to the workplace of President greater than as soon as,” the Structure Centre web site stated.
Different US presidents who misplaced their re-election bids
The final president to serve just one time period was George HW Bush, who was US president between 1989 and 1993.
His presidency was outlined by two occasions — Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and a pledge he made to not increase taxes whereas working for president in 1988, which he went on to interrupt.
He was overwhelmed within the 1992 election by Invoice Clinton, serving as a cautionary story for a era of Republicans having misplaced after only one time period.
In leaving workplace, nonetheless, Bush continued the custom of writing a letter to the following occupant of the Oval Workplace, which was began by his predecessor Ronald Reagan and continues to at the present time.
Not like Reagan, who had left a letter for his former vice-president and ally, Bush handed on phrases of recommendation to a former rival. In response to the New York Occasions, his resolution to supply an olive department to a political foe in his letter was profound.
“Your success now could be our nation’s success. I’m rooting arduous for you,” he wrote.
Different US presidents who’ve additionally solely served one time period after looking for re-election embody:
- John Adams
- John Quincy Adams
- Martin Van Buren
- Benjamin Harrison
- William Howard Taft
- Herbert Hoover
- Gerald Ford
- Jimmy Carter
In response to American historian and professor on the College of Virginia Brian Balough, what stands out in regards to the 4 US presidents to lose re-election within the 20th century is that they have been seen as being “out of contact”.
“I’ve requested myself what do all these one-term presidents have in frequent? The one commonest issue is that they are seen as being out of contact with the American public,” he instructed Radio Nationwide’s Rear Imaginative and prescient program.
“Throughout the election in 1912, Taft just about gave up though Wilson gained, Roosevelt did rather a lot higher than Taft. Taft actually got here in third.
“Herbert Hoover was notorious for turning inwards throughout the Nice Despair.”
He stated the exception to this generalisation was maybe Carter, “who completely ran as an outsider … however as soon as he received into workplace … he actually wasn’t excellent at being in contact with the American public and actually connecting with the American public”.
“And, after all, that is the place we ended with George HW Bush, a man who had spent lots of time in international coverage circles — not likely hobnobbing with the American public,” he stated.
However Trump would not have to remain a one-termer
Whereas the US Structure says a president can solely serve two phrases in complete, they do not must be consecutive.
At present, Grover Cleveland stands alone in American historical past as the one president to serve two phrases with a four-year hole between them.
In 1884, he gained the presidential election by simply 1,200 votes in his dwelling state of New York.
However regardless of profitable the favored vote in 1888, his Republican rival Benjamin Harrison beat him within the electoral school, and subsequently took the presidency.
Not happy with one time period, Cleveland ran once more 4 years later.
The doorway of a 3rd get together into the race helped cut up the vote and Cleveland lastly received his revenge on Harrison.
Whereas Trump is but to concede the 2020 election, some US retailers report he’s already weighing up one other run in 2024.
“Aides advising Republicans who’re prone to run in 2024 are dreading the prospect of a Trump run given the extraordinary sway he holds over hundreds of thousands of GOP voters,” Jonathan Swan wrote in Axios.