Kerry in 2008?

KERRY IN 2008?….From the Washington Post today:

Democrat John F. Kerry plans to use his Senate seat and long lists of supporters to remain a major voice in American politics despite losing the presidential race last Tuesday, and he is assessing the feasibility of trying again in 2008, friends and aides said yesterday.

….”Sometimes God tests you,” Kerry told the crowd at H20, a restaurant on the Potomac waterfront, according to an aide. “I’m a fighter, and I’ve come back before.”

Well, maybe. But recent history is not kind to failed presidential candidates. How far back do we have to go to find a presidential loser who won his party’s nomination again four years later? Let’s see….

Al Gore? No.
Bob Dole? No.
George Bush Sr? No.
Michael Dukakis? No.
Walter Mondale? No.
Jimmy Carter? No.
Gerald Ford? No.
George McGovern? No.
Hubert Humphrey? No.
Barry Goldwater? No.
Richard Nixon? No. (Though he won it in 1968.)
Adlai Stevenson? Bingo!

You have to go all the way back to 1952 to find a losing candidate who was nominated again in the next election. What’s more, even the ones who manage this feat usually just go down to defeat a second time when election day rolls around. In the last hundred years, only one person has ever come back from losing a presidential election to eventually become president: Richard Nixon. I don’t think this is merely a coincidence, either.

Kerry is fighting some mighty long odds here….

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation