An article came out this week from conservative writer George Will in the Washington Post that called for President Joe Biden and V.P. Kamala Harris not to run in the next presidential election. Will, who has opposed Trump from the beginning, basically said that the Republicans might make the mistake of running a man who has proven to be unqualified for the highest office and the Democrats need to protect the nation and not follow suit. Will, who voted for Biden in 2020, believes Biden is too old as seen in recent gaffs. It seems odd to not nominate a sitting president and Americans have become used to most of our presidents serving a full eight years. Only once in the 20th or 21st centuries has a party not nominated a sitting president and over the past forty-two years only two presidents have served only one term. Yet there was a time in our history when this was quite common. A time when the nation experienced a string of subpar presidents and went for twenty-four years without having a two-term president or even nominating a sitting president.
Looking back at presidents, you can see times when parties had long runs in power. Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic Republicans basically held power from 1800 to 1828, a 28-year run. The Republicans then held the White House, with only two interruptions from 1860 to 1932, a 72-year run. Democrats came back with their own run and only one interruption from 1932 to 1968, a 36-year run. It gets harder to tell after that. There could be a mini-run of Republicans from 1968 to 2008, a 40-year run with two interruptions, or maybe Clinton started a Democratic run in 1992 till today, a 30-year run with two interruptions. The other possibility is that we are mimicking the one time we skipped when there were no runs. The parties went back and forth. The time between Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln, 1836 to 1860, when only one sitting president was renominated and there were no two-term presidents.