James Taranto, who is still running the last surviving element of OpinionJournal.com, the Best of the Web, points out an interesting and disturbing trend in Republican Presidential nominees over the last 48 years. I’ll distill out the two one-person items in that trend, previous nominee (Richard Nixon) and immediate relative of a previous President (George W. Bush), and point out that, except for 1964 and 2000 (which have their own unique “next in line” aspects), Republican nominees have fallen into one (or more) of these three categories:
- Sitting President (1956, 1972, 1976, 1984, 1992, 2004)
- Sitting or former Vice President (1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1988, 1992)
- Runner-up in the previous seriously-contested nomination (1980, 1988, 1996*)
* Bob Dole was the runner-up in 1988 and Pat Buchanan finished 2nd in 1992; however, Buchanan did not win a single state in 1992 and had at the end 18 delegates.
In sum, every single Republican nominee the previous 13 election cycles has been either the incumbent or the one with the strongest “next-in-line” case. That’s bad news for those of us who would rather eat broken glass dipped in arsenic and radioactive goo than have John McCain as the next Republican nominee because McCain is undeniably the next in line.
Revisions/extensions (7:50 am 6/21/2008) – I thought I had expounded a bit on the special case of 1964, but I hadn’t. Barry Goldwater actually finished well down in the 1960 election season, but he was the highest-finishing serious candidate to run in 1964, as everybody who finished ahead of him either chose not to run or couldn’t due to death.
Also, I can’t explain why WordPress is claiming there are two comments, while there is only one. Fixed via database hack.