May 23, 2019

"How Much Political Experience Does It Take to Be Elected President?"

A nice graphic presentation in the NYT:



What can we infer about who Democrats should want as their candidate? Trump's winning with no political experience might seem to say anything could happen, so go ahead and try, mayors, even though it's never worked yet. The last thing that worked was something that hadn't happened yet, so maybe the most likely thing is the least like thing. In Crazyworld.

Ah! I do have a tag for this: "if Trump could do it."

IN THE COMMENTS: Gilbar observes that the VP most recently elected — George H.W. Bush in 1988 — was elected when he was the sitting VP. He wasn't a former VP. The NYT says:
While the vice presidency might seem the most obvious launching pad for the presidency, only five people have done what Joseph R. Biden Jr. is trying to do now: get elected after completing his vice presidency.
Boldface added. That looks like the NYT is acknowledging the difficulty of running as a former VP, but I think the NYT is including candidates who were VP when they ran and began serving after they completed their term. I believe there is only one person who ran as a former VP and won — Richard Nixon. The Times was trying to exclude the VPs who became President when the President died and then won an election. Obviously, those men didn't win as VP. They won as President.

AND: When Nixon won, in 1968, he was opposed by another VP, Hubert Humphrey. So 1968 is more of a testimony to the ability of VPs to get nominated, not elected. When Nixon ran as VP in 1960 and was not opposed by another VP, he lost. The George H.W. Bush win (against a governor) is really an outlier. The other recent VP nominees all lost — Al Gore in 2000, Mondale in 1984.

58 comments:

rhhardin said...

There's no line for sense of humor.

Hagar said...

It is not about "experience," but did you do something? Are you a big enough person?

Trump we were not that sure about, but he did look to be a better bet than anyone of the competition, and that seems to have been borne out.

rehajm said...

Yah that’s it. You don’t like Trump and you think he’s stupid but he did it so that means Oprah and George Clooney and Macaulay Culkin could do it too! It feels like the dot com era when Barbara Streisand was crowned queen for her stock picking talent.

Henry said...

That chart applies a weirdly reductive approach to each politician's resume.

Buttigieg, Moulton, and Gabbard also have military experience. This is the absence most notable in the chart, given the "no political or military experience" tag that shows up for Yang and Williamson.

Biden and Bennett also were Senators. Put Biden in the Senator category and his changes improve!

Hickenlooper and Castro also were mayors.

Inslee was also a representative.

Henry said...

Blogger Hagar said...
It is not about "experience," but did you do something? Are you a big enough person?

Taft had both size and experience.

Howard said...

Experience requirement = age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States

The only other requirements are bullshit

gilbar said...

question?
Other than Nixon; has there ever been a former Vice President elected?
HW Bush Was Vice President when elected, Nixon hadn't been VP for 8 eight years.
I can't think of any other times someone that Used To Be VP got elected? Anyone?
{oh, please don't count folks like LBJ that was a former VP on account of because he was already President}

Ann Althouse said...

"Buttigieg, Moulton, and Gabbard also have military experience. This is the absence most notable in the chart, given the "no political or military experience" tag that shows up for Yang and Williamson."

The chart puts each person in their highest category. Biden is listed as having VP experience and his position as Senator is not mentioned. Etc. etc.

Yang and Williamson fall into the no experience category, which is where Trump is and it says only one person in that category has ever been elected President. If the "or military experience" line hadn't been there, they'd need a number larger than 1.

Fernandistein said...

Well, as Calvin Coolidge said, everybody complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

That's the right attitude while the climate suffers from anthropomorphism.

bleh said...

Why are Senator and House Member defined as “higher” than Governor?

Ann Althouse said...

"Other than Nixon; has there ever been a former Vice President elected? HW Bush Was Vice President when elected, Nixon hadn't been VP for 8 eight years."

I don't know but this is an important distinction that applies to Biden.

"I can't think of any other times someone that Used To Be VP got elected? Anyone?
{oh, please don't count folks like LBJ that was a former VP on account of because he was already President}"

The text of the article is clear (and persuasive) about why that's left out for this presentation of the facts.

When LBJ won an election for President, he was President. So it was like all the many re-elections of Presidents, where the person who won was running FROM THE POSITION OF PRESIDENT. Everyone on the chart is depicted according to his HIGHEST position at the time when he ran. LBJ ran as a President, not as a VP..

traditionalguy said...

There is no experience category on the list for Master Persuader and Communicator who wills to single handedly defeat a Hoax Propaganda Media Establishment and World Government. That is a rare bird.

Eric said...

This graphic considers political experience the only relevant experience. How about a chart of the proportions of post-school experience in politics and in nonpolitics?

FYI, I really wanted to say "honest work" in the alternative to politics.

gilbar said...

i just got done running through the list; and Nixon is the only former VP to become President.

Adams, Jefferson, Van Buren, and HW Bush are the other four VP's to be voted in as President (as opposed to first inheriting the office through death of the existing Pres). and each of those four were sitting VP's while running.

Nixon also ran (and lost) in one of the closest Presidential Elections of all time; BEFORE running again 8 years latter.

Biden's claim to fame is that he was impeachment insurance for Barry O'Bama?

MikeR said...

Giuliani was for sure a credible candidate. Mayor of New York is a big job, maybe more like president than governor of Alaska, say.
I do think that reality show host is much closer to POTUS than anything else on the list.

lgv said...

Hmmm. The chart makes me wish a formal general would run, but only as compared to the rest of the chart.

Henry said...

Moulton served four tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine officer. He earned medals for actions under fire. He has pointedly not used his military commendations to promote his political campaigns.

I regard that as a higher level of service than being Massachusetts Representative.

Remember when the Democrats decided that being Senator wasn't enough for John Kerry? He had to be a war hero instead?

Moulton actually fits that profile.

clint said...

It's important to distinguish experience from accomplishment.

The former fits in a line-item on a resume. The latter is something you can proudly discuss at the job interview -- which is what a political campaign is.

wendybar said...

What's funny is that these 40 year politicians know that Trump is getting things done that they have avoided for over 40 years. They are scared that Americans are waking up to the fact that they avoided doing these things to keep their cushy jobs.

TJM said...

If you define political experience narrowly, to holding elected office, then Trump would not have had any. However, since he navigated HUGE deals in the real world, having to deal with all sorts of types, I think it is safe to say he has excellent political instincts

chickelit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chickelit said...

While the vice presidency might seem the most obvious launching pad for the presidency, only five people have done what Joseph R. Biden Jr. is trying to do now: get elected after completing his vice presidency.

Why didn't Biden run in 2016? The simple answer is because Hillary was running. He clearly wanted to run then because he regretted not running then. Some might say that he deferred to Hillary, and let her have her shot. Others, including me, think he was a pussy and was intimidated by the Clinton machine. Is that the kind of guy we need as President?

gspencer said...

"I would rather be governed by the first 2000 people in the Boston telephone directory than by the 2000 people on the faculty of Harvard University."

Me too. Though today I'd choose a different city.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nf_bu-kBr4

gilbar said...

think he was smart and intimidated by the Clinton machine being able to have him die in a plane crash.
fixed it for you!

Ambrose said...

For much of US history, the VP was a throwaway position, not a stepping stone to the presidency. Very few ever even ran for the big seat - even those who stepped in after a death were usually moved aside afterwards and did not run on their own.

Ralph L said...

I believe you mean "Gore in 2000"

CJinPA said...

The other recent VP nominees all lost — Al Gore in 1988, Mondale in 1984.

Al Gore lost in 2000. (Although he did run in 1988, and is the one who first used Willie Horton against Mike Dukakis.)

"No Political or Military Experience - Presidents Elected: 1"

Still elected today.

Henry said...

Ambrose -- Our 2nd and 3rd presidents were Vice Presidents and clearly regarded it as a stepping stone to the presidency.

George Clinton, Vice President under Jefferson, ran for president in 1808 and lost.

CJinPA said...

George Clinton, Vice President under Jefferson, ran for president in 1808 and lost.

Young America wasn't ready for the Funkadelic Party.

Kevin said...

“I believe there is only one person who ran as a former VP and won — Richard Nixon.”

Why would the editors at the NYT exclude this information?

Kevin said...

Biden has a secret plan to solve the border crisis.

Oh hell, all his plans are secret which is why he can’t shut up about Trump.

chickelit said...

think he was smart and intimidated by the Clinton machine being able to have him die in a plane crash.
fixed it for you!


Heh. That may be true but he's still out there defending her legacy which shows that he's still an abject coward.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

years logging DC Swamp-time,
or genuine wherewithal tackle the issues properly?

Birches said...

I don't know half of the people in that infographic. And I'm pretty informed, considering I come here every day. I know all of the Senators, three of the reps, one of the governor's, one of the mayors, Yang and Williamson, Castro and Biden. But if Castro had been in the rep area, I wouldn't know who he was. Same with the crazy lady.

Hagar said...

The original Constitution called for the candidate with the most electoral votes to become President and the runner up to become Vice-President. There was no political parties then; in fact this was referred to as the "politics of faction" and officially abhorred.
The debacle of the 1800 election and the spectacle of Aaron Burr possibly have become President set people to thinking about amending the Constitution to prevent anything like that from happening again.

(However, I think this shows that the intent of the Constitution is for the electoral votes to be called for a person, and this has never been officially abandoned as far as I can tell.)

John henry said...

I think Jefferson and adams as founding fathers should be in a separate category. They were both 200 years ago anyway.

For those who think the vice presidency is good experience for the presidency, whose presidency did you like?

Ford?

Lbj?

Truman?

Coolidge is an exception

Tr?

Arthur?

Johnson?

And so on.

John Henry

Michael K said...

I think it was Mark Steyn who had the best comment about ":Mayor Pete." He said, Buttplug was Mayor of a city with 100,000 residents while de Blasio is Mayor of a city with 100,000 homeless.

Yancey Ward said...

I second Eric's point. What did the various groups of senators, representatives, and governors, etc. do before they were elected to office? That might give you clue as to who was successful before becoming politicians.

Yancey Ward said...

And John Henry is correct- Jefferson and Adams were founding fathers of the country- in short, titans before there was even a presidency. I think the only VPs that count in that particular category are Van Buren and Bush the first.

Bill Peschel said...

Clint had the shortest but wisest comment.

Getting elected doesn't demonstrate much in the way of political skill, unless you do it against the odds. Hillary was elected Senator from New York; is that a real accomplishment?

Trump was elected with the deep state, the Dems, and the media against him. That is a real accomplishment.

This chart is fundamentally worthless.

tommyesq said...

Henry said "Moulton served four tours of duty in Iraq as a Marine officer. He earned medals for actions under fire. He has pointedly not used his military commendations to promote his political campaigns."

The sad part about today's election-as-sport media, Moulton can't get any play. I live in his congressional district, and he doesn't even get local news coverage - I actually forgot he was running until I saw you mention him.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think Jefferson and adams as founding fathers should be in a separate category. They were both 200 years ago anyway."

There's another reason to exclude them that's even more important: The process of choosing the VP was completely different. It was just the person who ran for President and came in second. The votes he got were for him as President. He wasn't voted for in the secondary position.

The 12th amendment changed the system after the 1803 election made the flaws apparent.

So the VP status of Adams and Jefferson has little if any relevance to what might work today. Just look at George H.W. Bush and Nixon (and Van Buren). Van Buren and Bush I were continuing after a popular President (Jackson/Reagan). Nixon's win is kind of irrelevant because the other candidate was also a VP. It doesn't test the unwisdom of nominating a VP.

Ann Althouse said...

The main thing we see is the TEMPTATION to nominate a VP.

Don't fall for it!

Lyssa said...

Interesting. 1988 was the first election I was old enough to have any awareness of, and I think for a long time, that left me thinking VP was the natural stepping stone to president.

One thing we forget is that our nation has only had 45 presidents (heck, 44 actually), and it’s changed a heck of a lot as they’ve progressed. It’s really only the last 3 elections that happened in the current communications environment (I’m going to say that’s defined by social media and smartphones, but even that’s not the same as it was in 2008). And you can quibble about alll sorts of environmental conditions. We can guess about patterns, but we really don’t have the data to make any reliable predictions.

Fen said...

When LBJ won an election for President, he was President. So it was like all the many re-elections of Presidents, where the person who won was running FROM THE POSITION OF PRESIDENT. Everyone on the chart is depicted according to his HIGHEST position at the time when he ran. LBJ ran as a President, not as a VP.

So that doesn't count.

The text of the article is clear (and persuasive) about why that's left out for this presentation of the facts.

I'm not really sure what you are referring to, because the article is behind a PAYWALL and I can't read it. You'll understand if I don't take your word for it, Madame Speaker.

Convenient that. Is this how you plan to avoid another "battery capacity" disaster in the comments? By hiding the ball? Ha.

Yancey Ward said...

And Bush I was the VP running where "Morning in America" was still running strong after the stagflation of the late 70s. Even then, though, the Democrats might well have won had they not had Dukakis as a candidate.

Fen said...

The chart puts each person in their highest category. Biden is listed as having VP experience and his position as Senator is not mentioned.

That's dumb. If a candidate governed Texas for 8 years and served in the US Senate for 12, I would consider his executive experience in Texas to be more relevant that 12 years as a Senator.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Al Gore in 1988?

bagoh20 said...

The most important experience is running large organizations successfully, and doing that with different types of organizations would be even better. This recommends governors or businessmen. Business experience is much better becuase that requires getting things done efficiently with real metrics. A governor is usually more driven by the demands of reelection and political connections for higher office or personal gain afterward. You can do that successfully while doing little actual good for the public. CA's Jerry Brown for instance.

Kevin said...

The point is not that the graphic is accurate, it's that the readers of the NYT have a pretty picture of all the Democrat candidates to look at.

The hope is if they gaze long enough, they'll fall in love with at least one.

Hagar said...

Nobody is qualified to be the President of the United States. If "experience" is to be considered as a factor, it should be a record of having successfully coped with the unexpected; not just having a record of faithfully, but unremarkably, served in office.

Henry said...

For those who think the vice presidency is good experience for the presidency, whose presidency did you like?

Better than nothing is a high standard.

Start with the simpler question: Whose presidency did you like?

Hagar said...

Also, as the saying goes, beware of the man who applies for a position as a survey crew chief and claims 15 years of "experience." What he actually has is 6 months experience 30 times over.

Michael K said...

, I would consider his executive experience in Texas to be more relevant that 12 years as a Senator.

You are obviously not a Democrat.

Ann Althouse said...

"'The other recent VP nominees all lost — Al Gore in 1988, Mondale in 1984.' Al Gore lost in 2000. (Although he did run in 1988, and is the one who first used Willie Horton against Mike Dukakis.)"

Oops. Don't know how that got there. Fixed. Thanks.

James K said...

The George H.W. Bush win (against a governor) is really an outlier.

It was also an outlier in being a victory by someone in the same party as the outgoing President. The last time that happened was Hoover.

In both cases it's more a testimony to Reagan than to H.W.

narciso said...

nunes is like a young Nixon, albeit more gregarious:

https://dailycaller.com/2019/05/22/nunes-trump-theresa-may-steele/

Gospace said...

Howard said...

Experience requirement = age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States


And a natural born citizen- which liberals want to change.

Lyssa said...

... It’s really only the last 3 elections that happened in the current communications environment (I’m going to say that’s defined by social media and smartphones, but even that’s not the same as it was in 2008). And you can quibble about alll sorts of environmental conditions. We can guess about patterns, but we really don’t have the data to make any reliable predictions.


If you get your news from the MSM, you likely voted Democrat in 2016. If you get your news from talk radio and the internet- you likely voted Republican in 2016. IMHO, grassroots support amplified by Facebook, Twitter, and pro-Trump blogs got him elected. That and Hillary ran the most inept presidential campaign in U.S. history, along with being remarkably divisive.

This is why the liberal CEOs of social media platforms are doing their level best to deplatforn any conservative voices. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, whatever platform exists that purports to serve everyone, should be treated as common carriers and prohibited from censoring. If they see something unlawful, or they suspect is unlawful, the proper authorities can deal with it. But no one is forced to see any content. I have but one liberal Facebook friend left- the rest have defriended me. Every conservative I know who ever posts political things has been defriended. Not one conservative I know has ever defriended anyone over politics.