Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Class at long last

My first surprise of the morning was Garry Trudeau's Doonesbury:
I know it's hard to believe there was once a time when a politician would put the country first ... But when Eisenhower urged Nixon to challenge the suspect election results in '60, he refused to put the nation through it. Nixon showed a lot of class ... Did I just say that?
Did I just read that?

At any rate, a few minutes ago, Kerry conceded. I recall Gore did that, too ... then took it back. But this time there are no "suspect election results". Bush becomes the 13th Republican to win a majority of the popular vote in a presidential election. Only 4 Democrats have ever done that against a Republican opponent: FDR, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, and Samuel Tilden (who never served as president).

This election has confirmed my own Rules of Presidential Elections:

1. Republican presidents who seek re-election tend to win re-election.
2. Republicans tend to win re-election by larger margins than they won in their first election. Not one has ever been re-elected by a narrower margin than they originally won. Republican presidents either improve with age, or they hit the bricks.
3. Democratic presidents are generally unlikely to serve two terms, and if they do, they are often re-elected by narrower margins than they originally won.

The Democrats are hard to evaluate in this manner because they have so many anomalies: FDR was not just the most politically successful Democratic president, he was more successful than all the rest of them put together. Then there's Cleveland, who won, lost, and then won again - scoring his highest percentage of the popular vote in the election that he lost.