Thanks to a coincidence of spring break and Super Tuesday, I read more election news and analysis this week than any week in my life. Apolitical in most ways, I think that we are living in interesting times for only the third time in the last three decades. There was Tiananmen Square in the summer of 1989 and September 11 twelve years later. Now, this wild and bewildering campaign season. “What is going on, America?” asked my former dissertation advisor at the end of his Christmas letter. And it was only early January when he wrote it.
Anyway, here’s a short prediction. To paraphrase Chris Wallace, media analysts should stick to analyzing and not predictions after Super Tuesday. But I’m no analyst, only a student of history. Besides, my prediction isn’t about this election but the one four years from now.
Only twice in American history were three consecutive two-term presidencies. The first time was the Virginian dynasty of Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. The second time is still going on: Clinton, Bush, and Obama.
The chances for a fourth two-term presidency in a row aren’t bad. But I predict the chances are higher that it won’t happen. No matter who will be the next U.S. president – Hillary, Sanders, Trump, Cruz, Kasich, Rubio, heck, even Romney – he or she will be a one-term president.
The polarization of American politics may be one reason for this predicted outcome. The furious attempts at coalition from the losing side in 2016 may be another. There will be other reasons too. In any event, methinks the next presidency will be similar to that of John Quincy Adams, who won in 1824 only to lose four years later.
Call it a hunch and check back on November 3, 2020.