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Presidential trivia

It is said that a sitting President running in an election is really subjecting himself to a referendum on his Presidency. In other words, the election is largely his to lose. And 20th century history shows that the sitting President rarely loses that election.

But it has happened.

And here's the interesting thing: if it happens that the sitting President loses that election, it is almost always to a man who is himself elected to at least two terms.

This is interesting because it says that we almost always replace a sitting President with someone that we like so much that we elect him again.

Almost always.

So here's the Presidential trivia quiz question of the day:

Only one sitting President in the 20th century was defeated by a candidate who did NOT win re-election himself. Name either the sitting President or the man who defeated him (and who failed to win re-election).

Gerald Ford, alone, was the anomaly: he was a sitting President who lost the election to a man (Jimmy Carter) who only served one term.

For the record, and strictly speaking, the incumbent presidents who ran for re-election were: Taft, Wilson, Hoover, Roosevelt (3x), Eisenhower, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton.

Taft lost to Wilson (re-elected), Hoover lost to Roosevelt (re-elected 3x), Carter lost to Reagan (re-elected), Bush 41 lost to Clinton (re-elected).

Strictly speaking, Teddy Roosevelt did not run for "re-election," nor did Harry Truman, LBJ and Jerry Ford; they all took over by being the sitting VPOTUS. As such, they were sitting presidents running for election, not re-election.

Nonetheless, three out of four of them won election in their own right. Only Ford lost. And that was to a man (Carter) who was not re-elected.


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