Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Election Cycle Number 8

One thing people do every so often, is to look for trends. One fave trend has been to look at elections ending in 0, but this is not one of those years. I found it interesting to consider some of the odd Presidential elections in years ending in 8:

1988: Governor Mike Dukakis is lionized in the press for his supposed economic prowess, the “Massachusetts Miracle”. In the fall, however, he is effectively trounced by the relative lightweight, Vice-President G.H.W. Bush, the first Bush to surprise and annoy the Democrats.

1968: The ugliest election of the generation. Unpopular President Lyndon Johnson decides not to run again, but will not do much to support a candidate. Charismatic candidate Bobby Kennedy is assassinated, VP Hubert Humphrey wins the nomination but not much support, Governor Wallace leads the South in revolt and splits the Democrat vote, handing the White House, incredibly, to Richard Nixon.

1948: Unpopular President Harry Truman is written off early as hopeless, but makes a bold comeback and wins an improbable victory. However, he never gains his party’s full support, and he spends much of his time fighting to get anything done.

1928: Charismatic and popular Herbert Hoover doesn’t have to do much to win the White House. Two years later, as the Great Depression takes the country by the throat, it appears Hoover is still not doing much.

: Honoring a promise not to run for re-election, Popular Teddy Roosevelt hands the reins over to William Howard Taft, a man so inept that four years later, Republicans and Democrats alike are screaming for change.

What can we expect in 2008? Whatever we get, don’t plan on the predictable!

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