President Trump has already named his presidential campaign manager for 2020 in his bid to serve a full two terms. If he is successful, he will be the fourth consecutive president to do this, a record in American political history. So here’s a trivia question for you. How many of our 45 presidents have served two full, consecutive terms?
We know the last three accomplished this feat: Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. The only other time three consecutive presidents did this was awhile back: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.
We also know that three presidents were elected to a second consecutive term, but did not complete that term: Abraham Lincoln, William McKinley, and Richard Nixon.
And then there was the two-term president who did not serve two consecutive terms: Grover Cleveland.
So how many does that leave? Of our first 44 presidents, just 13 have completed two consecutive terms. That is 29.5 percent.
So here are your 13 two-term presidents who served at least eight consecutive years in office. (Franklin Roosevelt served into his fourth term.)
- George Washington (1789-1797)
- Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
- James Madison (1809-1817)
- James Monroe (1817-1825)
- Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
- Ulysses S. Grant (1869-1877)
- Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921)
- Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945)
- Dwight Eisenhower (1953-1961)
- Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)
- Bill Clinton (1993-2001)
- George W. Bush (2001-2009)
- Barack Obama (2009-2017)
It is often assumed an incumbent president has a big advantage in running for a second term. But history tells us that just 16 presidents (26 percent) are elected to a second term, and only 13 (29 percent) actually complete a second term.
Does any of this affect Trump’s chances in 2020? No, but it tells us that the next election will be unpredictable. But with Trump running again, we all probably knew that already.