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The last US president who failed to win

When sitting American presidents run for re-election, recent history shows they usually win. The three most recent presidents before Donald Trump – Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – were all successful in winning two elections and securing a second term.And now, many commentators are betting votes will go the same way for…

When sitting American presidents run for re-election, recent history shows they usually win.

The three most recent presidents before Donald Trump – Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton – were all successful in winning two elections and securing a second term.

And now, many commentators are betting votes will go the same way for Mr Trump once November rolls around.

Being the incumbent is clearly a distinct advantage. Unlike the opposition candidate, a sitting president already has a strong media profile after four years in the job and can point towards achievements they’ve made in key policy areas.

While their opponents require the public to imagine them in the role as leader, a sitting president can point to a full term of lived experience.

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Throughout the history of the United States, only 10 presidents who have sought immediate re-election for a second term have failed to win it.

GEORGE BUSH SR

The most recent president to have failed to win re-election was George H.W. Bush, who was defeated by Bill Clinton in 1992.

In a distinguished career before becoming president, he was head of the CIA, a congressman and ambassador.

During Mr Bush’s presidency, the US suffered a long recession that forced him to renege on a promise not to cut taxes.

That significant negative, combined with competition from a popular and charismatic rival in Mr Clinton, contributed to Mr Bush handing over the presidency.

GERALD FORD AND JIMMY CARTER

Gerald Ford not only failed to win re-election, he was never voted in as president or even vice president in his own right, but fell into both roles thanks to circumstances of the time.

In 1973, he stepped up to the role of vice president after the controversial Spiro Agnew resigned. Then in 1974, he became president when Richard Nixon resigned as a result of the Watergate scandal.

Mr Ford spent three years as president but was beaten by Jimmy Carter in the 1976 election. Mr Carter also became a one-term president, beaten by Ronald Reagan in 1980. Mr Reagan managed to end the single-term streak and went on to win a second election in a landslide.

OTHERS WHO WEREN’T RE-ELECTED

John Adams, the second president of the United States, was unsuccessful in being elected to a second term, defeated by Thomas Jefferson at the 1800 election.

Other presidents who also failed to win a second term in the 1800s were John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren and Benjamin Harrison. Grover Cleveland didn’t win a second term at the 1888 election but was elected again four years later.

In the 1900s, William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover both failed to win second terms.

This November, Mr Trump will be seeking to remain the 45th president of the United States, instead of becoming the 11th not to earn a second run.

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