Two articles ago I noted that the 2016 race for the 45th presidency of the United States is extraordinary not only because of political novice Donald Trump's gravity defying triumph in winning big the GOP nomination, and Hillary Clinton being the first female nominee of any major political party, but because these two historic figures are from the same state. This has rarely occurred in US presidential politics. In fact, of the 57 prior presidential contests same state candidates only happened three times in 1860, 1920 and 1944.
Indeed, in 1860 former Republican Congressman Abe Lincoln of Illinois battled Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas for the 16th presidency. In 1920 Ohio Republican Senator Warren Harding fought Ohio Democratic Governor James Cox (FDR was his running mate) for the 29th presidency. And in 1944 New York Republican Governor Thomas Dewey challenged the 32nd president, New York's Franklin Roosevelt for the White House.
Now though Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump like Roosevelt and Dewey are New Yorkers this year's same state candidate race is more like the 1860 and 1920 races. For Clinton and Trump, like Lincoln, Douglas, Harding and Cox weren't incumbent presidents running for reelection. Whereas in 1944 FDR was the incumbent running to stay in office for an unprecedented fourth term. In fact, like Republican Donald Trump Lincoln and Harding were agents of change promising a new direction for the nation from the policies and unpopular presidencies of Democrats James Buchanan and Woodrow Wilson.
Indeed, Lincoln ran and won on the Republican platform of stopping the expansion of slavery (which he achieved as president and much, much more); and Harding ran and won on the platform of ending the depression that engulfed the nation after World War I and restoring a robustly growing jobs creating productive economy-which he achieved as President by slashing taxes, federal spending and crushing regulations. However, though Governor Dewey ran as the change candidate against FDR's New Deal, wanting (like Harding after World War I) to cut taxes, regulations and shrink the size of government, America was at war in Europe and the Pacific; and because a sick and ailing FDR was leading the nation to victory voters wanting to stay the course reelected him for the third time.
Indeed, this year's same state candidate race is more like 1920 than 1860 or 1944. Though in 1860 we were a terribly divided nation about to plunge into a Civil War over the issue of slavery, and there are growing racial divisions and tensions today with cops shooting blacks and visa versa; and though in 1944 we were in a world war like we are today but on a far smaller scale with Islamonazi enemies, the nation now as in 1920 is similar in that the central issue is jobs, economic growth and an overextended government. Though the economy isn't depressed as in 1920 it's clearly in a state of decline headed toward a crisis due to massive debt, runaway spending, high taxes and crushing anti-business regulations (the main reasons for the 1920 depression).
Moreover, 1920 is similar to 2016, and distinct from 1860 and 1944, in that like this election year the incumbent president Barack Obama (a former college professor) is in his second and last term; this too was the case with two term president Woodrow Wilson who, by the way, like Obama was a college professor. And one last similarity to the present race is that Donald Trump's running mate (Mike Pence) like Warren Harding's (Calvin Coolidge*) was the governor of a state.
*Cool Cal was governor of Massachusetts.
The big question then is this: will history repeat itself? Of the three past same state candidate races Republicans won the first two and lost the third. It's two to one in favor of Republicans; and of the three races the Republican year of 1920 is closer to 2016 than the other two. However, one thing is clear: the 45th President of the United States will be the 7th from the State of New York after FDR. And by an astonishing and perhaps meaningful or prophetic coincidence if number 7 is Donald Trump, when he's sworn into office on January 20, 2017 he will be exactly, precisely, amazingly 70 years, 7 months and 7 days old (see).