Blogs > Ronald L. Feinman > Since 1960, Democrats Have Had Success when the VP is a Senator and a former Presidential Contender

Aug 16, 2020

Since 1960, Democrats Have Had Success when the VP is a Senator and a former Presidential Contender

tags: elections,presidential history,Democratic Part

Ronald L. Feinman is the author of Assassinations, Threats, and the American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson to Barack Obama (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, 2015).  A paperback edition is now available.

Since the 1960 election, we have seen five Democratic presidential candidates who went on to win the White House, and each time they chose a running mate who had been a presidential contender.

Also, each Vice President went on to contend as the nominee of the party for President after having served as Vice President, and in each case, they had served in the US Senate.

In 1960, John F. Kennedy had Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate, who had contended against Kennedy, and Johnson went on to win a full term as President in 1964, after having succeeded the assassinated Kennedy in November 1963.

Lyndon B. Johnson had Hubert Humphrey as his running mate in 1964, with Humphrey having competed in 1960 against both Kennedy and Johnson for the Presidential nomination.

Humphrey went on to be the Democratic Presidential nominee in the 1968 election, but losing to Richard Nixon, and George Wallace winning five states in the Electoral College, as the most serious third party contender since Theodore Roosevelt in 1912.

Jimmy Carter chose Walter Mondale, who had briefly been a candidate for President in the 1976 cycle, as his running mate, and Mondale went on to a very engaged Vice Presidency, and was the Democratic nominee for President in 1984.

Bill Clinton chose former Presidential contender Al Gore, who had been a serious candidate in the 1988 cycle, to be his Vice President in 1992, and Gore went on to serve two terms as very active and involved in many Clinton initiatives.  Gore then was the Democratic Presidential nominee in 2000, won the popular vote by 540,000 votes, but lost the Electoral College to George W. Bush.

Finally, Barack Obama chose Joe Biden, who had contended for President in both 1988 and 2008 as his running mate in 2008, and Biden went on to two very involved and engaged terms and impact on the Obama Presidency.

And now, Joe Biden is the 2020 Presidential nominee, and has chosen Kamala Harris, who contended against him in the 2020 primary campaign as his running mate.

Will history repeat itself for a sixth time in 60 years?  We shall see in November 2020!

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