History Says Donald Trump May Have a Difficult Time in Race for White House – Don’t call it a comeback; I’ve been here for years, Donald Trump would say – and so would LL Cool J.
But that is precisely what he is trying to accomplish – running again after losing the White House in a comeback.
The former president is doing what five other presidents have also attempted. Martin Van Buren, Ulysses Grant, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover tried it again after losing a presidential election.
Can Donald Trump make it happen? History says it won’t be easy.
Grover Cleveland Is the One to Emulate
Only one of these candidates returned to the White House to be a double president, so Trump is bucking history.
Grover Cleveland achieved a winning 68 percent of the Democrat delegates in 1892. In 1880, Grant lost because the party delegates chose another candidate, and the three others also fell short in their quest for their party’s nomination.
Unite the Coalitions
Grover Cleveland re-won the presidency in 1894 – the only person ever achieving the White House two different times nonconsecutively. That is who Doanld Trump wants to follow. Like Cleveland, Trump would have to win over all the factions of the GOP to get the nod for the general and ultimately win again.
This means America Firsters and MAGA adherents, Conservative Christians, Moderates, Reagan Conservatives, Pro-business Republicans, Libertarians, and other groups would have to band together under one banner.
What If Donald Trump Goes Third Party?
Or Trump could start his own “America First” party and keep running after a Republican loss as Teddy Roosevelt did.
This would be difficult since he would have to get on the ballot nationwide with a new party late in the campaign. His supporters would perhaps stay home if Trump was denied the ballot in certain states leading to a sure Joe Biden win.
Cleveland Ran on Economic Issues
Cleveland’s comeback focused on economic policies – a strategy that Trump may want to copy.
Running on high inflation and the chance of a debilitating recession could be a recipe for success for the ex-president. Cleveland also wanted to support the gold standard and see higher gold prices. This is what the Libertarians and other Republicans clamor for in the present era. Just watch Fox News, and you can see gold-purchasing ads in almost all commercial breaks.
The Magic Number is 47 Percent
In the 1890s, nominees were picked by delegates at the party convention. Cleveland received two-thirds of the delegates but only won the general election with 46 percent of the vote. Trump also achieved just under 47 percent in 2020, with over 74 million votes in the general to Biden’s 81 million. Forty-seven percent is a number that Trump will have to eclipse if he is to defeat Biden.
Will Attracting MAGA Faithful Push Trump Over the Line?
One interesting aspect of Trump’s comeback is the number of Republicans who simply love Trump over everyone.
These MAGA adherents made up 39 percent of the GOP electorate in a poll conducted by The Economist and YouGov. These voters will hold fast to Trump’s “Über Alles” (above everything else) as the Germans say. But Trump will need the rest of the 45 percent who do not claim to be MAGA Republicans.
The MAGA World May Not Get Their First Choice
Would the non-MAGA types then support another candidate, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis or former Vice President Mike Pence?
Just Split the Vote and See Trump Win the Nomination
A large number of GOP candidates will likely emerge. This scenario could split up the vote and enable Trump to win states with a plurality of votes instead of a pure majority. He would thus still win precious delegates that would spell a win. He achieved this plurality in several states in 2016.
Why Donald Trump Could Be Done For
Trump may even hope that a big field emerges. He could remain in the lead in polls and see each of his opponents languish as they run out of money. This strategy assumes that Trump will outraise his competition with a war chest that allows him to go deep into the contest.
Therefore, Trump wants to be like Grover Cleveland – win the nomination based on issues that fire up the base and then eclipse that magic number of 46 or 47 percent to win enough electoral votes in the general. The problem is, Cleveland is the only president who has come back in this fashion. That should make Trump supporters anxious that history is not on their side. =
More: Is Donald Trump a ‘Cognitive Mess’?
More: Could Mike Pence Beat Donald Trump in 2024?
Author Expertise and Experience: Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.
February 4, 2023 at 1:41 am
Grover Cleveland was elected a second time in 1892, not 1894.
February 4, 2023 at 1:42 pm
February 4, 2023 at 2:50 pm
Grover Cleveland was no Donald Trump.
February 4, 2023 at 8:06 pm
If trump goes to jail, then Biden sure as H*** will. It will be open season on every ex president.
February 4, 2023 at 9:07 pm
Trump won’t go to jail; he has done nothing wrong! Keep dreaming snowflakes!
February 5, 2023 at 1:16 am
Biden won’t go to jail if Trump does! Trump has so many CONVICTIONS & Trump purposely took home boxes of Documents! Worst was he was asked to return them for many Months & didn’t! And to the man above who is proclaming Trump 2024……….KEEP DREAMING! Trump will lose Biggly & do jail time as well!
February 5, 2023 at 2:41 am
February 5, 2023 at 10:20 am
Absolutely horribly written and inaccurate!
February 5, 2023 at 12:18 pm
Ignorant and obviously a RINO or “faux conservative” Looking at his previous articles, he obviously hates Trump. The fact is, Biden didn’t get 81 million votes. There are mountains of evidence that were never brought into the discovery phase. Unless, this “technology” and “science” “journalist” don’t believe in science. The anomalies are millions to one. He would have to believe Biden got 14 million more votes than Obama. He also failed to mention that 1) Trump got more than any President ever, eclipsing Obama by 8 million. He also ignores that Trump has been proven correct time and time again. 1″ No Russian collusion. 2) The economy would falter under Biden. 3) Inflation would sky rocket. 4) Our enemies wouldn’t dare make a move while He was in office and under Biden Russia invaded Ukraine, the Ukraine embezzled billions, China’s invading our air space and building artificial islands.
February 5, 2023 at 7:16 pm
Neither one of them gives a dam about us if they did we would be in better shape but both of them lies joe doesn’t know what he’s doing and45 lost me when he wanted to enject people with bleach we need someone who cares about us not just lining their pockets and wait until they come after social security and Medicaid it won’t happen but for them to even thinking about it says everything we need to know
February 5, 2023 at 8:08 pm
He could never win… just like he did in 2016.
He could never win… just like he came extremely close to in 2020.
He could never win… as he will do in 2024.
February 5, 2023 at 8:55 pm
Identifying the singular parallel with Grover Cleveland and a second presidential win by Donald doesn’t lend any credence to all the further dumb mischaracterizations by this guy. The title is enough to show his real intentions without wasting time reading the article. This is what we can expect from MSN, which is a long-time serial Donald hater and a principal very fake news source as we all know.
February 6, 2023 at 8:50 pm
February 7, 2023 at 11:19 pm
Trump never deserved the first election. He is a known playground bully and does not play well with others. Notice the line of deceit. Sara Huccabees little speech wasn’t much better. she was always up trump’s backside. The fact that after the inssurection and all the other legal side affects, doesn’t surprise me.
February 8, 2023 at 5:36 pm
Y’all Go on and on and ON about political arguments, (Their distractions are winning)! What are You Gonna eat? Look in the mirror, and ask Yourself: How Am I Going to Survive! Google it!
February 8, 2023 at 8:14 pm
Playground bully…like it! This is my goto…
“If you don’t play my way then I’m gonna take my tinker toys and go home! Then I’m gonna tell all my friends not to play with you anymore, you, poopoo head!”
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That’s right! You got it!
May 3, 2023 at 4:23 pm
Trump is actually very similar in policy to both Grover Cleveland, and to Calvin Coolidge. I think if he is wise and teams up with a VP candidate (DeSantis?) as a running mate he’ll have at least a 50-50 shot of defeating Grandpa Badfinger and sending him back to his moneylaundering retirement.