MODERN PRECEDENT FOR ONE-TERM PRESIDENTS
Before we get to what’s happening today, let’s look back at what Donald Trump’s predecessors have done in the modern era. In one sense, his situation is unique and there is no precedent because of the “irregularities” of our recent 2020 election. But I think it’s important to consider when ex-presidents started becoming very visible in their activities after leaving the White House.
THE PRACTICAL APPROACH
I am currently engaged in reading each and every one of the Federalist Papers in their entirety from the Library of Congress compilation. Just as the U.S. Constitution itself does, The Federalist Papers begin by focusing on the legislature rather than the executive. That was quite intentional.
“The Federalist, commonly referred to as the Federalist Papers, is a series of 85 essays written by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison between October 1787 and May 1788. The essays were published anonymously, under the pen name ‘Publius,’ in various New York state newspapers of the time.”
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“The Federalist Papers were written and published to urge New Yorkers to ratify the proposed United States Constitution, which was drafted in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. In lobbying for adoption of the Constitution over the existing Articles of Confederation, the essays explain particular provisions of the Constitution in detail. For this reason, and because Hamilton and Madison were each members of the Constitutional Convention, the Federalist Papers are often used today to help interpret the intentions of those drafting the Constitution.”
It does not appear that Hamilton, Madison and Jay anticipated the fanfare which 21st century presidents receive. They conceived of our national capital as far away and equally distant from the consciousness of the average American citizen. Information did not travel instantaneously then as it does now.
Save these thoughts and we will address them in a later article. Right now, let us turn our attention to the 15 presidents who have lived in the post-World War II era.
THE ESSENCE OF THE ISSUE
A lot of attention is currently focused upon how a man or woman can become President of the United States and what he or she is supposed to do while serving in that office. Nothing that I have seen ever, however, pays any attention to what an ex-president could or should do after leaving office.
Before we turn momentarily to our modern era, it is noteworthy that John Quincy Adams who served as our 6th president from 1825-1829, having been a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts from 1803–1808, returned to represent his home state in Congress in the House of Representatives from 1831–1848.
Then our 27th president, William Howard Taft, who served from 1909–1913, later became 10th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1921–1930. There is speculation that our 44th president, Barack Obama could potentially be nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court as well, but let’s don’t go there.
So now let’s look at those presidents who have been alive after 1945. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, our 32nd president, died in office in 1945 during his unprecedented fourth term in office and thus never became an ex-president.
HERBERT HOOVER, 31ST PRESIDENT, 1929-1933
For those who are not students of history or who were not living when Herbert Hoover passed away in 1964 at age 90, it may be surprising that he survived that long after serving as president from 1929–1933. He is not remembered for anything really noteworthy during his post-presidency lifetime.
HARRY TRUMAN, 33RD PRESIDENT, 1945-1953
After serving most of FDR’s fourth term and one of his own between 1945 and 1953, “Old Give ’em Hell Harry” lived until 1972. There’s really nothing significant to bring up about the final decades of his life after he left office as president.
DWIGHT EISENHOWER, 34TH PRESIDENT, 1953-1961
Ike’s distinctions were as the five-star general in command of Allied Forces during World War II and as president from 1953–1961. He passed away in 1969 just a few months before America put the first astronaut on the moon.
JOHN KENNEDY, 35TH PRESIDENT, 1961-1963
I sincerely hope even in this day and age that our children and grandchildren understand the tragic consequences of November 22, 1963. JFK was inaugurated in 1961 and less than three years later his life, as well as his presidency, ended in a moment of national horror.
LYNDON JOHNSON, 36TH PRESIDENT, 1963-1969
LBJ took the oath of office on Air Force One on the way back to Washington DC and the southern corruptocrat from Texas was instantly required to deal with both civil unrest at home and an unpopular war in Southeast Asia. He ran and defeated Barry Goldwater in 1964, but It has been reported that his doctors told him that if he were re-elected in 1968, he would not live until the end of his term which proved to be nearly correct as he passed away on January 22, 1973.
RICHARD NIXON, 37TH PRESIDENT, 1969-1974
After the Watergate scandal, Nixon resigned in humiliation. He did the renowned interviews with David Frost in 1977. He died in 1994.
GERALD FORD, 38TH PRESIDENT, 1974-1977
Though under different circumstances, like both Truman and LBJ, Jerry Ford also became president unexpectedly. The difference was that he was never elected VP but was appointed after Spiro Agnew resigned. After he lost his bid for re-election in 1976, he lived till 2006 rather unassumingly.
JIMMY CARTER, 39TH PRESIDENT, 1977-1981
I sincerely believe the man from Plains, Georgia is the watershed when modern presidents turn to activism after leaving office. Due largely to his ineptitude in the Iran hostage crisis, he lost the 1980 election. We never suspected when he hosted the leaders of Israel and Egypt in the Camp David Accords early in his presidency that he would become so anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian in his later years. At age 96, he is now the longest living president in history.
If the post-presidency impeachment of Donald Trump is to become a precedent, at least in theory, even Jimmy Carter could still be impeached. It won’t happen, but IF we believe Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, it wouldn’t be unconstitutional.
RONALD REAGAN, 40TH PRESIDENT, 1981-1989
Ronald Reagan will go down as one of our greatest presidents of all time for his showdown over the Soviet Union during his two terms of office, but, sadly after his speech at the 1992 Republican Convention, his wife Nancy quite wisely kept him out of the eye of the public due to his Alzheimer’s and let him spend his final years in privacy so as not to mar his outstanding legacy as president. He died in 2004.
GEORGE H.W. BUSH, 41ST PRESIDENT, 1989-1993
Other than as being a mentor and role model to his son who later became president, President Bush 41 and his sweet wife Barbara lived with dignity in Houston until he passed away in 2018.
BILL CLINTON, 42ND PRESIDENT, 1993-2001
Bill Clinton made a lot of money giving highly paid speeches after leaving office. While his marriage to Hillary appears to be more of a mutually beneficial formality than a reality, he has spent the last couple of decades trying unsuccessfully to get her elected president. He obviously wanted very badly to become First Dude and to Alley Cat around the White House again. His health at this juncture in time is not something which is openly discussed.
GEORGE W. BUSH, 43RD PRESIDENT, 2001-2009
What started with his probably well-intentioned, but most definitely erratic, response to the Islamic Terror attacks of 9/11/2001 went steadily downhill for the rest of his presidency. He has made a good decision to remain mostly quiet since he left office, interrupted by his animosity toward Donald Trump due to his Big Brother protectionism of Jeb. He appears to actually be a very good painter and would be well-advised to focus on that aspect of his talents at this point in time.
BARACK OBAMA, 44TH PRESIDENT, 2009-2017
This is a story that is yet to be written. Obama forthrightly had stated that he would be happy to sit in his sweats in his basement and speak into the earpiece of a surrogate to fulfill his third term as president. Now that is happening.
DONALD TRUMP, 45TH PRESIDENT, 2017-2021*
If any presidency ever deserved an asterisk, this is the one. More about that shortly.
JOE BIDEN, 46TH PRESIDENT, 2021*
Continuing with that asterisk, we now have a placeholder for our soon-coming 47th president Kamala Harris. It’s only a matter of time … not IF, but WHEN. I personally find no humor in watching Joe Biden stumble up the steps of Air Force One or speaking gibberish. This is indeed a sad day for our beloved country. There are basically three ways that Biden will end his presidency, probably this year. Death, resignation or the 25th Amendment. If I were to wager a guess, I would probably expect him to just resign.
KAMALA HARRIS, 47TH PRESIDENT, 2021*
William Henry Harrison was the 9th president of the United States who served for 1 month in 1841 before he passed away. Joe Biden has already surpassed that 31 day mark. John Tyler did a decent job taking over from William Henry Harrison, but I do not expect the same performance from Kamala Harris to succeed Joe Biden.
GROVER CLEVELAND, 22ND AND 24TH PRESIDENT, 1885-1889 AND 1893-1897
While Joe Biden is considered our 46th president, he is only the 45th incumbent in that office, because Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms and has two numerical sequences of his presidencies. So, yes, the 22nd Amendment which limits a president to two terms does not specify that they must be consecutive. That Amendment did not exist at the time of Grover Cleveland, but would not preclude Donald Trump from running again in 2024.
It isn’t really relevant to go back and look at how Grover Cleveland reclaimed the White House from Benjamin Harrison, our 23rd president who was the grandson of William Henry Harrison. The point is just that we are now at a crossroads where Donald Trump and the American public will have to reach a decision whether he should run against President Kamala Harris in 2024.
That’s why I thought it informative to consider what ex-presidents of the modern era have done after they left the highest office in the land. Neither Ford nor Carter nor Bush 41 ever tried to attain a non-consecutive second term.
DONALD TRUMP, 48TH PRESIDENT, 2025-*
This presumes multiple things. First I have no doubt that Kamala Harris will take the reins out of the feeble hands of Joe Biden and become our 47th president. It is also anticipated, though not yet confirmed, that Donald Trump will indeed run again.
There’s no need to dwell on what he is doing now from his base at Mar-A-Lago in South Florida as I’m sure everyone of you who support him and want him to regain the White House are following his every move and utterance very closely. He is reportedly in intense discussions right now about establishing his own social media platform to draw everyone away from Twitter and to ensure that he cannot be censored by High-Tech. That would be an excellent move for him to make.
KEEPING AN OPEN MIND
I realize it is a rather unpopular stance, but I personally felt that Donald Trump would have fared better in the recent election campaign if he had primary opponents and their debates were before the American public as were those of the Democrats. That’s why I believe it is not advantageous to unilaterally anoint Donald Trump as our candidate next time. He proved himself quite adept and capable at overcoming opposition in 2016 against rivals such as Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio among many others.
Once again, a focus on the issues rather than the personalities is a healthy situation. By running virtually unopposed, or without any really serious opposition, in 2020, Donald Trump became the total focus of the opposition in their blind hatred for him personally. Call it Trump Derangement Syndrome if you will. The conservative issues really had no way of getting into the national discussion.
I don’t really see that any of the Republican field from 2016 should realistically try again in 2024. Also, Mike Pence’s weak-spined performance in the recent, challenged election, as far as I’m concerned, totally rules him out of serious consideration. Nikki Haley is a bright lady but not sufficiently conservative.
You can proffer your own list of names. Without elucidation at this time, I would suggest Allen West or Josh Hawley.
REQUEST TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND FORMER TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS
If you didn’t give 100% to prevent this election from being stolen, you have forfeited any right to complain about what the Harris-Biden Administration is now doing. You didn’t speak when you needed to, so just forever hold your peace. In other words, just shut up!
WHAT WILL DONALD TRUMP DO?
There were options that he could have taken prior to January 20th that he never opted for. There is no scenario I can envision for the recent presidential election to be overturned at this late stage due to the total default of all three branches of government to totally adhere to the Constitutional process put in place by our Founders. So as we eagerly await the next news coming from President Trump, I will continue my study of the Federalist Papers regarding the original intent of the presidency. They were neither naïve about human nature nor of the course of human events.
THIS IS NEITHER 1788 NOR 1892
We are not a Madison or a Hamilton educating the people to get them to approve a new Constitution nor are we a a Cleveland trying to win back the presidency. We’re still a couple years away from the marathon political campaign that will begin to replace our soon-to-be 47th president Kamala Harris. I’m not a pessimist but I am a realist.
THE TRUMP CARD: INFORMED PATRIOTISM
My best advice with which I will leave you today is to be the intelligent and well-informed American public that the authors of the Federalist Papers as well as the architects of the Constitution presumed the citizens of the new nation to be. If we have lost that, we have lost everything.
It does no good to win a revolution or to establish a free country if we are incapable of maintaining it. Benjamin Franklin said that they had given us a Republic if we can keep it. Can we?
story and photo source: https://noqreport.com
2 thoughts on “Could Donald Trump serve two non-consecutive terms like Grover Cleveland?”
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Lol. He could serve more than that in my opinion. He is the only president in my lifetime who really cared about America and not their own pocketbooks.
He’s definitely getting my vote in 2024. Or, whoever he endorses!
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