Until recently, I was certain I understood presidential elections and what it took to win. My theory went something like this:

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1. Governors win presidential elections (Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush)

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2. Senators lose presidential elections (Bob Dole, John Kerry Walter Mondale)

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I was convinced that, to win in 2008, the Democrats must have a candidate with proven leadership skills; an executive of some sort. A Governor, preferably.? Maybe a General.? At the very least, a popular, big-city mayor.? But NOT another lousy Senator.

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Then I started analyzing the data- and I had to throw out all of my initial assumptions.

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Over the next few weeks, I will present my research in series of posts comparing the current batch of potential candidates against candidates of the past 100 years.? I will also analyze past election results and make predictions about the 2008 election.

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In this first post, however, I will simply present the current batch of potential presidential candidates and explain why each of them is unique- i.e. why analysis of, and predictions for, the 2008 race will be so difficult.

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Here we go?

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Hillary Clinton (D) ? Unique Characteristic: SEX
If the Democrats select this Senator from NY as their candidate in 2008, they will be the first major political party in the US to select a woman as their candidate for the presidency.

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Barack Obama (D) ? Unique Characteristic: RACE
This Illinois Senator’s father is from Africa.? While a number of African Americans have participated in Democratic primary elections, no African American candidate has ever been selected to represent a major political party in the Presidential Election.

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Rudy Giuliani (R) ? Unique Characteristic: POLITICAL EXPERIENCE
A large number of Presidential candidates- and many Presidents- once served at state governors.?? But no major political party has ever selected a Mayor to be their Presidential candidate.

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John McCain (R) ? Unique Characteristic: AGE
This Senator from AZ will turn 71 in 2008. ?The average age of a US President, at the time they assume office, is 55. ?Ronald Reagan, the current record holder, was only 69 when he was sworn in to office.

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Please feel free to?add comments as new candidates announce…?
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  • ohdave

    Don’t forget Richardson and Edwards.

    I’m not sure what Edwards’ unique characteristic would be. Southern? It gives him a definite edge over the others.

  • Richardson is easier- he is the only Hispanic Governor in the United States and would be the first hispanic candidate nominated by a major political party (unless you count the West Wing).

  • Edwards and Richardson are unique in another way: they both represent states that have, in the past 100 years, produced no major-party political candidates. (then again, so was Clinton)

    Home State is one of the variables I’m using- and here is a previw…

    The following table shows the number of winning and losing candidates nominated from that state by a major political party in elections from 1896 to 2004.

    State Wins Losses
    AR 2 0
    AZ 0 1
    CA 4 1
    GA 1 1
    IA 1 1
    IL 0 2
    IN 0 1
    KS 2 2
    MA 2 3
    MI 0 1
    MO 2 1
    NE 0 3
    NJ 2 0
    NY 5 5
    OH 3 2
    SD 0 1
    TN 0 1
    TX 4 1
    WV 0 1

  • It also seems pretty likely that Edwards is the only one with a bachelor’s degree in textile technology.

  • Pingback: Plunderbund - » McCain: too old?()

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