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Last Tuesday night, Donald Trump gathered his family, friends, and supporters in Florida, where he announced in front of the cameras that he will run for president again in 2024. In doing so, he automatically became the fifth former president in U.S. history to run again in non-consecutive terms. Who are the others?
“My fellow citizens, America’s comeback starts right now. In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States”, Trump assured to the cheers of the crowd gathered in the Sushine State.
For history and statistics buffs, the tycoon will join the aforementioned list, which includes Martin Van Buren, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover, in that order.
Van Buren, victory, defeat, and loss
The first in this very exclusive ranking first came to the White House in 1837, after spending four years as Andrew Jackson’s vice president. Van Buren shares some similarities with Trump, given that he was also a native of New York and had to go through an exceptional crisis, such as the “Panic of 1837”.
With notable attrition for a second term, he was defeated by William Henry Harrison. Four years later, the Democratic Party thwarted his nomination, so he had to wait until 1848 to run again.
Similar to another of the former presidents on the list, he decided to put together a third party, splitting the Democrats and thus causing his defeat at the hands of Zachary Taylor.
Grover Cleveland, the exception to the rule
The second former president on this list is Grover Cleveland, also a Democrat. His victory in 1884 was the first by a blue politician since 1856. Should he be successful, Trump’s path could be a carbon copy of Cleveland’s.
After failing in his re-election bid against Benjamin Harrison, he took revenge four years later and sent his rival home in 1892.
So far, we will have to wait until January 2025 to update this statistic. Cleveland is the only president in U.S. history to serve two non-consecutive terms.
“Teddy” regretted it four years later
After seven years in office, Roosevelt made what he then came to see as a mistake: he announced that he would not seek a third term. Said and done, he removed himself from the equation in 1909 and sponsored William Howard Taft, who would eventually make it to the Oval Office.
Relaxed and with his mind free of Washington D.C., the former president undertook a year-long trip to Africa. However, upon his return, he had the perception that Taft was running a far more conservative administration than his own, so he decided to put the brakes on it.
Despite winning by a landslide in the number of votes, the delegates caused a narrow defeat for Roosevelt. Very upset, he decided to run with a third party, split the Republican vote, and, ultimately, bring Woodrow Wilson to power.
Herbert Hoover, the last example (until Trump)
After a promising first few years, Hoover’s presidency “fell apart” after the Great Depression of 1929. This paved the way for a Democratic victory in the 1932 presidential election, something that had not happened since 1916.
With no intention of sitting on the sidelines, he tried to seek a rematch with Roosevelt in 1940 but was defeated in the primaries by Wendell Wilkie, an internationalist businessman. Indeed, this was the last serious attempt by a former president to return to power.
Make America Great Again, Again
With his sights set on 2024, former President Trump made the formal announcement last Tuesday night, November 15. He began his path to the election through a more “moderate” speech than previous ones, focused on the problems of the United States instead of the 2020 election.
He reminded people that he does not need to get into politics, but that he does it to stand up for citizens. With the trends against him, he will seek to defeat Joe Biden in 2024, follow in Cleveland’s footsteps and become the second former president in history to serve two non-consecutive terms.
Joaquín Núñez es hincha de Racing Club de Avellaneda y licenciado en comunicación periodística por la Universidad Católica Argentina. Se especializa en el escenario internacional y en la política norteamericana // Joaquín Núñez is a fan of Avellaneda's Racing Club and has a degree in journalistic communication from the Universidad Católica Argentina. He specializes in the international scene and American politics.