Monday, February 22, 2016

2016 Presidential Facts & Trivia

If it's been said once, it's been said a thousand times, but this has been a primary season without precedence.  Donald Trump's meteoric rise, alongside that of Bernie Sanders, is something I've never seen in my several decades of watching politics, and it's something to take note of as we continue on toward the rest of the campaign season.  However, it's worth noting that there are potentially a number of firsts or distinctions amongst the current candidates that it's worth looking into, and so I collected a list of thirty of them below.  Some of these have been wildly covered, some of them not so much, but all of them are worth taking note of in terms of the historical nature of this presidency.

1. Were she to be elected, Hillary Clinton would be both the first female nominee to be nominated as a presidential candidate by a major party, as well as the first woman to be elected president.
2. Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio would be the first Latino to be elected or nominated by a major party to be president.
3. Bernie Sanders would be the first Jewish person to be nominated for president by a major party.
4. Donald Trump or Bernie Sanders would be the oldest person ever to take the Oath of Office for the first time, both being in their 70's.
5. Were he elected, Bernie Sanders would be the first (and surely the only) member of the Silent Generation to be elected to the White House.
6. Donald Trump would be the second Republican (after Wendell Wilkie) to win the nomination without having previously served in public office or hold a high-military position.  Were he to win, he would be the first person ever to do so without achieving either of these distinctions.
7. Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders, or John Kasich would be the second divorced person to serve as president (after Ronald Reagan).  Like Reagan, Trump's first wife was also an actress (Jane Wyman for Reagan, Marla Maples for Trump).
8. Hillary Clinton would be the first former occupant of the White House to serve as president (George W. Bush and John Quincy Adams didn't live with their fathers when they were president).
9. Presuming that Jeb Bush is not selected to be on the Republican ticket, and the GOP wins, this will be the first time since 1928 that the Republicans took the White House without a Bush or Nixon on the ballot.
10. Were Clinton or Sanders to win, they would be the first Democrats to succeed another Democrat to the White House without doing so through the president dying in office since Martin van Buren in 1836.
11. Like their two potential predecessors, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz were all born in places different from where they served in Congress.
12. Ted Cruz would become the first president to be born in another country.  If the United States under British rule is considered another country, he would be the first president since William Henry Harrison to have been born in a foreign country.
13. Ted Cruz is the third president born after 1776 to enjoy dual citizenship at some point in his life.  Chester A. Arthur and Barack Obama were technically dual citizens through their fathers to the United Kingdom and Kenya, respectively.
14. Marco Rubio would be the first president born in Florida.
15. This is a weird one, but provided that the next vice president is not George HW Bush or Jimmy Carter, that he or she never becomes president, and that the same can be said for Dan Quayle, Al Gore, Dick Cheney, and Joe Biden, this will be only the second time in US history that five consecutive vice presidents never became president (the first would be the run between 1801-1833 if you're confused about what I mean).
16. Hillary Clinton would be the second president to have a different last name when sworn in than at birth.  The first was her husband Bill Clinton, who was born William Jefferson Blythe, Jr.
17. Were he elected, Ted Cruz would be the fourth president to go by his middle name rather than his first name (Sen. Cruz's full name is Rafael Edward Cruz, something I didn't know either).  The presidents who went by their middle names are Calvin Coolidge (first name John), Grover Cleveland (first name Stephen), and Woodrow Wilson (first name Thomas).
18. Marco Rubio would be the fourth president whose middle name starts with a vowel (his middle name is Antonio).  The others are Jimmy Carter (Earl), Chester Arthur (Alan), and James Garfield (Abram).  The same can technically be said for Ted Cruz.
19. Melania Trump would be the first foreign-born First Lady since Louisa Adams, who was born in London (Ms. Trump was born in Slovenia).
20. Several other theoretical first spouses would be firsts for their states.  Bill Clinton would be the first spouse born in Arkansas, Jeanette Rubio the first born in Florida, and Heidi Cruz the first born in California.
21. Bernie Sanders would be the first president since Dwight Eisenhower not to have a biological daughter.
22. Several schools would boast their first presidential graduates depending on November's victor.  They include University of Chicago (Sanders), The Ohio State University (Kasich), Wellesley (Clinton), University of Florida (Rubio), and University of Pennsylvania (Trump).
23. Bernie Sanders would continue a streak that goes back to George HW Bush of presidents who lost their first race for Congress. Sanders lost a bid for the Senate in 1972, while George HW Bush lost a bid for the Senate in 1964, Bill Clinton lost a bid for the House in 1974, George W. Bush lost a House bid in 1978, and Barack Obama lost a House bid in 2000.
24. Not counting state-by-state primaries, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are the only candidates who have never lost an election (not counting Donald Trump, who has never run before).  Hillary Clinton and John Kasich both are undefeated in their states, but have lost presidential primaries.  It's worth noting that the last president to end their career undefeated was John F. Kennedy.
25. Hillary Clinton would become the first former cabinet secretary since Herbert Hoover to be elected president (Hoover was Secretary of Commerce) and the first former Secretary of State to be president since James K. Polk.
26. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, or Bernie Sanders would become the fourth sitting US Senator to be elected to the presidency after Warren G. Harding, John F. Kennedy, and Barack Obama.
27. Marco Rubio or John Kasich would be the first Republican president since Calvin Coolidge to have also served in a state legislature.
28. John Kasich would be the first president to have served both as governor and in Congress since William McKinley.
29. John Kasich and Bernie Sanders are the only two candidates running currently who have defeated an incumbent to win elected office.  Sanders did it twice, first against Gordon Paquette (for mayor Burlington, Vermont) and then against Rep. Peter Smith to win a seat in the US House.  Kasich has done it three times, defeating State Sen. Robert O'Shaughnessy, Rep. Bob Shamansky, and Gov. Ted Strickland for their respective offices.
30. Bernie Sanders would be the first former mayor elected to the presidency since Calvin Coolidge, who briefly served as mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts.

Have any more?  Share them in the comments!

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