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Thu Feb 25, 2021, 06:08 AM

Joe Biden is a Member of a Surprisingly Small Club in American Politics

Last edited Thu Feb 25, 2021, 08:32 AM - Edit history (3)

Joe Biden is a member of a very small club in politics that might surprise you; he is one of only six vice-presidents who have ever been elected to the presidency without a death or resignation making them president first.

While 15 vice-presidents have become president, only Adams, Jefferson, Van Buren, Nixon, Bush and Biden served presidents that survived their terms in office. All the others, the president died, was assassinated or resigned, and then they took office.

And of that group of 6, Bush was the last to follow right after the president he served under and then you have to go back to Van Buren for the previous veep to get elected to the presidency w/o a death or resignation of the president.

Other tidbits of trivia, 5 failed to get elected president on their own: Fillmore lost the 1856 election running on the Know-Nothing Party, Tyler formed his own party and lost, Andrew Johnson didn't run, Arthur dropped out when it became evident he wouldn't get the Republican nomination, Ford lost in 1976.
Fillmore was the last president who was neither a Democrat, nor a Republican
Jefferson is the only vice-President to run against the President he served under and won

For the record, the 16:

**John Adams: Vice-President to Washington. President after Washington left office

**Thomas Jefferson: Vice president to John Adams. Defeated Adams in the 1800 election

**Martin Van Buren: Served as vice president to Andrew Jackson during his second term, then was elected president

-John Tyler: President after William Henry Harrison died after just 31 days in office

-Millard Fillmore: President after Zachary Taylor died.

-Andrew Johnson: Vice president to Abraham Lincoln, he became president after Lincoln's assassination in 1865

-Chester Arthur: President after Garfield was assassinated after seven months in office

Theodore Roosevelt: President after William McKinley's assassination, then was elected to full term

Calvin Coolidge: President after Harding's death, then was elected to full term

Harry Truman: Vice president to Franklin D. Roosevelt; became president after Roosevelt's death in 1945, then was elected to full term

Lyndon Johnson: Vice president to John F. Kennedy, assumed the presidency following Kennedy's assassination in 1963, then was elected to full term

*Richard Nixon: Two terms as vice president to Dwight Eisenhower. Following presidencies of Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, was elected twice to presidency

-Gerald Ford: Appointed vice president by Richard Nixon after resignation of Spiro Agnew; became president after Nixon resigned. Ford is the only person to serve as vice president and president without being elected

**George H.W. Bush: Vice-president under Reagan. Won the 1988 election

*Joe Biden: Vice-President under Obama. Elected 4 years later in 2020

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Arrow 16 replies Author Time Post
Reply Joe Biden is a Member of a Surprisingly Small Club in American Politics (Original post)
rpannier Feb 2021 OP
Princess Turandot Feb 2021 #1
rpannier Feb 2021 #10
DFW Feb 2021 #2
Freddie Feb 2021 #5
rpannier Feb 2021 #12
Sanity Claws Feb 2021 #3
PAMod Feb 2021 #4
Sanity Claws Feb 2021 #6
PAMod Feb 2021 #8
wnylib Feb 2021 #7
rpannier Feb 2021 #13
NNadir Feb 2021 #9
rpannier Feb 2021 #11
Midwestern Democrat Feb 2021 #14
rpannier Feb 2021 #15
WinstonSmith4740 Feb 2021 #16

Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 06:39 AM

1. Typo: Chester Arthur..

succeeded Garfield, not WHH.

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Response to Princess Turandot (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 08:27 AM

10. Thank you

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 06:51 AM

2. I'd check the Millard Fillmore data

W.H. Harrison did indeed die after 1 month in office, and Tyler did indeed succeed him.

However--Harrison was not raised from the dead to die again after 1 year in office.

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Response to DFW (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 07:17 AM

5. Fillmore took office when Zachary Taylor died

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Response to DFW (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 08:32 AM

12. Thank you

Sometimes cut-and-paste is your enemy

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 06:55 AM

3. 16/46

Over one-third of our presidents first served as vice-presidents.
6/46 of presidents were vice-presidents who were elected on their own after their presidents had served full terms. That is 13% of all presidents.
Being vice-president seems to be the best route to take, if one wants to be president.

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Response to Sanity Claws (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 07:09 AM

4. Making the jump from Governor works well, too.

Off the top of my head, Bush 2, Clinton, Reagan, Carter, Roosevelt 2, Wilson, McKinley, Cleveland.

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Response to PAMod (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 07:27 AM

6. But there are many governors

Right now, there are 50 governors. When a governor makes it as president, then had to come out of a pack of 50 to get there. There is only one vice president. That was the point I was trying to make. Becoming vice president is the best route to becoming president.

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Response to Sanity Claws (Reply #6)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 07:56 AM

8. Understood, thanks.

I'm not an actuary, but the fact that only 16 out of 49 VPs became president make it seem like fairly long odds, which I suppose is the point of the original post.

But I get your point about there having been hundreds, if not thousands of Governors.

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Response to Sanity Claws (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 07:30 AM

7. Consider it an apprenticeship.

Hope it bodes well for VP Harris. She can add another first to her accomplishments.

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Response to Sanity Claws (Reply #3)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 08:36 AM

13. Here's a thought. Maybe you can help

I can only think of two vice-presidents who beat a sitting president: Jefferson and Biden
Can you think of anyone else?

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 08:12 AM

9. Arthur succeeded James Garfield not W. H. Harrison.

Harrison #1 died from pneumonia after giving a very long inaugural address in a cold rain.

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Response to NNadir (Reply #9)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 08:30 AM

11. Thank you

In my defense (not a good one) I cut and pasted that

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 09:01 AM

14. Until Nixon, Vice President was not a position that most men of stature and presidential ambitions

really wanted. Adams - the first Vice President - quickly realized the position had no power or consequence and everyone else realized it too. Secretary of State used to be a much more sought after position and a much bigger springboard to the presidency. Jefferson did not actually run for Vice President - he ran against Adams for President in 1796 - initially, the Vice President was the person who received the second most electoral votes - this should have been Adams's running mate, but Adams heard rumors that Alexander Hamilton was trying to persuade Federalist electors to withhold votes from Adams to make his running mate president, so Adams loyalists responded by withholding enough electoral votes from the running mate that Jefferson wound up getting the second most electoral votes. Van Buren is also a special case - he was Jackson's heir apparent and was not his first term Vice President but was made Vice President for the second term after things went really south between Jackson and John C. Calhoun. But other than Adams (who probably would not have taken it had he known what the job really was), Jefferson (who became VP accidentally), and Van Buren - the men who were nominated for Vice President before Nixon were not really the leading figures of their parties.

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Response to Midwestern Democrat (Reply #14)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 09:13 AM

15. That is all true

My point is, people would likely be surprised that only six former/sitting vice-presidents ever got elected after the president left office. Most would likely guess that number was much higher

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Response to rpannier (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 09:15 AM

16. Excellent trivia!

But what about Gore? Of course again, a Democrat got more popular votes only to be undone by the Electoral College.

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