Every presidential election cycle, there is always a prolonged discussion about which candidate will be the next president of the United States of America.
Typically, governors and senators have run for the highest elected office of the land. But it does not prevent congressional representatives or outside candidates from running for the White House. When Donald Trump won in 2016, it sent shockwaves throughout the political establishments on the Right and the Left.
Ever since the election of Donald Trump, a political outsider candidate who made his wealth in real estate, people questioned whether the best future presidents come from established political backgrounds.
But what does America’s history tell us?
Overall, only 1 congressman have gone directly from Congress to president. Meanwhile, 17 senators have become president and an equal number have served as presidents.
However, only 1 non-political or non-military candidate became president— Donald Trump.
The last congressman elected president was James Garfield in 1881, who was assassinated while in office. The most recent governor-to-president candidate was former Texas Gov. George W Bush, who won in a hotly contested 2000 election against former vice president Al Gore. Before Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter were governors of their respective states of California and Georgia. The most recent Senator to become President, other than Biden, was Barack Obama in 2008, but he was the first senator elected president since Richard Nixon in 1969.
With 2024’s presidential elections around the corner, in addition to the plethora of rumors about Biden’s allegedly fragile health, the country is debating what type of candidate it prefers in a president. Considering the Biden administration’s multiple failures within its first two years, such as the Afghanistan withdrawal debacle or out-of-control inflation not seen since the 1980’s, it is a good question to ask.
According to America’s history, someone who wants to be president will have a higher than equal chance of becoming one after serving in the Senate or as a governor compared to running as a political outsider or a congressional representative.