November 12th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
5 years ago

History working against a 2012 Palin run for the White House

If Sarah Palin runs for the White House in 2012, history suggests her chances of success are not good.
If Sarah Palin runs for the White House in 2012, history suggests her chances of success are not good.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – If Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin decides to run for the White House in 2012, she'll be bucking history.

Just eight days after Senator John McCain and Palin lost the election to Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden, speculation is swirling around a possible Palin run for the top spot in four years.

But a look back at recent history shows that the track record of vice presidential running mates on the losing ticket who ran for their party's presidential nomination in the next election cycle is not a promising one.

Four years ago, John Edwards was in much the same situation Palin finds herself in right now. Edwards was John Kerry's running mate on the losing ticket in 2004, and officially launched his presidential bid in this campaign in December of 2006 — only to come in second in the Iowa caucuses this January, followed by a third place finish the following week in the New Hampshire primary. The former North Carolina senator withdrew from the race for the White House on January 30.

Go back another four years and it's a similar story. Sen. Joe Lieberman was Al Gore's running mate on the losing ticket in 2000. Lieberman launched his own bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination, but dropped out on February 3 of that year after losing six straight primaries.

Vice President Dan Quayle and his boss, President George H.W. Bush, went down to defeat in the 1992 election. Quayle raised money and considered runs in 1996 and 2000, though he ultimately never ran in any primaries or caucuses.

Vice President Walter Mondale and his boss, President Jimmy Carter, lost the 1980 election. Mondale ran for the White House in 1984, winning the Democratic presidential nomination, before losing the general election in a landslide to President Ronald Reagan.

Sen. Bob Dole was the vice presidential nominee on the losing Republican ticket in 1976. Dole briefly ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1980, which Ronald Reagan won, and made a more serious effort in 1988, before losing to Vice President George H.W. Bush. Dole eventually won the GOP nomination in 1996, before losing the general election to President Bill Clinton.

If that's not enough, both 1972 Democratic vice presidential nominee Sargent Shriver and 1968 VP nominee Ed Muskie ran for the top spot in their party four years later. Each lost their nomination battle.

"Since the early 1800's, only one losing vice presidential candidates has ever won their party's nomination four years later - and that person, Walter Mondale, had already served as vice president for four years, giving him an institutional advantage that Palin would lack in 2012 ," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

Holland adds that Palin has many advantages that guys like Sargent Shriver and Joe Lieberman lacked: a potential fan base in the millions, the star power that she brought to the McCain ticket, and her gender — now considered a major advantage. Still, “being on the losing ticket has not traditionally been a good place to start from if you want to win your party's nomination four years down the road," adds Holland.

There is one bright spot for Palin when it comes to political history, though it suggests she may want to wait more than four years to run for the White House.

Franklin Roosevelt was the unsuccessful Democratic vice-presidential candidate in 1920, won the governorship of New York eight years later, and used that as a springboard to the White House in 1932. FDR remains the only losing vice presidential candidate in history to eventually become president.


Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (100 Responses)
  1. no fear

    in this case, one would hope history to repeat itself.

    November 12, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Obama 2nd Term

    For us Democrats, I hope Palin is the Republican nominee in 2012. This means that Obama would get a second term.

    November 12, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Red, Red WHINE!!

    It's not history, I think the headline should be more like:

    Intelligent Voters working against a 2012 Palin run for the White House

    November 12, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. No Hillary = No Obama

    No woman should consider running for President or Vice President bcause they will endure the same fate as Hillary Clinton. The male controlled media conglomerates will feel it is their privilege to trash and bash through sexist characterizations with no consequence. Men will not allow women to run this country and woman and men need to get out of denial about this fact. Until this is viewed as a civil rights issue the same way racial strife and denied rights have been viewed, woman will be the subject of degradation without protections. I just want to remind people of what Chris Matthews said about Hillary Clinton during the primaries: "a she devil, witchy, cold eyes, cold look". Now, can you imagine Mr. Matthews characterizing Obama as a "he devil, evil, cold eyes, cold look"? And that is just one of a multitude of disparaging sexist characterizations that Hillary Clinton endured. I am disgusted.

    November 12, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Bill

    2012 Palin for president.

    November 12, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Jeremiah

    There is No history to go against her.

    She is a woman.
    No woman has ever done that before.
    She is a Hockey Mom.
    No Hockey Mom Has ever done that before.

    Go Barracuda GO !!!!!!!!!

    November 12, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. tom from NC

    This is more along the "cute" kind of observation, but in 1960, John Kennedy declared he was glad he hadn't been the 1956 Democratic Vice Presidential candidate. . . . In 1956, there had been a long hard fight on who would get the nomination to be Adlai Stevensen's running mate. It was decided by ballot at the convention, and JFK almost won. Instead it went to a man named Kefauver, and no one heard much from him after the Democrats lost in the general election. . . . So in 1960, JFK joked that he had the convention voters to thank for not ending his political career in 1956 by naming him veep on a losing ticket.

    November 12, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. gary, detroit

    Will this dingbat please just stay in Alaska ?

    November 12, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. Simmy

    Only another mavericky moron would take her seriously, but then, millions of them already voted for her – go figure.

    More shocking was Sherri from 'The View', who told President-Elect Obama to his face that she would campaign for him, and then ended up as an 'undecided' up until the day of the election becauses of Palin. My view of her has changed to negative.

    November 12, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Observer

    I just can't see her as a viable 2012 candidate. Although she may be attractive to the conservative base, I don't think her views are enough toward the center to attract many moderates. The GOP is going to have to make their tent bigger to attract more voters, and I don't think they'll be enthusiastic about Mrs. Palin. Also, many conservatives were against her being named a VP choice, due to her lack of knowledge on the issues. This gives her a compound disadvantage. Just can't see it....unless she reinvents herself.

    November 12, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Red, Red WHINE!!

    I don't think it's History that is against her. I would change the headline to read:

    Intelligent Voters working against a 2012 Palin run for the White House

    November 12, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. Noah

    History is clearly overrated. History told us we could never have a black President. How'd that work out...

    November 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Peter (CA)

    For those who are wondering why the news is still covering her, it's because the news is no longer information, it's enertainment. And apparently Sarah is the news' answer to Britney and Angelina.

    To the rabid right wingers....we do not hate women. Many of us supported Hillary. We would love to see an intelligent, accomplished woman become President. Sorry, Sarah ain't the one. Her lack of intellectual curiosity and knowledge should be an insult to all accomplished women.

    No, Sarah, does not scare us. We would be more than happy to see an Obama-Palin match in 2012.
    If, however, you have any delusion about winning, you need to look at Bobby Jindal.

    November 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  14. Nebraskan

    Palin would NEVER make it past a primary....the GOP would absolutely tear her apart.

    November 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. Gary

    History dosen't have anything to do with it, She'll loose because she
    is so full of hate and lies. She should be tried for abuse of power, and with any luck, what she'll be doing in 4 years is 4 years.
    In the words of Clint Eastwood, " She is a legend in her own mind."
    Even those " Bandwagon Republians" should be able to figure it out in 4 years.

    November 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    You can't compare John Edwards to Sarah Palin. John Edwards never shot a moose!

    November 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. M in DC

    There is no way that someone as clueless as this woman will be ready to lead this country in four years.

    November 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Cynthia; Bham

    Maybe by 2016 she will have learned enough to make an informed run for the Presidency.

    November 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Sally

    For someone who is So Christian, she sure did spew out a lot of lies and negativity.

    Palin, people don't forget these things.
    If you were nothing but positive and hopeful, things would look a lot better for you.

    I for one do not want my daughters to look up to you. I tell my daughters to not be like you.

    November 12, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  20. TyWebb

    You betcha she won't be the nominee in 2012!

    November 12, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  21. Annabelle

    So, Obama bucked history, and look how he turned out! Plus, I would think it would be hard for any Republican candidate to win in 2012, as long as Obama's current popularity keeps up over the next four years.

    November 12, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  22. BS not Maverick

    Talk about beating a dead moose, Do you not have anything else to report?

    November 12, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. Stu S

    Based on Governor Palin's performance in her recent daily interviews she simply doesn't stand a chance with any one other that that unflinching 27% of "Christian" Right Republican loyalist who think George Bush is doing a good job and that she is qualified to be President. In her 9 and counting interviews thus far she has done nothing but rehashed old animosities and responded to her critics with another round of insults. Everything is personal. She can't cut it. She's worse than worthless as a national candidate.

    November 12, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. Dexter Skagway

    I am all for the Sarah Palin – Paris Hilton dream ticket in 2012! Their slogan: "World domination and BFF!"

    November 12, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  25. Diane

    Thank goodness, there is precident that this woman will fade back into the woods of Alaska!! It can't happen too soon. As a woman, mother, & business owner I find her offensive on many levels, but mostly for her opportunistic use of racism and hatred to further her own ambitions.

    November 12, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
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