Tag: James Garfield

In the 2008 Election, An Historic Overlooked First

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Every student of American History knows that only two serving United States Senators (Warren G. Harding in 1920 and John F. Kennedy in 1960) have ever been elected directly to the Office of President of the United States.  Add James Garfield in 1880 as the only serving member from the United States House of Representatives and that’s all the serving legislators ever who have gone directly from the national legislature to the White House since 1789.

Barring a major and unexpected surprise, another first will occur in presidential politics in November 2008: for the very first time in our political history, nominees of both major political parties will be serving United States Senators.  Mitt Romney’s withdrawal from the Republican race today also ensures a first in American politics since the 1960 Election: it’s a near certainty that a serving United States Senator will be elected President.

In the intervening forty eight years since JFK’s election, dozens of serving Members of Congress had tried, with most of them failing miserably.  In fact, only four even became their party’s nominee — Goldwater ’64, McGovern ’72, Dole ’96, and Kerry ’04 — only to lose in the general election.

Is this historic first an utter coincidence?