Why a Loss for Hillary in 2016 Means a Win in 2020

Gov. Martin O'Malley supports Sen. Hillary Clinton during a campaign event in 2007. Source: Politico
Gov. Martin O’Malley supports Sen. Hillary Clinton during a campaign event in 2007. Source: Politico

Hillary Clinton will not win the Presidency come November 8th. When one leaves partisan backing and brinkmanship at the door it is clear that, due to a hundred years of political examples and an election cycle as old as the two party system, the writing is on the wall and the writing is red. For better or worse a Republican will be sitting in the oval office in 2016.

The study of politics is a science. Dr. Michael Barone is a major figure in the field as an alumnus of Yale Law School and the current Senior Political Analyst for The Washington Examiner. He coined the century old process at work in presidential election patterns as “the winger’s second term revolt.” Dr. Barone explains the pattern like so: “[a] president comes into office. He and his party are united on a platform. They have some legislative achievements. They are somewhat successful and get some support from the other party. The president is re-elected.” This is true of every election cycle spare four, since the two party system’s birth in 1828; a striking thirty-five out of the last thirty-nine Presidents were re-elected for a second term. The only four times this did not occur was either due to impeachment, splinter parties, or assassination. Dr. Barone continues to state “then [there is] the second term, there’s a lot of discontent. The left wingers in the Democratic Party and right wingers in the Republican Party have some disagreements about some of the compromises their party and presidents have made and the roads they have not taken or reforms that have not gone far enough to satisfy people in particular ways and the president’s popularity starts to drop and you get some sort of revolt that has ramifications…the other party gets the presidency.” Is this merely one political expert’s opinion? Hardly the case, more than common sense, hard logic, and mountains of evidence support Dr. Barone’s statements but also numerous respectable colleagues.

If this political scheme of things is so clear, why does it seem as if the Democrats are proceeding to run Hillary Clinton anyways if she is “destined” to lose in 2016? Well, other than the fact that her approval ratings from within the Democratic Party are through the roof for nomination, she has the ability to turn the cycle in the Democrat’s direction. Hillary offers the cure to the very same problem that lost the Democrats the House in 2010 and has kept them from a House victory in the 2014 midterms. This cause is often cited as gerrymandering; the redrawing of district lines by an incumbent for political advantage. However, political scientists Jowei Chen, of the University of Michigan, and Jonathan Rodden, of Stanford University, in their Quarterly Journal of Political Science article “Political Geography and Electoral Bias in Legislatures”; estimate that Gerrymandering costs Democrats a mere six to eight seats in the House. Mr. Chen added also that “by far the most important factor contributing to the Republican advantage is the natural geographic factor of Democrats’ being overwhelmingly concentrated in these urban districts, especially in states like Michigan and Florida.”

In reality it seems that instead of Gerrymandering the real cause of the Democrats fall from a majority in the House was due to President Obama’s campaign strategy in 2008 and 2012. The New York Times writer Nate Cohn, author of the article “Why the Democrats Can’t Win the House,” wrote that because President Obama “campaigned on social issues, like gay rights and funding for contraception, [something] that past Democratic candidates would have tiptoed around for fear of alienating more conservative rural voters,” his strategy resulted in the diminishment of rural southern Democrats regarded as the “Blue Dogs.” While this controversial campaigning resulted in the urban areas of the country becoming more Democratic “allowing Mr. Obama to carry the state… it [however] did not translate to a majority of House districts.” Be that as it may, a new campaign strategy in 2016 could get the House back. Mr. Cohen found though in his research that “a Democrat with more support than Mr. Obama in the traditionally Democratic South, like Hillary Rodham Clinton, could potentially help Democrats [win] in these areas.” By running in 2016 Mrs. Clinton can help regain a Democratic House of Representatives just in time for an ambitious Democrat’s rush on the White House in 2020.

It has been said by some that Democrats running against Hillary for the party nomination are basically running for the Vice Presidential position, but it could be that Mrs. Clinton’s Vice President may have an eye on the White House in 2020. Martin O’Malley; the Governor of Maryland, may be that man.  Martin O’Malley took Mrs. Clinton’s place at a campaign convention on June 2nd 2007, when she was a candidate for the party’s nomination; Delegate Tony O’Donnell has also noted that “it’s the worst-kept secret in Maryland that the governor has national ambitions.” Moreover, State Senator Thomas V. Miller, Jr. said O’Malley’s political plans come “into play in everything he does and [he] is very much like Bill Clinton in being slow and deliberative and calculating in everything he does.” Could Hillary’s 2016 Presidential run be the stage to introduce a future player for the Democratic Party? Martin O’Malley is the only one so far to announce formal interest in running for the Democratic nomination and could be setting up for a run in 2020 to reclaim the White House for the Democratic Party.

As far as 2020 elections go, it is too soon to determine who will be representing the Democratic or Republican Parties, but for 2016 the facts are the facts and the figures are the figures. The odds of the Democrats keeping the White House in 2016 are extremely low and the odds of them regaining the House this midterm are even lower. However, the parties are aware of the elements at play, the cycles of elections, and the patterns of politics. The evidence is heavy that both of the major parties are planning to use these trends systematically to gain political leverage and advantages in the very near future. The Republicans can rest upon a red White House and a red House of Representatives or could even battle further to capture the Senate and preside over the first Republican majority in both Houses and the Presidency since 2006. The Democrats have the ability to regain the House after the 2016 presidential election if they expand the electorate with a candidate like Hillary Clinton as the frontrunner, while also making history as having nominated the first woman to ever run for the Presidency.  It is possible that the Democratic leadership could then put forward a fresh face to capture America’s hearts while also laying a foundation for a strong run in 2020 in which the red White House and red House of Representatives would be at risk of turning blue.