Does The Challenger Matter?
One of the hardest ways to get the White House is to beat the sitting President. Only 10 have done it, 1 was a former President coming back after having been defeated himself. In this episode we look at those cases, five in great detail, and examine the role of the Sitting President and the role of the Challenger. Incumbent defeats can be classified in two main categories: severe economic turmoil and loss of their own party's unqualified support. Either one seems to sink Presidents, and one of those two explains all incumbent defeats including 1800, 1840, 1884, 1892, 1912, 1932, 1976, 1980, 1992 (with 1828 being slightly different since JQA lost the '24 election to Jackson previously and obtained the Presidency in a House vote, then lost again). Since incumbent defeats have such a common ring to them, is the challenger important? Should a challenger simply remain passive and let the President mess up? Does it matter who a part chooses? What actions did these 10 challengers take and what can it tell the Romney campaign about how a challenger should act? We'll address all these questions and go some way to answering them.