How’s that for a cryptic headline?
Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who was his party’s nominee for vice president in 2012, announced this week — to little fanfare — that after great deliberation, he would not seek the presidency in 2016. The decision was not a surprise: he had just assumed the chairmanship of the powerful House Ways & Means Committee, something he had long sought. And besides, given who is likely to step up to the plate, he was not about to be the 2016 presidential nominee.
But what it means is that, once again, a defeated vice presidential nominee is not going to wind up as president. Or at least in the next cycle. And that means that Franklin D. Roosevelt, the unsuccessful Democratic VP candidate in 1920, will continue, for now, to be the last losing vice presidential nominee to reach the White House — which he did in 1932.
A look back at the historical record shows that no losing VP candidate — from Charles Bryan (D) in 1924 through John Bricker (R) in 1944 — ever subsequently sought the White House. But here’s what it’s looked like since 1948:
Losing Major Party Vice Presidential Candidates:
1948: Earl Warren (R) — Favorite son candidate in 1952, lost nomination to Dwight Eisenhower.
1952: John Sparkman (D) — never sought the presidency.
1956: Estes Kefauver (D) — a presidential hopeful in 1952 and ’56, he never again sought the presidency.
1960: Henry Cabot Lodge (R) — was the subject of a draft in 1964, and even won the New Hampshire primary that year. But he never actively sought the presidency.
1964: William Miller (R) — never sought the presidency.
1968: Ed Muskie (D) — sought the presidency in 1972, losing the Democratic nomination to George McGovern.
1972: Sargent Shriver (D) — sought the presidency in 1976, losing the Democratic nomination to Jimmy Carter.
1976: Bob Dole (R) — sought the presidency in 1980 and 1988, losing the Republican nomination each time (to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, respectively). Was the GOP nominee for president in 1996, losing to incumbent Bill Clinton.
1980: Walter Mondale (D) — was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1984, losing to incumbent Ronald Reagan.
1984: Geraldine Ferraro (D) — never sought the presidency.
1988: Lloyd Bentsen (D) — a presidential hopeful in 1976, he never sought the presidency again.
1992: Dan Quayle (R) — briefly sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, which was won by George W. Bush.
1996: Jack Kemp (R) — a presidential hopeful in 1988, he never sought the presidency again.
2000: Joe Lieberman (D) — sought the presidency in 2004, losing the Democratic nomination to John Kerry.
2004: John Edwards (D) — a presidential hopeful in 2004, he also sought the nomination in 2008, losing the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama.
2008: Sarah Palin (R) — never sought the presidency.
2012: Paul Ryan (R) — announced he would not run in 2016.