Hillary Clinton: One-term president?

Why Clinton will lose in 2020

The Obama legacy could saddle Clinton in the future. While Reagan’s job approval ratings were less stellar in the 1980s than they are in today’s rose-tinted recollection, he was always popular on a personal level. His re-election in 1984 saw him improve on his already impressive 1980 Electoral College results, taking every single state except Minnesota. Obama, by contrast, netted fewer states in 2012 than he did in 2008. And while the president recently mused that he could win a third term were he allowed to run, polling suggests otherwise. This contrast doesn’t necessarily mean that Clinton can’t win in 2016 — she probably will win — but running (and lasting) as Obama’s heir will be more difficult than running (and lasting) as Reagan’s. Clinton’s position also comes without the added bonus of a record-breaking national win for her predecessor in 2012.

America likes to switch. Since 1953, the Reagan/Bush terms are the only time one party controlled the White House for more than eight years. If Hillary Clinton plays her cards right, she should win in 2016. But she would be defying the precedent of modern history if she won again in 2020. Plus, a second President Clinton would surely be held to an above-average standard of success by a frustrated, independent public both increasingly nostalgic for her predecessors and itching for a change.

The GOP field would be much stronger in 2020. For a lot of younger Republican presidential candidates — Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz — the 2016 election cycle may just be a bit too early.