Which offices are good stepping stones to the presidency?

U.S. representative
2020 contenders: John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard; potentially Seth Moulton, Beto O’Rourke, Tim Ryan, Eric Swalwell

Only seven times in history has a party’s presidential nominee been someone whose highest previous office was U.S. representative (and three of those times were populist hero William Jennings Bryan). Unfortunately for 2020 hopefuls, the most recent was John W. Davis in 1924. Of the seven nominees, only two won the presidency: Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield, both over a century ago. (This recent shutout is despite 21 people whose most recent elected office was U.S. representative running for president during the modern primary era.) This year, though, a U.S. representative (Beto O’Rourke) could be one of the stronger candidates in the field.