Jump to content
The Political Lounge

If Presidents Served For Life (thought experiment)


MrPotatoTed
 Share

Recommended Posts

I put together a list of Presidents with a few basic rules:

1)  Once elected, a President and VP serve until one of them dies.
2)  Presidents and VP's die during their real world death dates, with no exceptions.
3)  If the President dies, the VP serves the remainder of the President's four year term until the next election.
4)  If a VP dies, the President continues in office until the end of the current four year term.
5) When there is an election (the President or VP died), the winner is the real life winner of that election.  For example, if things work out that there happens to be an election in 1860, Abraham Lincoln would be the winner.

I thought that would be sufficient...but as I progressed, I discovered I needed a few more rules.

6)  If the President AND VP die before the next election can be held, we follow the line of succession that existed at that time.
7)  If there is NOBODY in the line of succession, there is a "special election" that year, and the winner only serves the remainder of the existing Presidential term.  The winner of that special election is whoever happened to be the real world US President that year.
8 ) If the line of succession requires us to figure out who the Sec of State is, it's the real world Sec of State that year from the game's party in power.  If the real world Sec of State that year was from the wrong party, we find the right party Sec of State that served closest to that year.
9)  If the line of succession requires us to figure out who an appointed VP would be, it's the party's real world Presidential nominee from the election closest to that year.

With these ridiculous and arbitrary rules in place...here is the alternate universe that was created.

 

1789 - 1799: George Washington - John Adams **WASHINGTON DIES** (10 years) 
1799 - 1801: John Adams (2 years)
1801 - 1826: Thomas Jefferson - Aaron Burr **JEFFERSON DIES** (25 years)
1826 - 1829: Aaron Burr (3 years)
1829 - 1845: Andrew Jackson - John C Calhoun **JACKSON DIES** (16 years)
1845 - 1849: John C Calhoun (4 years)
1849 - 1850: Zachary Taylor - Millard Fillmore **TAYLOR DIES** (2 years)
1850 - 1853: Millard Fillmore (3 years)
1853 - 1857: Franklin Pierce - William R King *VP KING DIES* (1853)  (4 years) (a)
1857 - 1868: James Buchanan - John C Breckenridge  **BUCHANAN DIES** (11 years)
1868 - 1869: John C Breckenridge (9 months)
1869 - 1885: Ulysses S. Grant - Schuyler Colfax **VP COLFAX DIES** (1885) **GRANT DIES** (1885) (16 years) (b)
1885 - 1889: Grover Cleveland - Thomas A Hendricks **VP HENDRIX DIES** (1885) (4 years) (c)
1889 - 1901: Benjamin Harrison - Levi P Morton **HARRISON DIES** (12 years)
1901 - 1905: Levi P Morton (4 years)
1905 - 1919: Theodore Roosevelt - Charles W Fairbanks **VP FAIRBANKS DIES** (1918) **ROOSEVELT DIES** (14 years) (d)
1919 - 1919: Robert Bacon (5 months) (e) **BACON DIES**
1919 - 1921: Philander C Knox (3 years)
1921 - 1923: Warren G. Harding - Calvin Coolidge (2 years) **HARDING DIES**
1923 - 1933: Calvin Coolidge - Charles G Dawes (From 1925 on) (10 years) (f) **COOLIDGE DIES**
1933 - 1937: Charles G Dawes (4 years)
1937 - 1945: Frankin D. Roosevelt - John Nance Garner (8 years) (g) **FDR DIES**
1945 - 1949: John Nance Garner
1949 - 1961: Harry S. Truman - Alben W. Barkley (1956) (12 years) **TRUMAN DIES**
1961 - 1965: John F Kennedy - Lyndon B Johnson (4 years)  **JFK ASSASSINATED**
1965 - 1969: Lyndon B. Johnson (4 years)
1969 - 1994: Richard Nixon - Spiro Agnew (25 years)  **NIXON DIES**
1994 - 1996: Spiro Agnew - Bob Dole (2 years) (h) **AGNEW DIES**
1996 - 1997: Bob Dole (1 year)
1997 - Present: Bill Clinton - Al Gore (24 years and counting)

a: With VP William King's death in 1853, Franklin Pierce becomes the first President not to serve a lifetime appointment.
b: VP Colfax and President Grant both die in 1885 -- while there is also no sitting President Pro Tempore, no Speaker, and no law that passes succession to the cabinet.  I call for a special election, where the winning President-VP will only serve a single term until the next regularly scheduled election.
😄 Oh for fucks sake...1885 claimed President Grant, VP Colfax, AND new VP Hendricks.
d: VP Fairbanks dies, followed by Teddy Roosevelt before the next Presidential election. Per the Succession Act of 1886, the Presidency passes to Sec of State Robert Bacon
e: OH COME ON.  Newly inherited President Bacon promptly drops dead.  We'll say he'd appointed his real life successor, Philander Knox as Sec of State.
f: For the first time in history, the surviving Vice President Calvin Coolidge is elected to the Presidency in his own right.
g: In a slightly ironic twist of fate, FDR becomes the first President in US history to serve for 8 years.
h: Inherited President Spiro Agnew dies before the end of his term.  Per the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, he was able to select his own VP when he inherited in 1994.  He chose Bob Dole (the real world same-party nominee of the nearest election)

1789 - 1801: Federalists
1801 - 1829: Democrat-Republican
1829 - 1849: Democrat
1849 - 1853: Whig
1853 - 1869: Democrat
1869 - 1885: Republican
1885 - 1889: Democrat
1889 - 1937: Republican (48 years)
1923 - 1969: Democrat (46 years)
1969 - 1997: Republican (28 years)
1997 - Present: Democrat (24 years and counting)

Both Jefferson and Nixon managed to serve 25 years.  Clinton is right on their heels at 24 years and counting.
 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

12 hours ago, MrPotatoTed said:

I put together a list of Presidents with a few basic rules:

1)  Once elected, a President and VP serve until one of them dies.
2)  Presidents and VP's die during their real world death dates, with no exceptions.
3)  If the President dies, the VP serves the remainder of the President's four year term until the next election.
4)  If a VP dies, the President continues in office until the end of the current four year term.
5) When there is an election (the President or VP died), the winner is the real life winner of that election.  For example, if things work out that there happens to be an election in 1860, Abraham Lincoln would be the winner.

I thought that would be sufficient...but as I progressed, I discovered I needed a few more rules.

6)  If the President AND VP die before the next election can be held, we follow the line of succession that existed at that time.
7)  If there is NOBODY in the line of succession, there is a "special election" that year, and the winner only serves the remainder of the existing Presidential term.  The winner of that special election is whoever happened to be the real world US President that year.
8 ) If the line of succession requires us to figure out who the Sec of State is, it's the real world Sec of State that year from the game's party in power.  If the real world Sec of State that year was from the wrong party, we find the right party Sec of State that served closest to that year.
9)  If the line of succession requires us to figure out who an appointed VP would be, it's the party's real world Presidential nominee from the election closest to that year.

With these ridiculous and arbitrary rules in place...here is the alternate universe that was created.

 

1789 - 1799: George Washington - John Adams **WASHINGTON DIES** (10 years) 
1799 - 1801: John Adams (2 years)
1801 - 1826: Thomas Jefferson - Aaron Burr **JEFFERSON DIES** (25 years)
1826 - 1829: Aaron Burr (3 years)
1829 - 1845: Andrew Jackson - John C Calhoun **JACKSON DIES** (16 years)
1845 - 1849: John C Calhoun (4 years)
1849 - 1850: Zachary Taylor - Millard Fillmore **TAYLOR DIES** (2 years)
1850 - 1853: Millard Fillmore (3 years)
1853 - 1857: Franklin Pierce - William R King *VP KING DIES* (1853)  (4 years) (a)
1857 - 1868: James Buchanan - John C Breckenridge  **BUCHANAN DIES** (11 years)
1868 - 1869: John C Breckenridge (9 months)
1869 - 1885: Ulysses S. Grant - Schuyler Colfax **VP COLFAX DIES** (1885) **GRANT DIES** (1885) (16 years) (b)
1885 - 1889: Grover Cleveland - Thomas A Hendricks **VP HENDRIX DIES** (1885) (4 years) (c)
1889 - 1901: Benjamin Harrison - Levi P Morton **HARRISON DIES** (12 years)
1901 - 1905: Levi P Morton (4 years)
1905 - 1919: Theodore Roosevelt - Charles W Fairbanks **VP FAIRBANKS DIES** (1918) **ROOSEVELT DIES** (14 years) (d)
1919 - 1919: Robert Bacon (5 months) (e) **BACON DIES**
1919 - 1921: Philander C Knox (3 years)
1921 - 1923: Warren G. Harding - Calvin Coolidge (2 years) **HARDING DIES**
1923 - 1933: Calvin Coolidge - Charles G Dawes (From 1925 on) (10 years) (f) **COOLIDGE DIES**
1933 - 1937: Charles G Dawes (4 years)
1937 - 1945: Frankin D. Roosevelt - John Nance Garner (8 years) (g) **FDR DIES**
1945 - 1949: John Nance Garner
1949 - 1961: Harry S. Truman - Alben W. Barkley (1956) (12 years) **TRUMAN DIES**
1961 - 1965: John F Kennedy - Lyndon B Johnson (4 years)  **JFK ASSASSINATED**
1965 - 1969: Lyndon B. Johnson (4 years)
1969 - 1994: Richard Nixon - Spiro Agnew (25 years)  **NIXON DIES**
1994 - 1996: Spiro Agnew - Bob Dole (2 years) (h) **AGNEW DIES**
1996 - 1997: Bob Dole (1 year)
1997 - Present: Bill Clinton - Al Gore (24 years and counting)

a: With VP William King's death in 1853, Franklin Pierce becomes the first President not to serve a lifetime appointment.
b: VP Colfax and President Grant both die in 1885 -- while there is also no sitting President Pro Tempore, no Speaker, and no law that passes succession to the cabinet.  I call for a special election, where the winning President-VP will only serve a single term until the next regularly scheduled election.
😄 Oh for fucks sake...1885 claimed President Grant, VP Colfax, AND new VP Hendricks.
d: VP Fairbanks dies, followed by Teddy Roosevelt before the next Presidential election. Per the Succession Act of 1886, the Presidency passes to Sec of State Robert Bacon
e: OH COME ON.  Newly inherited President Bacon promptly drops dead.  We'll say he'd appointed his real life successor, Philander Knox as Sec of State.
f: For the first time in history, the surviving Vice President Calvin Coolidge is elected to the Presidency in his own right.
g: In a slightly ironic twist of fate, FDR becomes the first President in US history to serve for 8 years.
h: Inherited President Spiro Agnew dies before the end of his term.  Per the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, he was able to select his own VP when he inherited in 1994.  He chose Bob Dole (the real world same-party nominee of the nearest election)

1789 - 1801: Federalists
1801 - 1829: Democrat-Republican
1829 - 1849: Democrat
1849 - 1853: Whig
1853 - 1869: Democrat
1869 - 1885: Republican
1885 - 1889: Democrat
1889 - 1937: Republican (48 years)
1923 - 1969: Democrat (46 years)
1969 - 1997: Republican (28 years)
1997 - Present: Democrat (24 years and counting)

Both Jefferson and Nixon managed to serve 25 years.  Clinton is right on their heels at 24 years and counting.
 

Alexander Hamilton actually proposed that the President be elected for life with an appointed Senate balanced by an elected house, but the delegates in the Constitutional Convention weren't too interested in adopting that plan.

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, pilight said:

I'm not sure why the president gets replaced when the VP dies.  For that matter, why concern yourself with "terms" when they serve for life?  Washington dies, Adams was president IRL at the time so he takes over.

Just arbitrary rules to quickly get this done without having to roll dice or just randomly make up who would win individual elections, while also having at least a few not-in-real-life Presidents pop up.  And pairing it to unlimited, automatic-win four-year terms was convenient. Ha.

Your way would have some opposite-party successors, but let's give it a go!

I suppose there's no need for calculating VPs in this reality, so here goes!

1789 - 1799 George Washington (No party) -- 10 years
1799 - 1826 John Adams (Federalist) -- 27 years
1826 - 1848 John Quincy Adams (Democrat-Republican/National Republican/Anti-Masonic/Whig) -- 22 years
1848 - 1849 James K Polk (Democrat) -- 1 Year
1849 - 1850 Zachary Taylor (Whig) -- 1 Year
1850 - 1874 Millard Fillmore (Whig/Know Nothing/Democrat) -- 24 years
1874 - 1885 Ulysses S. Grant (Republican) -- 11 years
1885 - 1908 Grover Cleveland (Democrat) -- 23 years
1908 - 1919 Theodore Roosevelt (Republican) -- 11 years
1919 - 1924 Woodrow Wilson (Democrat) -- 5 years
1924 - 1933 Calvin Coolidge (Republican) -- 9 years
1933 - 1964 Herbert Hoover (Republican) -- 31 years
1964 - 1973 Lyndon B Johnson (Democrat) -- 9 years
1973 - 1994 Richard Nixon (Republican) -- 21 years
1994 - present Bill Clinton (Democrat) -- 27 years

Interesting notes:

Hoover wins the longevity game with 31 years in office, though Bill Clinton is on his heels at 27 years and counting.

The Adams family reigns for 49 consecutive years.

From 1848 - 1850 we have four sitting Presidents.

Longest political domination is 1924 - 1964 (40 years) for the Republicans, with Coolidge and then Hoover.
 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Patine said:

Many notorious (and just petty despotic, as well) African, Latin American, and Middle-Eastern Presidents had a liking of serving for life. It doesn't seem conducive to good leadership, governance, advancement, or any sense of proportion by such a President, even if they start out vital and a with a strong vision - they never tend to maintain it. There's a lot of precedent out there of why this is a BAD idea. And it is foolhardy assuming any of these particular Presidents would keep their most admired traits in a longer term and not facing re-election under such a paradigm.

I wasn't advocating in favor of it.  Just running a quick simulation to see what it might have looked like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Think of it like the pope.  He serves for life then a new one is elected.  Of course the pope isn't elected by the public but by a set of electors chosen by the pope or his predecessors so there's not much ideological drift.  That might be a good thing, as the leader will have less concern that his policies will be reversed by his replacement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...