THE BLOG
11/09/2012 11:35 am ET Updated Jan 09, 2013

History Is Against a Ryan Presidency

Mitt Romney has stated that he is done running for president and there is little reason to doubt him. But as people start tossing around names for 2016, many are placing Paul Ryan at the top of the potential Republican ticket. Their logic is obvious, after all Ryan is young, articulate, loved by conservatives and did not come across as an obvious liability in the campaign (though, in hindsight, many pundits are questioning whether he was an asset).

History is against there ever being a president Paul Ryan. Being the vice presidential candidate on a losing ticket carries a stigma. Ryan would need to overcome two major hurdles: the first is convincing Republicans that he is the best person to represent the party in a presidential election. He would have to deflect being associated with a losing ticket and fears from Republicans that he couldn't win the general election by securing the nomination. The second hurdle to overcome is that he would need to convince Americans that a Ryan presidency would be far more appealing than the unsuccessful Romney-Ryan candidacy.

Consider how the last twenty politicians who were on the underside of the losing ticket did after failing to become vice president. Of those twenty, 13 did not seek the presidency. Of the seven that later sought the presidency, only two won the nomination, Walter Mondale and Bob Dole, while five failed to jump over the first hurdle mentioned above. Both Mondale and Dole were soundly defeated in the general elections, meaning they failed to jump over the second hurdle.

Paul Ryan was portrayed by many in the media as a "numbers whiz." Assuming that Ryan truly is a data-cruncher, one can't help wondering if he was aware of the historical data regarding the probability of ever becoming president after being on the losing side of a ticket.

While "past performance may not predict future outcomes," the data suggests that the path to becoming president would be very unlikely for Paul Ryan.

Below is the list of politicians who were vice presidential candidates on the losing ticket.
• Sarah Palin (2008): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• John Edwards (2004): Failed to gain the presidential nomination in 2008.
• Joe Lieberman (2000): Failed to gain the presidential nomination in 2004
• Jack Kemp (1996): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• Dan Quayle (1992): Failed to get the 2000 nomination.
• Lloyd Bentsen (1988): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• Geraldine Ferraro (1984): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• Walter Mondale (1980): Won the Democratic nomination in 1984. Lost to Ronald Reagan.
• Bob Dole (1976): Won the Republican nomination in 1996. Lost to Bill Clinton.
• Sargent Shriver (1972): Failed to get the 1976 nomination.
• Edmund Muskie (1968): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• William E. Miller (1964): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. (1960): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• Estes Kefauver (1956): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• John Sparkman (1952): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• Earl Warren (1948): Failed to get the 1952 nomination.
• John Bricker (1944): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• Charles McNary (1940): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• Frank Knox (1936): Did not seek the presidency afterwards.
• Charles Curtis (1932): Did not seek the presidency afterwards

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