The Washington Post

Senators are looking to 2028


Paul Kane’s Feb. 16 news analysis, “Senators balk at White House runs, defying history and ego alike,” noted the unusually large number of senators not running for president in 2024. So why are they passing on this cycle? The 2028 presidenti­al race might provide a better chance to win.

The 22nd Amendment states that “No person shall be elected to the office of the president more than twice.” If either Joe Biden or Donald Trump prevail in the 2024 election, he would be ineligible to run in 2028. Thus, the 2028 election will most likely not feature an incumbent (unless Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump wins and leaves office before the end of his term).

The likely absence of an incumbent in 2028 has political significan­ce because incumbents are difficult to defeat. Since 1956, seven incumbents have won reelection, while only four have lost their bid for a second term. Thus, ambitious Republican senators might find they have a better chance of winning in 2028.

Moreover, the 2024 election presents a unique scenario in which aspirants from both parties already know that they likely would not have to contend with an incumbent in a 2028 primary or general election.

The 2028 situation is due to the anomaly of a former president running for a nonconsecu­tive second term. Mr. Trump is the first such former president to seek office again since the 22nd Amendment’s ratificati­on.

Mr. Trump’s historical­ly novel bid for a second term in 2024 has enabled the 22nd Amendment to shape presidenti­al aspirants’ calculatio­ns in a new way.

Ethan Yan, New Haven, Conn.

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