Chatter: Presidents Who Lose and Run Again with Troy Senik

David Priess, Troy Senik
Thursday, December 22, 2022, 12:00 PM

David Priess chatted with Troy Senik about the stories of rejected presidents, how we rate U.S. leaders, how Grover Cleveland's efforts to regain the presidency compare to former President Donald Trump's, and more. 

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Donald Trump is trying to do something rare--very rare--in American history: lose a presidential election, run again, and get elected to a second term. Only one president, the underappreciated Grover Cleveland, has ever accomplished that feat. Yet his story remains largely unknown.

David Priess invited Troy Senik, author of a new biography of Grover Cleveland called A Man of Iron: The Turbulent Life and Improbable Presidency of Grover Cleveland, to Chatter to explore how the stories of rejected presidents in the past shed light on Trump's effort to retake the Oval Office now--with a whole lotta Grover in the conversation.

They discussed how we rate U.S. leaders, the cases of presidents who lost their reelection bids and then tried again, what drove those men to do so, Grover Cleveland's formative experiences, his political offices in New York, how he became president, his predilection for vetoes, his loss in 1888, his comeback in 1892, why Cleveland is largely forgotten, how our views of presidents change over time, how Cleveland's effort in 1892 to regain the presidency compares to Trump's attempt now, and more.

Among the works mentioned in this episode:

The book Grover Cleveland, Again! by Ken Burns

The book A Man of Iron: The Turbulent Life and Improbable Presidency of Grover Cleveland by Troy Senik

The book Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage by Allen Nevins

The book James Monroe by Tim McGrath

The book The Number Ones by Tom Briehan

David Priess is Director of Intelligence at Bedrock Learning, Inc. and a Senior Fellow at the Michael V. Hayden Center for Intelligence, Policy, and International Security. He served during the Clinton and Bush 43 administrations as a CIA officer and has written two books: “The President’s Book of Secrets,” about the top-secret President’s Daily Brief, and "How To Get Rid of a President," describing the ways American presidents have left office.
Troy Senik is a former White House speechwriter and author of "A Man of Iron: The Turbulent Life and Improbable Presidency of Grover Cleveland."

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