TTP: A 9 POTUS Checklist for the 2020 Presidential Election, Part I

I’d like to offer you a free gift before the 2020 presidential election hits you in full force. No, not steak knives or diet food or some type of weird enhancement. I’m referring to a tool of sorts. You’re going to need it because the media coverage between now and November will be unlike anything you’ve experienced before. You’ll be reaching for ear plugs, sleep masks, and anything else that will silence the din and soften the glare.

Let’s call it the “9 POTUS Checklist.”

I researched American presidential elections and presidencies from 1789 down to today with three criteria in mind. The sitting President had to win and complete a full first term. After the first term, the President pursued and won the existing political party’s nomination as the candidate for a second term. The renominated President lost in the election for a second term.

Take the three criteria and you get 9 POTUSes out of 44 Presidents since 1789. In case you’re curious, here they are, starting with most recent and tracking backwards—George HW Bush (losing in the 1992 election), Jimmy Carter (1980), Herbert Hoover (1932), William Taft (1912), Benjamin Harrison (1892), Grover Cleveland (1888), Martin Van Buren (1840), John Quincy Adams (1828), and John Adams (1800).

9 POTUSes. They share vital points in common as a group, or very nearly so. The points comprise a checklist. As we move toward Election Day 2020, look at the checklist to see how POTUS 45 measures against each item.

First, the killing point is a lack of unity in the president’s political party. The entire group of 9 POTUSes suffered from deep divisions and separations within their party. The form of disunity varied—it might be a formal rival, it might be public expression of dissent by an influential figure, it might be a split Cabinet, it might be a competitive environment in the primaries or at the nominating convention, and so on. Internal disunity defeated each of the 9. That’s why I decided to call it the killing point. None survived as returning candidacies.

Second, all 9 POTUSes were haunted by what I saw as a Ghost Effect. The Ghost Effect is an issue, trend, competitor, personal flaw or failing, or dynamic that is left over from the previous presidential election. Whatever shape emerges, it didn’t disappear during the four-year presidential term. It persisted, endured, lingered, evolved, or perhaps most accurately of all, haunted and hounded the POTUS to the point of defeat in the re-election moment. Four years before, in winning the first term, POTUS overcame the Ghost. Four years later, the Ghost gets revenge on all 9.

Third, a crisis exists that defies every attempt by the POTUS to resolve it. The crisis takes on one of two appearances: it is long and pervasive, flattening like a steamroller; or it is short and acute, slicing like a knife. Examples include severe economic decline, a foreign calamity, a late-stage event, or a deeply personal loss.

Fourth, a loss of energy and momentum comes to characterize the campaign to seek re-election. This deceleration is not attributable to the POTUS individually or exclusively. The stagnation tends to act as a nagging sensation in the campaign generally, especially over time. It can abide in POTUS as a person, but not always. Regardless, as the election draws near, the quantity of energy seems to be steadily declining, the void in energy growing. Quite likely, the gradual pervasiveness of no- or low-energy is a result of both the crisis and Ghost Effect mentioned above.

Fifth, the POTUS has a particular quality of leadership that produces a consistently damaging result. Whether a habit, trait, or characteristic, the destructive quality is not new in POTUS’s life or leadership. The negative result appears in private away from public view. Occasionally, however, public displays are visible. This damaging leadership quality will interact with other items on the checklist. By itself, it will not defeat the POTUS but in combination with other factors, it hinders the pursuit of a re-election victory.

Sixth and finally, an Attractor Factor rises up. The Attractor Factor is a feature in the POTUS’s opposing candidate. There is something in the opposing candidate—a personal quality, a promised action, or an assumed advantage—that the POTUS cannot overcome through the memory and record of the first presidential term. The Attractor Factor doesn’t need to be massive or overwhelming. It simply needs to be enough. The Attractor Factor doesn’t need to exist for an extended time. It simply needs to be timely.

I want to be as sure as I can that you understand the “9 POTUS Checklist.” I’m not advocating or persuading as to President Trump=Great or President Trump=Awful. Maybe we have our 10th POTUS in 2020 or maybe we don’t. You can go elsewhere for such content. I’m just furnishing a history-based tool to track POTUS 45 against my findings from the shared experience of the previous nine American presidents who won a first-term and re-nomination but lost re-election. And don’t forget it’s free (in the form of this blog post!).

This post is part of a six-part series developed from my research on the 9 POTUSes. Part II will appear soon. Please share with anyone who you think would be interested. Also, I’ve presented these findings in a seminar format for my clients. If you’d like to discuss arranging a similar event, reach out to me at 317-407-3687.

Thanks for reading and all the best, Dan


  1. Eileen Hightower says

    All of this said, the Lord help “We the people. . . ” if President Trump doesn’t win re-election. This is one of the most important elections, a critical one at that, which will decide if America will live in tyranny under Communism or Freedom. And if we lose freedom in this country, it will be a very long time under tyranny before we get it back.

    I don’t believe most people understand what is at stake here, but I am seeing Communism, and anarchy encroaching upon America even as I write this comment. We have taken drugs by the boat loads, anesthetized ourselves with liquor and anything else we choose to take. We are no longer a sober minded, God fearing nation. Even churches are caving into the politically correct agenda. We have become affluent to the point of nausea. I love capitalism, but along with capitalism comes a grave responsibility, in that this country needs to acknowledge our Creator in heaven, repent of our sins and turn our eyes back to the One who gave us a great nation. Until that time, there isn’t one man in this world that can save this ship which is going down. Not one. A sobering thought, but true nonetheless. Only God who made us and blessed this nation can save us.

    What we once abhorred we now embrace, and God’s Justice cannot sleep much longer. Not one of the Socialist Democrats are pro-life. They believe in snuffing out the most vulnerable and voiceless among us. Those infants are now in the arms of our Lord, but America has grown coarser in the process more heartless by the moment.

    America used to abhor such ghastly behavior, but now, for the most part, we shrug our shoulders and go on as if nothing happened. We have a lot of innocent blood on our hands and one day our knee shall bow to the Almighty and give an account to our Creator for what we have done, and let it pass unnoticed and while there was yet time, we voted for this ungodly behavior.

    A few years ago a woman touted the phrase, “A woman’s right to choose.” I then told her that if the powers that be had no qualms in snuffing out the life of the innocent, then they will have no qualms of snuffing out anyone else’s life at any age. And this is what is being told on video by Mini Mike Bloomberg. He sounds like he is channeling Hitler and this is precisely what George Soros wants.

  2. Melanie Hamm says

    If President Trump doesn’t win in 2020, God help us all!! We all need to get on our knees and pray to God to heal Lady Liberty and the USA!!! TRUMP 2020


  1. […] not we’ll add the 10th POTUS to the group in November 2020. To refresh your recall of Part I, CLICK HERE. For you newcomers, it’s brief and fast to catch up on Part […]

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