Renowned Harvard-educated historian Niall Ferguson confidently asserts that former President Donald Trump will secure the Republican nomination and emerge victorious against Joe Biden in the upcoming 2024 presidential election. In an article published in The Spectator, Ferguson elucidates the historical data that bolsters his prediction.
Both Biden and Trump currently face relatively low overall approval ratings, but Ferguson highlights Trump’s significant advantage in polling on economic matters. The data suggests that the former president resonates more with voters in terms of economic policies, which could significantly influence the outcome of the election.
“What this suggests to me is that Joe Biden is in serious danger of following Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H.W. Bush into the bin marked ‘one-term presidents’. Why?” he asked rhetorically.
“For the simple reason that no president since Calvin Coolidge a century ago has secured re-election if a recession has occurred in the two years before the nation votes,” he said.
“It does not need to be as severe as the Great Depression that destroyed Herbert Hoover’s presidency,” he added. “A plain vanilla recession will suffice.”
“In the 12 months through March, total bank credit in the US economy declined in real terms,” he said. “That rarely occurs. Since 1960, it has happened only during, or in the immediate aftermath of, a recession. This is the indicator to watch, along with the surveys of borrowers and lenders.”
“Perhaps Peggy Noonan is right that Robert F. Kennedy Jr, who is running for the Democratic nomination, can mount a real challenge to Biden,” he went on. “He has the magic name, after all, even if he is an anti-vaccine crank. Perhaps the West Virginia senator Joe Manchin was hinting at a presidential run when he issued a statement last week that declared: ‘Make no mistake, I will win any race I enter.’”
“But the lesson of history is clear – the Republican frontrunner usually wins the nomination, and a post-recession incumbent usually loses the presidential election,” he said.
“Another lesson of history is that only one previous president has secured a second non-consecutive term: Grover Cleveland in 1892,” he added. “As Jim Carville understood, ‘change’ generally beats ‘more of the same’ in America. But don’t let anyone quote F. Scott Fitzgerald at you. A second Trump act is not just possible. It’s fast becoming my base case,” he said.
Niall Ferguson, a Scottish historian, holds the esteemed position of the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and serves as a senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. He has previously taught at prestigious institutions such as Harvard University, the London School of Economics, New York University, and the New College of the Humanities. Furthermore, Ferguson has served as a senior research fellow at Jesus College, Oxford.
A distinguished scholar, Ferguson focuses his research and lecturing on international history, economic history, financial history, and the history of the British Empire and American imperialism. He is known for his positive views on the British Empire, even jesting that he is a “fully paid-up member of the neo-imperialist gang” following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In recognition of his influence and expertise, Time magazine included Ferguson in its 2004 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Ferguson’s contributions extend beyond academia, as he has written and presented numerous television documentary series. Notably, his documentary series titled “The Ascent of Money” earned him an International Emmy award for Best Documentary in 2009, further solidifying his standing as a prominent and respected figure in his field.
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