The next Republican presidential nominee is already planning his campaign. If it is not too early for him to think about 2016, why should it be for the rest of us?
We don’t know, of course, what issues will be uppermost in the public mind that year, or what the economy will be like. Republicans can take comfort, though, in the fact that only twice in the last century has a two-term president been succeeded by someone else from the same party. They should also be encouraged that the leading Democratic contenders for 2016, at the moment, appear to be Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Only four times in American history has the public chosen a president more than five years older than his predecessor (Clinton is 14 years older than Obama, Biden 19). Since the Cold War ended, the younger candidate has won all four races that featured a contrast in age.