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A Hillary Win Full of Presidential Firsts, But Not All Ideal Ones

A Hillary Win Full of Presidential Firsts, But Not All Ideal Ones
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By    |   Tuesday, 28 April 2015 07:18 AM

If Hillary Clinton captures the White House in 2016, she will not only be the first female president and oldest Democrat to take office, but she could also be the only Democratic president to face a Congress controlled by the opposition party from Day One, according to Politico.

No Democrat has heretofore been elected president with the opposition party controlling both chambers of Congress.

The contemporary Democratic Party traces its roots back to 1828 and the presidency of Andrew Jackson. Democratic Vice President Harry S. Truman succeeded Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who died in office, and faced a Republican Congress. The two times he was elected president in his own right, however, Truman enjoyed Democratic majorities in both houses.

There have been newly elected presidents, mostly Republican, who confronted an opposition party in control of both chambers of Congress: Whig Zachary Taylor in 1848, Republican Richard Nixon in 1968, and Republican George H.W. Bush in 1988, Politico reported.

During Nixon's entire term, Democrats reigned on Capitol Hill. George H.W. Bush also never saw his party in charge of Congress.

Bill Clinton enjoyed a Democratic majority in the 103rd Congress as he came into office but faced a Republican-led Congress for much of the remainder of his administration. Ronald Reagan had to deal with a Democratic majority for the final two years of his administration, as did George W. Bush. Barack Obama serves his remaining two years with Republicans running both houses of Congress.

Democrats could theoretically win the Senate in 2016 and overcome the 54-seat GOP majority. But to do so they would need to successfully defend 10 Democrat seats, among them vulnerable seats in Nevada and Colorado; overcome Republicans in Illinois, Wisconsin and Florida; and win one race in such Republican-leaning states as Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio or New Hampshire, according to Politico.

Recapturing the House would be even tougher. Republicans hold 247 seats out of 435 in the 114th Congress. Democrats, in comparison, hold 188 seats and would need to capture 30 seats to have a majority — an achievement considered unlikely given the power of incumbency, Politico reported.

A sometimes polarizing figure, Clinton, should she win the presidency, might not create sufficient momentum to enable Democratic congressional candidates to decisively overcome their Republican opponents by riding her coattails, Politico reported.

Scores of women have unsuccessfully run for president, including Shirley Chisholm, an African-American member of the House from Brooklyn, New York, in 1972.

Reagan is the oldest person to enter the office, being first elected president at age 69. Clinton would also be 69, though younger than Reagan by 8 months.

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If Hillary Clinton captures the White House, she will not only be the first female president and oldest Democrat to take office, but she could also be the only Democratic president to face an opposition Congress from day one, Politico reports.
hillary clinton, election, presidential history, congress, age
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2015-18-28
Tuesday, 28 April 2015 07:18 AM
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