|Occupants of the U.S. Presidency, 1944-2016. See the simple pattern? Eight years of Democrats, followed by eight years of Republicans, followed by eight years of Democrats, etc. Death in office (FDR), assassination (JFK), resignation (Nixon), no matter. |
The only exception is the singularly disastrous Carter presidency, on which the American people pulled the plug after only four years. Stagflation, gas lines, Iranian hostage crisis, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, "killer" rabbits, Three Mile Island - there was only so much they could take. Indeed, one could think of the "extra" four years handed to the Republicans in 1988 as a bonus for the successful Reagan presidency, or as reflecting the reluctance of Americans to go back to the Carter years. The winning Republican campaign strategy in 1988 was not to equate Bush and Reagan, but rather to equate Dukakis and Carter.
In any case, given the historical track record, it shouldn't be quite so surprising that Trump defeated Clinton in 2016. It was either going to be him or some other Republican candidate. And the Republicans should hold the Presidency for the next eight years, barring a disaster of Carter-esque proportions.