Donald Trump is trying to do something rare–very rare–in American history: lose a presidential election, run again, and get elected to a second term. Only one president, the underappreciated Grover Cleveland, has ever accomplished that feat. Yet his story remains largely unknown.
David Priess invited Troy Senik, author of a new biography of Grover Cleveland called A Man of Iron: The Turbulent Life and Improbable Presidency of Grover Cleveland, to Chatter to explore how the stories of rejected presidents in the past shed light on Trump’s effort to retake the Oval Office now–with a whole lotta Grover in the conversation.
They discussed how we rate U.S. leaders, the cases of presidents who lost their reelection bids and then tried again, what drove those men to do so, Grover Cleveland’s formative experiences, his political offices in New York, how he became president, his predilection for vetoes, his loss in 1888, his comeback in 1892, why Cleveland is largely forgotten, how our views of presidents change over time, how Cleveland’s effort in 1892 to regain the presidency compares to Trump’s attempt now, and more.
Among the works mentioned in this episode:
The book Grover Cleveland, Again! by Ken Burns
The book A Man of Iron: The Turbulent Life and Improbable Presidency of Grover Cleveland by Troy Senik
The book Grover Cleveland: A Study in Courage by Allen Nevins
The book James Monroe by Tim McGrath
The book The Number Ones by Tom Briehan