Succession to the big job

During a conversation over coffee this afternoon an interesting question was posed, “How many US Vice Presidents have gone on to be President?”. Now there some easy answers: George H.W. Bush (Vice to Ronald Reagan), Gerald Ford (Vice to Tricky Dicky Nixon) and Lyndon B. Johnson (Vice to JFK – promotion facilitated through 2nd gunman on grassy knoll) but the answer to the question is actually 14 (full detail below)

If you observe American politics without being at all expert (we are in this box) it seems the choice of VP is less to do with true succession and more to do with electoral mathematics. Does the other person carry the North/South? Are they strong with the party base/religious right/east coast liberals? Rather than being about the fitness of the individual to actually take over the job in the case where succession is needed it’s more about politics than leadership it seems.

Also, from the individuals’ perspective we imagine that often the carrot to ‘balance the ticket’ and become the running mate is about personal ambition and the desire to one day ascend to the top job. Given that Mr Obama is the 44th job holder it’s less than 33% chance they will actually get the top job and given of the 14 only 5 have got the job through winning an election it does seem crazy that anyone ever accepts that argument…nice plane though 😉

Anyway, enough of this….who wants a team build??!

VPs who ‘stepped up’

John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, Gerald Ford

VPs who ran and won

John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren, Richard M. Nixon and George H. W. Bush

(Source: Wikipedia)

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