The trend is that the next person nominated is usually something completely different from the last person nominated. Stating the obvious, but something interesting could still happen this year.
2000: Al Gore was not the smooth talking “I feel your pain” guy like Clinton portrayed himself as. Still a southerner, but appeared more robotic which came off cold to some. If people wanted to pick a guy that was less likely to have personal misconduct, one could argue he was the one. Then Gore lost.
2004: Because Democrats had done southerners for the past few cycles, it was always going to be the case that John Edwards had no chance. He did place 2nd, but if it wasn’t John Kerry, a northerner with a distinguished military record and years of political experience, it would have been somebody else. Then Kerry lost.
2008: Democrats did an experienced northern guy the last cycle, so there was never any chance for Joe Biden or Chris Dodd. It was always going to be somebody new, it was always going to be somebody fresh. In comes Barack Obama, wins the nomination, becomes president.
2016: Hillary Clinton was probably about as different as you could get from Barack Obama. White woman, years of experience, etc. Then Hillary lost.
It’s going to be an interesting conclusion here. If we were to go by “the trend”, you would expect the next person nominated would be younger (like a Bill Clinton was at his time), not have a really long history in politics (like a Barack Obama), and/or not a woman. The tricky thing we have here, is there might be up to 3 women that run for president in 2020, if not more.
We want to believe we’ve looked past gender, looked past race, and can all choose to just distinguish people on their own merits from now on. But considering Democrats have done back to back “non-traditional” candidates, it would not be surprising to expect a pendulum swing back to what’s been “the traditional”, even though America is trying to progress towards a new traditional of anybody at any time.
But given the uncertainty, this gives a “traditional” candidate like Joe Biden a big advantage, and an even bigger advantage would be a younger charismatic white male candidate that has not yet announced himself. Though having said all that, it’s possible an Elizabeth Warren or a Kamala Harris may have just enough charisma to overcome the trend.
But there are other challenges that might prevent these two from winning, which you’ll enjoy reading in the future.