Donald Trump has become the 11th president to be ousted from the White House after only serving only one term in office.
Trump loss to to Democrat rival Joe Biden saw him join the dreaded single-term president’s club – and made him the first man to do so since George H W Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992 after just four years in office.
Most single-term presidents are Republican, with presidents at greater risk of serving only a single term if the country faces economic hardship and sharply divided public opinion – both of which have beset Trump.
George HW Bush was ousted after a single term after struggling with an economic recession and decreased focus on foreign policy. He was also unfavorably compared to Bill Clinton, who dazzled voters with his charisma and was hugely popular with black voters.
Gerald Ford, the 38th president, faced scrutiny for his pardoning of Richard Nixon and presided over the worst economy since the Great Depression in his term, which lasted from 1974 to 1977.
Trump frequently gave pardons to his supporters and political allies, with controversial grants of clemency to people like political adviser Roger Stone and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Another Republican who only served one-term was Herbert Hoover, who believed that government should stay out of relief efforts during the Great Depression from 1929 to 1933.
He was preceded by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, arguably one of the most influential US presidents, whose ‘New Deal’ stimulus plan brought America’s economy out of the gutter.
In comparison, Trump was weak on stimulus packages throughout most of the pandemic, leading Americans to struggle on their own as millions continue to be unemployed throughout the country.
And there was William Taft, a Republican president from 1909 to 1913. Theodore Roosevelt, who had already served as president and was beloved by the American people, ran against Taft as a third-party candidate to siphon votes away so that Woodrow Wilson could come away with the victory.
The only 20th century Democrat to serve one term was Jimmy Carter, from 1977 to 1981, whose anti-war policy led to American servicemen dying in a botched attempted to save hostages in Iran.
Ronald Reagan defeated Carter in a landslide victory, which brought in a new era of Republican politics that included a massive ‘war on drugs’ policy, resulting in mass incarcerations of people of color.
At the time, Carter was seen as a failure compared to Reagan’s tough stance on law and order, but the Democrat’s foreign policy has been praised today for standing up to the constant pro-war infatuation of most presidents. Carter lives quietly in Georgia and is the longest surviving US president, celebrating his 96th birthday last month.
Reagan won two terms despite facing similar condemnation to Trump for his inaction over the last new virus to cause widespread public panic – Aids. His unwillingness to even utter the name of the virus until 1985 – four years into the crisis – was blamed for dramatically increasing its death toll.
There were other single term presidents in the 1800s as well, although Democrats and Republicans were completely different parties from what they are today.
Grover Cleveland, Martin Van Buren, and John Quincy Adams were all one-term presidents that never won over the hearts of Americans to stay elected.
John Adams, one of America’s founding fathers, lost his bid for reelection in 1801 against none other than Thomas Jefferson – one of the most famous politicians in US history.
There was also Lyndon B Johnson, who wasn’t necessarily a one-term president. Former Vice President Johnson served six years at the top after his boss John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.
Johnson did not seek reelection for a second term after dealing with criticism over his handling of the Vietnam war.
One-term presidents still receive a generous retirement package, which includes a yearly pension, a staffed office and several other benefits.
It is not yet clear what Trump’s plans will be after his presidency, amid rumors the former president has long held ambitions to set up a money-spinning TV network.
America’s one-term presidents
Donald Trump: 2017 – 2021
George HW Bush: 1989 – 1993
Jimmy Carter: 1977 – 1981
Gerald Ford: 1974 – 1977
Herbert Hoover: 1929 – 1933
William Howard Taft: 1909 – 1913
Benjamin Harrison: 1889 – 1893
Grover Cleveland: 1885 – 1889
Martin Van Buren: 1837 – 1841
John Quincy Adams: 1825 – 1829
John Adams: 1797 – 1801
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