Going into 2016, Democrats seem to face a daunting challenge in holding the presidency for a third consecutive term. Indeed, this feat has only been accomplished once since 1950, when George H.W. Bush succeeded the highly popular Ronald Reagan in 1988. However, a closer look at the historical record may give Democrats more reason for hope.
Looking back, long runs of single-party dominance were once the norm in American politics. Republicans won four consecutive terms between 1896 and 1908, and three more in the 1920s. The Democrats then had a five-term juggernaut from 1932 to 1948.
Granted, this was a long time ago, and these streaks followed turning-point elections that produced enduring political realignments heavily favoring one party over the other, namely Republicans after 1896 and then Democrats after 1932. In recent decades, the two major parties have been more evenly matched and have more regularly alternated in the White House.
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