Every four years since 2000, during the fall semester, I’ve taught a college course on that year’s unfolding presidential election. In the past, it’s been fairly easy to point to a prior election year that offers illuminating historical parallels. But this time, I’m finding that the problem is not in identifying a parallel year; it’s that the best comparison election keeps changing. Below are the main contenders.
The 2000 election: Last summer, it looked like 2000 would offer an almost perfect analogy. That year, Vice President Al Gore represented continuity with the incumbent administration and faced mostly token opposition in the Democratic primaries from a respected liberal sitting senator, Bill Bradley (N.J.). The Republican side was more heavily contested, but it seemed most likely that a son of former President George H.W. Bush would prevail.
However, this relatively placid 2000 parallel has long since fallen apart: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is proving much more formidable than Bradley, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is already out of the running for the Republican nomination, and many other factors have come into play.
Continue reading at The Hill.