No one ever has a great second term. Historically, a second presidential term almost always ends with sagging poll numbers, a down economy, or worse, a feckless and lame-duck White House that suffers from “short timers disease.”
Oh, sure, you could go back to the first few presidents (Washington, Jefferson, Madison), who all enjoyed 2nd terms, but that was then, when time was much slower and it took weeks (not hours) for people travel to Washington. When it took weeks, not hours, to tabulate votes.
Mostly, and for good reason, the position of president should only be four years, and for the same reason that members of Congress should only serve one, or two terms.
Term limits are a good thing for American politics, they ensure new ideas and eliminate career politicians who generate lobbyist power the longer they remain.
Trump not winning a second term means he can brag forever about having a great first term. It means not having to say you are sorry for a horrible second term when you own a bad economy, and you have started – or not ended – any war that is most certainly going to arise due the circumstances of the world theatre.
“Quit while you are ahead,” should be the motto for any president who entertains the idea a second term. “Always leave your audience wanting more,” is an even better phrase.
History is kinder to you when you have only a one term presidency, Ronald Reagan, and possibly Franklin D. Roosevelt, are exceptions to the rule. Even Reagan, for the last two years (after his assassination attempt) was not quite as robust or confident in his remaining years. I often look at Bush 41 as Reagans third term, a continuation of policies that lost their savor, hence Bush 41 lasted four years, and history has rewarded him kindly because he had less opportunity to screw things up. Roosevelt had four terms, and historians argue even still if his “New Deal” was good, or bad for America. But Roosevelt was a great leader during World War Two, and history will be kind to him, even if some argue he waited too soon, or too late to jump into the fight with the Nazis.
I have stated that Trump supporters, and people who feel he made the country leaner, meaner and more robust should enjoy Trumps first term. And I am among those who honestly believes that, despite the incessant attacks on his character, Trump managed to do what so many politicians were not able to do, which is de-tangle the mess that was American politics (the “swamp”). Trump was beholden to no one (other than the voters) and for this, the American economy improved and we (despite what Liberals will say), are more respected abroad because Trump, unlike his predecessor, didn’t placate the world or apologize for America’s greatness as a society. With Obama, it always felt like he was embarrassed to be the president. With Trump, you got the feeling he was really proud, and his tenor and tempo echoed his pride.
But all good things come to an end, and if Trump loses his re-election bid, he will will not experience the atypical 2nd term where things get steadily worse, not because of his policies, but because of the law of diminishing returns, something of which no one is immune.
I just hope the person who wins the 2020 race is able to retain some of the achievements Trump has rightfully accomplished, for all of our sakes (deregulation, strong military, restrictive immigration policies, and especially lower taxes). Sadly, I know in my gut this will not be true, and America, despite Trumps best days, will become just like London, an old decrepit man who can longer find his teeth.
So let me at least thank President Trump now for a first term well done. History will be much kinder to you than your contemporaries, of that I am sure.