Mitt Romney announced to his supporters this morning that he will not seek the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination. His reasons are a bit murky; he said that he wanted to “go out on top,” and, currently leading in the polls, feels that he has done that. Whatever. It is a good decision and I applaud him for it. The only times in recent history when one of our major parties has re-nominated a candidate who lost the prior election were in 1956, when the Democrats served up Adlai Stevenson as a sacrificial lamb, and 1948, when Thomas Dewey snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Not inspiring precedents.
Now someone just needs to have a serious conversation with Jeb Bush, and then the campaign can begin in earnest.
UPDATE: A reader points out that Richard Nixon was re-nominated in 1968 after losing in 1960. He doesn’t quite fit the category, not having lost “the prior election,” but is at least an honorary member of the list. Of course, by 1968 he was the “new Nixon,” so there’s that. If Romney decides to run in 2020 we can consider the Nixon precedent.