Even with Donald Trump in the White House, there has been a remarkable stability with Presidents. In the last 40 years, no one has left office through unnatural means. Presidents have died in office in 1841, 1850, 1865, 1881, 1901, 1923, 1945 and 1963. Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace in 1974. You could argue that we’re due for something weird happening and a Vice President getting a promotion (even if the concept of things being due is based on a misunderstanding of statistics, but I digress.)
This got me thinking about how the next presidential succession might happen. There is an argument that death is less likely than severe health problems or a President resigning in disgrace.
The secret service has gotten very good at avoiding assassinations, and Americans are living longer (to say nothing of Presidents, who tend to have excellent medical care.) Although in a world where Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are considered potential Presidential nominees the next time, and a seventy year old man won the White House in his first campaign for political office, it’s possible that we’ll have an older President, which comes with a greater chance of death. In 2013, the Onion had a piece with “Donald Trump” reminding readers that, due to the actuarial math, he’ll likely be dead in 15-20 years.
Things that were fatal decades ago might not kill Presidents now, but could leave them incapacitated. That could lead to a resignation for medical reasons.
Only one President has been forced to resign in disgrace, but that may be something we’re going to see more of in the future. There’s more surveillance and less media gatekeepers, so if a President engages in wrongdoing, the odds are higher that there will be some kind of proof, and that would reach the general public. On the other hand, a presidential candidate was caught on video saying he’s a rich, powerful man and can grab women by the pussy, and it didn’t prevent him from getting into the White House.