Notes from the US elections of 2020

If you have not heard of the Curse of Tippecanoe, you can look it up:

More details here:

Also Joe Biden (born 20/11/1942) will be the oldest President (78+) at the time of his inauguration on 20/01/2021. The previous record was 70+ by Donald Trump when he was sworn in on 20/01/2017. Ronald Reagan was 73+ when he was sworn in for the second time on 20/01/1985.

Joe Biden was born before 4 of his predecessors (Clinton, Bush (Jr), Obama and Trump.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter continues his run as the longest-lived President. He crossed 97 on Oct 1, 2021

Joe Biden becomes the second Catholic President after JFK (1961-63).

He emulated Richard Nixon and George Bush (Sr) by being elected Vice-President twice and then becoming President.

He may be the first incoming President to have a railway station named after him:

Along with POTUS and VPOTUS, there are normally FLOTUS and SLOTUS: the First Lady and Second Lady. For the first time there will be a First Gentleman. Douglas Emhoff becomes the first Jewish person to be either President, Vice-president or spouse of either.

Looking more closely as the outgoing and incoming FLOTUSs:

Melania Trump has some claims to fame: “In March 2001 she became a permanent resident of the U.S. She married the businessman, real estate developer and television personality Donald Trump in January 2005, gave birth to their son Barron in March 2006, and obtained U.S. citizenship in July 2006.After Louisa Adams, she is the second First Lady to have been born outside the country (not counting those born in U.S. territory before the country existed), the first one to be a naturalized citizen and the first whose native language is not English.”

As for her successor-she is the first First Lady with Italian ancestry and the first with a PhD. This is the second marriage for both her and her husband.

While there have been several Presidents named John (hence Jack), she is the first Jill among First Ladies.

Thinking the unthinkable-the US presidential line of succession

The status of President Trump’s health remains unclear. We all know that if he is incapacitated, Vice-President Mike Pence will officiate. What if something happens to him?

Not to worry. Unlike in many other countries, there is a long line of succession specified:

As you may know, President Trump is 74+, Vice-President Pence is 61+. It gets interesting after that. More in a moment.

The term of the current President and Vice-President end on January 20, 2021 at noon. If re-elected, their next term will start afresh. If not, the next President and Vice-President will take office then and things return to normal.

If the incumbent President was to die or be incapacitated, the Vice-President will become president and would continue after January 20 if re-elected. In due course a new Vice-President would be selected after the usual confirmation process.

Now we look at the line of succession.

3rd in line is the Democrat Nancy Pelosi (age 80+) who is Speaker of the House of Representatives. Her term ends on Dec 31, 2020 and it is unlikely that she would be elected again even if the Democrats were to gain a majority in the House. And she may not wish to take this responsibility.

Then there is the 4th in line, the Republican Chuck Grassley (age 87+) who is President “pro tempore” of the Senate. His term as Senator will end at the end of 2022, so there is no impediment to him temporarily becoming President. But he will still be younger than PM Mahathir Mohamad who was elected PM when past 92.

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Not to forget

Probably we should stop here. Present indications are that the Biden-Harris team will win with a large majority in the electoral college. And that the detailed polls show that Democrats are likely to get a majority in the House and probably in the Senate as well.


It may also be useful to read Irving Wallace’s 1964 novel “The Man”, in which the President Pro Tempore of the Senate becomes President after the President, Vice-President and Speaker depart in various ways. “The Man” is Black. And it is 1964.

Even in the 1970s this novel was considered to be a fantasy. No one told that to Barack Obama.