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Ask Civics 101: Is It Legal For Donald Trump To Run For President Again?

Sara Plourde/NHPR

Today's Ask Civics 101 question: "Can Trump legally run for president again?"

Read on for the answer.

Do you have a question for the Civics 101 team? Click here to submit it.

Today we answer a question from listener Rick: "Can Trump legally run for president again?"

The short answer is yes.

But it would be against long odds. Only one president has been able to secure a non-consecutive second term. That lucky guy was Grover Cleveland - the 22nd and 24th President. We’ll get to him in a moment.

George Washington’s decision to only serve two terms set a convention for presidential terms that held for 150 years. But after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt served four terms in office, Congress grew concerned about executive tyranny. So the 22nd amendment was passed, which limited presidents to two terms.

“No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of President more than once.“

Presidential term limits are now a constitutional requirement. However, there's nothing stipulated about whether they have to be consecutive.

That brings us back to the only non-consecutive two-term president, Mr. Grover Cleveland. He was elected to the nation's highest office in 1885. But he lost the electoral vote to Benjamin Harrison in 1888 (even though he won the popular vote). He came back in 1892,  and denied Harrison a second term .

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So far, Cleveland is the only guy to clinch a non-consecutive term, but not for lack of trying. Several other presidents sought nonconsecutive terms. Among them are Woodrow Wilson, Ulysses Grant, Theodore Roosevelt, and Herbert Hoover.

What was the difference between those guys and Cleveland? As any Instagram influencer can tell you, the key is staying in the spotlight.  Cleveland wasn’t content to fade into the background. He maintained relationships with politicians and granted many newspaper interviews (the pre-internet version of Tweeting).

One thing we all know is that Donald Trump is pretty good at staying in the public eye. He has dominated the headlines since announcing his run for office in 2015.

As of now, Trump hasn’t officially announced he will run in 2024, but he has people speculating about a video in which he states, “It's been an amazing four years. We are trying to do another four years. Otherwise, I'll see you in four years."

Another key factor? Money. Trump  has raised $200 million since election day that he could use for a future race.

If you have any questions for Civics 101 right now, send them our way! We’re here for you.

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