As we look at the American presidency as it has developed over the years, we see a large number of our presidents and presidential candidates come from large states, especially New York and California.
In recent times we have seen former Governors Nelson Rockefeller and George Pataki and former Sen. Hillary Clinton all run as candidates for president from New York. In 2020, it looks like Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be looking to run for president in the Democratic Party.
In California, we have seen former Gov. Ronald Reagan, and former Sen. Richard Nixon become presidents.
Governor Jerry Brown of California ran for president in the Democratic primary.
Both Republican Theodore Roosevelt and Democrat Franklin Roosevelt became presidents from New York, with Theodore Roosevelt serving almost two terms and Franklin Roosevelt serving three terms and beginning a fourth term before he died.
There are significant reasons why New York and California present candidates so frequently. They are large centers of population and feature large financial establishments. The cultural fabric of our nation also comes, to a large extent, from these two states. Much of the major party organizations exist in New York and California.
When we look at 2016, we had two candidates, both from New York, at the top of the two major parties. As we view last year’s race for president between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, it was one of the hardest fought campaigns that existed in our country since political campaigns began.
One example of the importance of New York and California occurred in 1964 when Nelson Rockefeller and Barry Goldwater ran in the Republican primary. Goldwater won the California primary by carrying the two southernmost counties, Los Angeles and Orange. Barry Goldwater, although he lost the northern part of the state, carried the two most southern counties by a 3-1 majority. However, he went on to lose the general election to incumbent President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat.
If Andrew Cuomo gets into the Democratic primary for president in the year 2020 and wins the nomination, and Donald Trump runs for reelection, we will again see two New York candidates running for president.
Having two major candidates run for president from New York, twice in four years, is something new in American politics. It again shows the prominence of New York in presidential races.
Donald Trump lost New York, but had a lot of support here. Hillary Clinton won New York, but lost the battleground states to Trump.
New York and California stand out in presidential campaigns and will continue to do so.