Kerry Rerun? Don't Count on It
The last Democrat to be nominated again despite losing a Presidential election was Adlai Stevenson back in 1956. He had lost to Eisenhower in 1952, who was widely perceived as unbeatable; both parties had courted him to run for the White House under their banner. And of course in 1956, the Democratic nominee had to be another sacrificial lamb against Ike, so the "A" list Democrats were sitting on the sidelines. The Democrats did not go with Stevenson again in 1960, although he made an attempt.
There is something sensible about renominating a candidate who has lost in a race against someone seen as unbeatable. However, this time around, Democrats certainly did not view Bush as unbeatable (although with over 60 million votes he may well have been). They thought they should win this race easily.
Since Stevenson, losing Democrats have been Humphrey, McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry. Humphrey was the only one of Kerry's predecessors to run again, so far, although Gore looks to be angling for the position of spokesman for the angry left next time around.
Hillary's running, that's almost certain. Gore will be in. Bayh? Dean? Edwards is a certainty. Another way to look at it is what constituency in the party will Kerry command? In 2004, he appealed to the ABB group, which will not be around next time. Dean or Gore will be marshalling the troops of the left. Hillary will control the feminists, the minorities and the teachers. Edwards will command the trial lawyers. About the only group really up for grabs are the unions and we saw how well they delivered in the primaries for Dick Gephardt.