Democrats, have no fear! There's history to be made

Story highlights

  • Peat Seat: No matter who it is, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president would make history if elected
  • Even if Hillary Clinton doesn't get the nomination, a victory by the party's choice would be notable

Pete Seat is the author of "The War on Millennials" and a senior project manager at the Indianapolis-based Hathaway Strategies. He is a former deputy assistant press secretary to President George W. Bush. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)No matter who it is, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president would make history if elected.

Sure, Hillary Clinton's hypothetical inauguration gets all the glory for the mere possibility that she might be the first woman to crack the presidential glass ceiling, but what if her campaign ultimately implodes? How will Democrats make history then? Never fear! Clinton's fellow Democrats could make all sorts of history, too. Yes, even Martin O'Malley.

Not since Buchanan: Snapping Democratic dry spell

    Pete Seat
    James Buchanan's 1857 inauguration was the last time a Democrat was elected to succeed a Democrat. Think about how remarkable that is for a moment. In the same 158 years, Republicans have succeeded Republicans five times, yet no Democrat has been able to do so. Not one. Clinton, O'Malley, Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, if elected, would defy that Cubs-like drought. (Of course, two Democrats in the 20th century, Harry Truman and Lyndon Johnson, were elected in their own right when they succeeded presidents who died in office, FDR and JFK.)

    Not since Buchanan #2: Turning back generational clock

    Electing Biden or Sanders would give Democrats another not-since-Buchanan historical moment in turning the generational clock back. Typically, we either stay within the same generation (i.e., choosing Baby Boomer Barack Obama over the Silent Generation's John McCain to take over for Boomer George W. Bush) or electorally pass the torch to the next group (i.e., opting for the first-of-the-Boomers Bill Clinton over the Greatest Generation's George H.W. Bush). Biden and Sanders would be an exception to the longstanding trend as both would be Silents replacing a Boomer.

    Not since ever: The first Silent

    Speaking of the Silent Generation, Biden and Sanders could also make history considering no one born between 1925 and 1945 has been elected, let alone become through ascension, president. A total of four representatives of the Silent Generation have been nominated by their respective parties -- Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis, John Kerry and McCain -- and each went on to lose. Either Biden or Sanders, however, could redeem the generation and give their brethren an opportunity to put an historic stamp on the presidency.

    Not since ever #2: Largest age difference

    Sticking with the topic of age, Clinton, Biden and Sanders would also take the crown for the largest gap in age between a younger outgoing and an older incoming president. Clinton is 13 years, 9 months and 9 days older than Obama, whereas Biden is 18 years, 8 months and 15 days older and Sanders is 1 year, 2 months and 12 days older than that.
    Any of them would break a record that was once held by Buchanan who was 13 years, 214 days older than his predecessor, Franklin Pierce, when taking office. That particular record held for nearly 124 years until Ronald Reagan replaced Jimmy Carter, a man 13 years, 238 days his junior (only three times has the gap been more than a decade when an older president replaced a younger one).
    In a campaign in which Republicans are messaging the future versus the past in an attempt to counter the perception that the party is little more than angry old white men, could this nugget hurt Democrats (other than the 52-year-old O'Malley) in the long run? Or could the Democrats channel their inner Reagan and swat a young Republican away like The Great Communicator did to Mondale?

    Not since ever #3: Oldest president in history

    Staying with the theme, we have elected seven presidents in their 60s (John Adams, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan), but never one in his 70s. A President Biden or a President Sanders would therefore be both the first septuagenarian and the oldest president in U.S. history. Incidentally, Biden was the sixth-youngest person to ever occupy a U.S. Senate seat. Clinton, on the other hand, would come in as the second-oldest president in history, just eight months shy of Reagan's record.

    Not since ever #4: Back-to-back-to-back two-termers?

    Finally, here's some fun news for both parties. Regardless of who wins the White House in 2016, whether it be a Republican or a Democrat, the new president could make history on January 20, 2021. That is assuming he or she wins a second term.
    Or in the case of Biden, that he actually runs for a second term, assuming he runs at all. Never before in the history of America have four presidents served two terms consecutively. The trios of Thomas Jefferson-James Madison-James Monroe and Clinton-Bush-Obama are the only back-to-back-to-back two-termers.
    See, Democrats, no need to worry. If you ultimately drop Clinton like a bad habit, you might make history after all.