After a presidential election, the winner gets to live in the White House. The loser doesn't, but life goes on - even political life.
"I'll be working with the people of Massachusetts," said Michael Dukakis, who would have preferred to work with the people of the whole country. He is one of the majority of losers in recent years who either had a political home to return to or who wasted no time finding another one.Quick now, name the losers of presidential campaigns in the last 40 years and their fate after failing to get the big prize.
For the record, they were Republican Thomas E. Dewey in 1948; Democrat Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956; Republican Richard Nixon in 1960; Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964; Democrat Hubert Humphrey in 1968; Democrat George McGovern in 1972; Republican Gerald Ford in 1976; Democrat Jimmy Carter in 1980, and Democrat Walter Mondale in 1984.
With the exception of Ford and Carter, who occupy a special place because they lost after being in the White House, and Mondale, each of the losers continued in public service. Mondale may yet run for the Senate again in 1990.
Harry Truman, who chose not to run for a second elected term, once described the fate that awaits former presidents.
"Most people never stop to think about what happens to a man who has been president of the United States," he wrote in "Mr. Citizen." "The day he is elected president he suddenly finds himself at the top of the world, where he sits for a while, holding the destinies of millions in his hands, making decisions that change the course of history, conferring with rulers and the leaders of nations.
"Then just as suddenly he is again at the level of John Jones, who lives next door."
Carter became the man next door by moving back to Plains, Ga., but not as a peanut farmer. Instead, he took up woodworking, traveling, meeting world leaders, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, becoming a visiting professor at Emory University and devoting time to the Carter Presidential Center where he hosts international conferences.
Ford went straight from the White House onto the golf course - he played in the Bing Crosby Pro-Am Tournament the day after Carter's inauguration - and has lived the easy-going life ever since.
He also turned into a one-man corporation, lending his name to boards of directors, lecturing for fees of $15,000 and more, entering into a partnership to buy radio stations and receiving $1 million for his memoirs.
Ford opposed Ronald Reagan's 1980 bid for election and encouraged other challengers, toyed for a time with entering the race himself, and for one day at the Republican convention looked as if he might be Reagan's choice for vice president.
Mondale's disappearance from the spotlight has been so complete that Democrats rarely mention him.
"Oh, I miss it a little," he said in Atlanta during the Democratic National Convention, but added: "You know, I had my say, and I don't miss the 18-hour days."
Mondale practices law in Washington and Minneapolis and there's been some talk - not from him - that he may try to reclaim his Senate seat from Minnesota in 1990.
The other presidential losers took their lumps and started anew.
After his second consecutive defeat for president, in 1948, Dewey said, "I have been graduated at a comparatively early age to the role of elder statesman, which someone has aptly defined as a politician who is no longer a candidate for any office."
A year later he wrote a friend: "Nothing could arise now or in the future that would lead me to be the nominee of our party in 1952. My decision on this matter is as certain and final as death and the staggering New Deal taxes."
After more such disclaimers, he ran in 1950 for his third term as governor of New York and won. Dewey died in 1971.
Stevenson, the eloquent but reluctant Democratic candidate in 1952 and 1956, was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, a post he held until his death in 1965.
When he lost the second time, Stevenson recalled the Lincoln line that he felt like a little boy who had stubbed his toe in the dark: "Too old to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh."
After losing to Kennedy in 1960, Nixon returned to California to practice law and pressures began to build on him to run for governor in 1962.
"The real problem was that I had no great desire to be governor of California," he wrote of his defeat in that race. And yet, he was bitter enough about losing the he snarled at reporters: "You won't have Nixon to kick aroung anymore, because, gentlemen, this is may last press conference."
It wasn't, of course, and Nixon spent the next six years earning the Republican chips that he would cash in to be elected president in 1968.
Goldwater cooled his political heels for four years after his loss to Lyndon Johnson, then was re-elected to the Senate without the seniority he had built up in the previous two terms.
He remained the voice of conservatives, once characterizing a Carter presidential announcement of plans for recognition of China as "10 minutes that lived in infamy."
Humphrey, who had been vice president for four years when he lost to Nixon in 1968, spent a little while as a professor at macalester College and the University of Minnesota, then won back his Senate seat in 1970. He ran again for the Democratic nomination in 1972 but withdrew in the face of overwhelming odds at the party's convention. He died of cancer in 1978.
McGovern, the South Dakota senator who won that nomination, stayed in the Senate until 1980 when he lost his seat. He made a third try for the presidency in 1984 in a primary campaign that lasted less than six months before he dropped out.
There is a reward for loyal service, even for candidates who lose.
In 1970, Nixon persuaded a millionaire, two-term Houston congressman to give up his safe seat to run for the Senate against businessman Lloyd Bentsen. The congressman lost.
But Nixon didn't leave the loser out in the cold. A month after the election, Nixon personally announced that the defeated congressman would be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
"It's a great and awesome responsibility," said the news ambassador, George Bush. "I consider myself a very lucky guy."