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Lloyd Sealy Library
John Jay College of Criminal Justice

U.S. Elections 1972-2020: Presidents and Contenders

Guide for Library Research on US Elections from 1972-2020

US Presidents and Candidates Since 1972

This page lists elected presidents and presidential candidates for the elections from 1972-2020.

President Richard Nixon

President Richard Nixon

Richard Milhous Nixon
January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994

Richard Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. He had previously been a senator from California and vice-President under President Eisenhower. He is remembered mostly as being the first President to resign from office.

President Gerald Ford

President Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford Jr.
July 14, 1913- December 26, 2006

Gerald Ford was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974-1977. He is the only person who had been both vice-President and President without being elected to either office.

President Jimmy Carter

President Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter
October 1, 1924 - Still Alive

Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the United States, serving from 1977-1981. He had previously been a graduate of the US Naval Academy, governor of Georgia as well as a peanut farmer. He is remembered as mostly being responsible for pardoning draft dodgers, creating the Departments of Energy and Education, allowing Iran to fall to the Ayatollahs, giving away the Panama Canal, stagflation, car gasoline shortages and giving what was later known as the "Malaise speech" where he basically complained about the American people on television for an hour.

President Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan
February 6, 1911- June 5, 2004

Ronald Reagan was the 40th President of the United States, serving from 1981-1989. He had previously been a prominent actor and then governor of California. He is remembered for restoring American confidence following the disasterous Carter years, strongly improving the economy, bringing about the collapse of the Soviet Union and defeating communism.

President Georgy H.W. Bush

President George H.W. Bush

George Herbert Walker Bush 
June 12, 1924 - November 30, 2018

George H.W. Bush was the 41st President of the United States, serving from 1989 to 1993. He had previously been the Director of the CIA and vice-President under Ronald Reagan. During his presidency he launched the Persian Gulf War to drive Iraq out of Kuwait and raised taxes despite his pledge not to do so when he was running for office. He is remembered mostly as a one-term president who's son George W. Bush would also serve as president a decade after him.

President Bill Clinton

President Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton 
August 19,1946- Still Alive

Bill Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993-2001. He had previously been governor of Arkansas. He is remembered for having presided over a generally peaceful period following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the defeat of communism by his predecessors. He oversaw the outsourcing of most of American industry abroad and was impeached but not removed from office for lying about his sexual escapades.

President George W Bush

President George W Bush

George W. Bush
July 6, 1946- Still Alive

George W. Bush was the 43rd President of the United States, serving from 2001-2009. He had previously been governor of Texas. He is remembered primarily for his handling of the responses surrounded many disasters, including the 9/11 attacks, the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Hurricane Katrina, and the world financial collapse in 2008.

President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama

Barack Obama
August 4, 1961- Still Alive

Barack Obama was the 44th President of the United States, serving from 2009-2016. He had previously been state senator from Illinois. He is remembered for being the first African-American President of the United States, passing a healthcare program nicknamed "Obamacare", and winning the Nobel Prize in 2009.

President Donald J Trump

President Donald J Trump

Donald J. Trump
June 14, 1946 - Still Alive

Donald J. Trump is the 45th President fo the United States, serving since 2017. He had previously had no political experience prior to becoming president but had a long career in real estate especially in the New York/New Jersey area. He is currently favored to win reelection in 2020.

Candidate George Mcgovern

George Mcgovern

George Mcgovern
July 19, 1922- October 21, 2012

George Mcgovern was a fervently anti-Vietnam war senator from South Dakota and the Democratic candidate who ran against Richard Nixon in the 1972 election. He won 1 state (Massachusetts) and the District of Columbia. He did not win his own home state.

Candidate Walter Mondale

Walter Mondale

Walter Mondale
January 5, 1928- Still Alive

Walter Mondale was vice-President under Jimmy Carter from 1977-1981 and then Senator from Minnesota. He ran against incumbent President Ronald Reagan in 1984. He won 1 state (Minnesota, his home state) and the District of Columbia.

Candidate Michael Dukakis

Michael Dukakis

Michael Dukakis
November 3, 1933- Still Alive

Michael Dukakis was the longest serving governor in the history of the state of Massachucestts. He was the Democratic party candidate who ran against and lost to George H.W. Bush in 1988. His campaign was marked by a series of serious mistakes including looking silly while riding in a tank and saying on national television that he would be unwilling to kill a rapist even if that man had assaulted his own wife.

Candidate Ross Perot

>Ross Perot

Ross Perot
June 27,1930- July 9, 2019

Ross Perot was an businessman who ran as an independent candidate in the 1992 election and as a candidate for the Reform Party in the 1996 election. He is famously remembered for buying time on television to outline his platform and ideas in a sort of infomercial format. He is considered to have siphened enough votes from the Republican candidate in both elections and thus gave an edge to the election and reelection of the Democratic candidate, both times Bill Clinton.

Candidate Bob Dole

Bob Dole

Bob Dole
July 22, 1923- Still Alive

Bob Dole was the Senator from Kansas from 1969 to 1996. He ran against and lost to Bill Clinton in the 1996 election.

Candidate Al Gore

Al Gore

Al Gore
March 31 1948- Still Alive

Al Gore was Senator from Tennessee and vice-President under Bill Clinton. He ran for President against George W. Bush in 2000 but lost despite an extremely close margin of votes as well as lawsuits that had to be decided in the Supreme Court. He is also an environmentalist who has predicted that climate change would render the Arctic free of ice sometime between 2015-2017.

Candidate John Kerry

John Kerry

John Kerry
December 11, 1943- Still Alive

John Kerry was Senator from Massachusetts from 1985 to 2013 and the second Secretary of State of President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2017. In 2004 he unsuccesfully ran to unseat President George W. Bush from office but was unable to do so. He is mostly remembered for his over the top anti-Vietnam war activism and marrying the Heinz Ketchup heiress.

Candidate John McCain

John McCain

John McCain
August 29, 1936- August 25, 2018

John McCain was the Senator from Arizona from 1987 until his death in 2018. He was the Republican candidate for President in the 2008 election which he lost to Barack Obama.

Candidate Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney
March 12, 1947-Still Alive

Mitt Romney is the former governor of Massachusetts and the current Senator from Utah since 2019. He was the unenthusiastic Republican candidate who ran against and lost to Barack Obama in 2012. 

Candidate Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton 
October 26, 1947-Still Alive

Hillary Clinton is the former First Lady of the United States, Senator from New York from 2001 to 2009 and then President Obama's first Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. While she was widely predicted to win election as the first female President in 2016, when election day happened she actually lost to businessman and Republican candidate Donald J. Trump. His election and her dramatic loss has been considered by some to be one of the greater political upsets in US electoral history, comparible to Truman's reelection in 1948.