Jeremy M. Teigen
Why Veterans Run
Military Service in American Presidential Elections, 1789-2016
Temple University Press 2018
Will the military background of Tulsi Gabbard and Tammy Duckworth lead them to a presidential nomination in 2020 or 2024? If the past is any guide, the answer is a strong maybe. More than half of presidential candidates across US political history have been veterans in some form, according to Jeremy M. Teigen’s new book Why Veterans Run: Military Service in American Presidential Elections, 1789-2016 (Temple University Press, 2018).
In the book, Teigen tracks eras in American political history to show the rising and falling success of military veterans in presidential politics. From Washington to Roosevelt to Eisenhower, there are many examples of successful military veterans; a paradox given the aversion to a close relationship between the military and civil government expressed clearly at the country’s founding. Parties seem to favor veterans, choosing a veteran as one of the two candidates in 60 percent of presidential races. Teigen unpacks these data and suggests why this has been the case in the past and what it portends for the future.
Teigen is professor of political science at Ramapo College in New Jersey.