There have been plenty of politicians throughout the years who have revealed they have no aspirations of being the President of the United States of America. There are even people who have no background in politics, but enough felt like that person should be the leader of the country. One of the biggest examples was Donald Trump, who developed enough of a following to actually become president when he officially ran on the Republican ticket.
Trump isn’t the only Republican who people have wanted to run for president. There have been many instances of others who either ended up surprisingly not winning their election, or didn’t run altogether. Here are five members of the Republican party who could have been president had they run a serious and official campaign.
When we hear the name William Seward, we tend to think of “Seward’s Folly” which historians have said was never actually a popular phrase in the 19th century. What we’re referring to is when William H. Seward was serving as the 24th United States Secretary of State and oversaw the treaty that led to the U.S. purchasing Alaska from Russia. Some saw it as useless land at the time, but Alaska has proven to be a valuable asset for the country.
Seward had a long political career, getting his start as the Governor of New York from 1839 until the end of 1842. He then served as a U.S. Senator representing New York before becoming Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln. Seward had moved from the Whig to Republican Party in the 1850s and was primed to actually become president instead of Lincoln in 1860. Seward withdrew from the race, worked for Lincoln, and decided to step aside for Ulysses S. Grant in the following election.
Robert A. Taft
If the name Taft sounds familiar, it’s because Robert Taft was the son of the 27th President, William Howard Taft. His son had become quite a popular politician of his own during the 1930s through the early 1950s, and was so ingrained into the Republican Party that he was once dubbed “Mr. Republican”.
Taft was a state representative early on in his political career, and toward the end of the 1930s he represented the state of Ohio at the U.S. Senate. He became Senate Majority Leader for the final few months of his time in the Senate and attempted to run for President multiple times. Unfortunately for Taft, when Republicans felt he was finally ready to be the top candidate, he succumbed to pancreatic cancer at 63 years old.
The amount of overall experience that the late Colin Powell gave him a resume that’s almost unmatched. Powell began his military career in 1958 with the United States Army and worked his way up to the rank of General. Powell served in three wars and became a member of the Republican Party in 1995.
Powell was the U.S. National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan, then became the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He went on to become Secretary of State under George W. Bush but never ran for the White House himself. Instead, he gave his full support to John McCain in 2008 and didn’t support anyone in 2016.
Powell wasn’t the only one to serve as Secretary of State for George W. Bush as Condoleezza Rice took over from 2005 until 2009. Rice was also the U.S. National Security Advisory and registered as a Republican after spending her early life as a Democrat.
Rice has plenty of experience in politics and business throughout her career, though it seems that she’s been more interested in the world of sports as she serves as part of the College Football Playoff Committee. She shot down rumors that she will run for president, saying that she’s a “policy maker, not a politician.”
Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has changed his political affiliations a handful of times throughout his business career, but in more recent years has shown his Republican side. After his foray into social media (purchasing Twitter), many of his followers felt that he would be a good candidate for President on the Republican ticket.
There’s just one small problem, however. Musk was born in Pretoria, South Africa, thus disqualifying him as he’s not a natural-born United States citizen. There is a technicality that he could become Vice President, but a lot of electoral college rarities that have never happened before would need to fall in place, so don’t hold your breath.