2021 ‘Presidential First Names’ Standings and Inauguration Open Thread




With Inauguration Day coming in 100 hours , it’s time to revise the standings for “Most Frequent Presidential First Names” race!  (Note that this is not the same as “Most Popular“; if it were,

Woodrow? No.  Lyndon? No!  Millard? NOOOOO!!!  (Love Fillmore’s facial expression, though!  Much more contemporary looking than Wilson’s!)

Here are the new standings as of noon on Wednesday, presented in chronological order of first use:

George – 3
John – 4
Thomas – 1
James – 6
Andrew – 2
Martin – 1
William – 4
Zachary – 1
Millard – 1
Franklin – 2
Abraham – 1
Ulysses – 1
Rutherford – 1
Chester – 1
Grover – 1
Benjamin – 1
Theodore – 1
Woodrow – 1
Warren – 1
Calvin – 1
Herbert – 1
Harry – 1
Dwight – 1
Lyndon – 1
Richard – 1
Gerald -1
Ronald -1
Barack -1
Donald -1
Joseph -1

Tomorrow’s inauguration of Joseph R. Biden means that one of what scholars deemed the “Nine Surprise Omissions” can now be scratched off of the list — an event not seen since 1969’s deletion of “Richard” from what were then the “Ten” such omissions.  Remaining as what will be called the “Eight Surprise Omissions” are: Charles, David, Henry, Mark, Matthew, Michael, Paul, Peter … and every women’s name ever.  “Michael” had long been presumed to be the favorite to be the next to break its losing streak — but now, thanks to the Secretary of State, that prospect strikes pure terror in the hearts of most voters.

While “George” of course got off to an early head start in this competition, it languished for almost two centuries before it recurred.  (Though that’s better than the third President’s name, “Thomas,” which has never recurred.)  The second President name, “John,” had once dominated the contest (though some note that he arguably cheated, in naming his son) for many years, but in 1993 it fell to a tie for second place with “William,” the name of the otherwise evanescent ninth President.

The leader of the pack continues to be “James,” the name that the fourth President shared with his less luminary protege, the fifth President.  Since that illustrious start, though, it has been most notable for describing Presidents he served no more than one term: Polk, Buchanan, Garfield, and Carter.  (In Garfield’s case, much less than one.)

In terms of which President’s name has served the most years in office (defined for this purpose as rounded to the closest half year): “James” has 28 and “George” has 20, but “Franklin” rises into a tie with “John” for the #3 spot with 16.  “Andrew” and “William” tie for fifth place with 12, two shortened by early deaths.

We will keep you informed on new developments as they develop.

For those following it, the Most Frequent Presidential Surnames race will continue to be a tie between Adams, Harrison, Johnson, Roosevelt, and Bush — with a 34-way tie for second place.)

About Greg Diamond

Somewhat verbose attorney, semi-retired due to disability, residing in northwest Brea. Occasionally runs for office against bad people who would otherwise go unopposed. Got 45% of the vote against Bob Huff for State Senate in 2012; Josh Newman then won the seat in 2016. In 2014 became the first attorney to challenge OCDA Tony Rackauckas since 2002; Todd Spitzer then won that seat in 2018. Every time he's run against some rotten incumbent, the *next* person to challenge them wins! He's OK with that. Corrupt party hacks hate him. He's OK with that too. He does advise some local campaigns informally and (so far) without compensation. (If that last bit changes, he will declare the interest.)