We will hear it said countless times over the next two years that American voters get tired of the incumbent president's party in the White House after two terms, and as a rule turn to the opposing party after the second term.  In fact, since  the late 1890's, voters have demonstrated no great zeal for throwing out the incumbent party.  Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham Clinton3 ways government can help clean up Twitter Intelligence Democrat: Stop using 'quid pro quo' to describe Trump allegations The Memo: Bloomberg's 2020 moves draw ire from Democrats MORE may have challenges, but this is not one of them. 

Political scientists cite George H.W. Bush as the exception, winning on the heels of Ronald Reagan's two terms.  But let's look closely at the record of the candidates of the party of an outgoing two-term president.  

William McKinley (R) was elected twice, in 1896 and 1900.  Following his assassination, his vice president, Theodore Roosevelt (R) was elected, and then succeeded by William Taft (R), a Republican like his two predecessors.  Republican Herbert Hoover won in 1928, after two consecutive Republican terms in the White House.  Franklin D. Roosevelt(D), of course, won four consecutive terms himself, starting in 1932, and Harry Truman(D) was elected in 1948, a fifth straight Democratic administration. 

Following Dwight Eisenhower's two terms, Vice President Richard Nixon (R) came within a hair's breadth of succeeding him.  Granted,  he lost, but by 119,000  votes, not the act of an electorate intent on ousting the incumbent president's party.  While the 1968 and 1976 elections both saw the out party prevail after two terms of the opposing party, in both cases the loser came within two percentage points of the winner, again, not exactly a repudiation of the incumbent party.  And most famously, Al GoreAlbert (Al) Arnold GoreKrystal Ball hits media over questions on Sanders's electability Democratic handwringing hits new highs over 2020 2020 general election debates announced MORE (D) beat George W. Bush (R) by over 530,000 votes in 2000, following the two term presidency of Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDemocrats debate how to defeat Trump: fight or heal As impeachment goes public, forget 'conventional wisdom' Legacy of California's Prop. 187 foreshadows GOP's path ahead MORE (D), so it can hardly be said that the public chose to toss out the incumbent party by giving its candidate over a half million more votes than his opponent.

There are handsome wins by the out party after two or more terms of the other party, of course.  The elections of 1932, 1952, 1992, and 2008 represent examples.  Yet they tend to be more the exception than the rule compared to the contrary history since 1896.  

Naturally, there are variables galore that contribute to presidential election outcomes, and they will be analyzed to death between now and the 2016 presidential elections.  It is a certainty that we will see reference to the supposed tendency of the two-term incumbent party to be shown the door.  Election results, however, show that the notion of a decided  pendulum swing away from the incumbent party is more fiction than fact. Getting elected president will not be a walk in the park for Hillary, but she need not worry about a supposed pattern of turning to the out party after two terms -- it is a "pattern" that does not hold up to scrutiny.       

Goodstein is the principle of Goodstein & Associates, a Washington-based law and lobbying firm.