Of the two major party presidential candidates, one gets to be president and the runner-up…has to find something else to do.
Mitt Romney (2012)
A month after he lost to President Barack Obama, Romney joined the board of directors of the Marriott hotel chain, as well as a partner for a Boston capital investment firm that was owned by Tagg Romney, his son.
Adlai Stevenson (1952, 1956)
Stevenson was the Democratic nominee twice, and lost to Dwight Eisenhower twice. (He tried to run again in 1960 but was defeated in the primaries by John F. Kennedy.) In 1957 he started law firms in Washington, D.C. and New York, and then served as a legal consultant to the Encyclopedia Britannica. From 1960 until his death five years later, Stevenson was the United States’ ambassador to the United Nations.
Bob Dole (1996)
Dole gave up a U.S. Senate seat he’d held for more than 25 years to run for president. After he lost, he became a commercial spokesman for Pepsi and Viagra. And along with another presidential also-ran (George McGovern, 1972), he founded the International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, which provides school lunches to children in more than 40 developing nations.
Walter Mondale (1984)
The former Vice President and Minnesota senator lost to popular president Ronald Reagan in a landslide, carrying only Washington, D.C. and his home state. Mondale then returned to Minnesota and practiced law until President Clinton named him the U.S.’s ambassador to Japan in 1993. In 2002, Mondale returned to politics, unsuccessfully running for his old Senate seat, which was vacant after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash two weeks before a re-election bid.