The Democrats have been making rebellious noises of late. Some of them have been saying that President Carter will not be, cannot be, or should not be renominated.

However, when the chips are down, both parties usually work but compromises that placate their rebels.

The party faithful realize that their first and highest duty is to be reelected and hold on to their jobs. Ideological differences must be put aside until after the election is won.

So the odds favor Mr. Carter's renomination, and historic precedent indicates that he also has a good chance to be reelected.

Except for John F. Kennedy, whose term was cut short by death. I can think of no recent Democratic president who did not serve more than four years. Incumbents who are rejected for nomination are rare.

In fact, I think you would have to go back to Franklin Pierce (1853) or James Buchanan (1857) to find a Democratic president who was elected to office and lived to see himself denied renomination for a second term. (Buchanan "retired"" at the end of fours years because things were going to pot so rapidly he couldn't have been renominated.)

A political party is reluctant to deny renomination to an incumbent who wants another term. That would be an admission of inadequacy. Even Herbert Hoover was renominated, despite the fact that millions of voters blamed him for the Great Depression.

For the party in power, bad times offer bad choices. The party can repudiate its leader, which is certainly not a good foundation on which to build a winning campaign. Or it can stick with an incumbent who is being heavily criticized, and try to persuade the voters that nobody could have done better in coping with worldwide problems.

The usual choice has been to stick with your man and campaign hard.

So, barring the arrival of a Hoover-type depression in the next year, history indicates that Jimmy Carter will be the Democratic nominee, and that he has better than an even chance to win the election as well.

But don't bet on it. Sometimes history speaks with forked tongue.