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article imageThere have been more Republican presidents

By Tim O'Brien     Feb 15, 2012 in Politics
As the presidential election race continues here in the states, and with Monday (Feb. 20) being Presidents' Day, it can get confusing and overwhelming, to say the least.
Yes, that is the combined day this year when the first president and the 16th are honored. Those are George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, respectively. Throw in Ronald Reagan, whose birthday is Feb. 6, and it gets murky.
Why? Presidents' Day is for two only but all of them get tossed in these days. So, let's dive in and enjoy some presidential facts, with election items, too.
First, let's get this one out of the way. There have been more vice presidents than presidents. Not to mention more Republican presidents than Democrats.
Jump in: In 1789 and 1796, 13 people garnered at least one electoral vote. Furthermore, there were 12 electoral votes not awarded in the election of 1789 when George Washington became president.
Popular, maybe not: The popular vote entered the election cycle for the first time in 1824.
Party time: If you cannot choose a party, how about two? As the country was settling in to the idea of political parties, the one called the Democrat-Republican party was a winner. Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Monroe and John Quincy Adams all won the presidency claiming that party affiliation. Can you imagine that today? However, now I know why both parties try to lay claim to Thomas Jefferson, and even the others when it suits them.
House call: The House of Representatives also handed the election to John Quincy Adams in 1824 when no candidate won a majority of the electoral vote. He beat out Andrew Jackson, among others. You can thank Henry Clay for dropping out and helping Adams if you choose to do so.
Second place winner? Was a time when the person receiving the second most votes become vice president. Now that would certainly bring change to Washington today.
Bolted: In 1864, 11 states (the Confederacy) did not participate in electing a president of the United States. The wording is the tricky part here. Remember, they bolted from the Union, so the United idea was still in doubt.
True democracy: This country is not a true democracy as you can tell by the election of a president. The U.S. is a Democratic Republic.
More House calls: In 1800, Thomas Jefferson was eventually elected by the House of Representatives. Turns out Aaron Burr and Tom were tied at 73 electoral votes, so enter the House. In 1868, 3 states did not participate (Mississippi, Texas and Virginia).
Dead ringer: In his bid for the presidency in 1872, Horace Greeley received more than two million votes. However, he died before the electoral votes came in. It didn't matter much as U.S. Grant won.
Count them all: Rutherford B. Hayes won by one, yes, one, electoral vote in 1876. The tally was 185 for Hayes and 184 for Sam Tilden. Oh, and get this. That same election is one for the books, whatever the heck that means. The vote returns of Florida (hmm, Florida), Louisiana and South Carolina were challenged. No word on hanging chads, however. A commission was set up to figure things out and we all know how that helps. We are not done yet, either. One electoral vote from Oregon was challenged. All this helped Hayes somehow but this item is now officially too long.
Three in a row? Grover Cleveland could have won three elections in a row but did not. In 1888, Benjamin Harrison received less votes than Grover but won the electoral vote. So it was Grover in 1884, Harrison in 1888 and then Grover again in 1892. He did beat Ben that time around in 1892.
All 50: The first election in which all 50 states took part was 1960. In 1959, Alaska and Hawaii became states as Dwight Eisenhower was ending his two terms.
Overblown? In 2000, Al Gore received more of the popular vote but lost to George Bush anyway. But reading some of the other items, this now doesn't seem so odd. There was one electoral vote not awarded that year, too, but nobody seems to talk about that. Why? Chads and more chads, recounts and the Supreme Court.
Some real electoral landslides:
Franklin Roosevelt, 472
Herbert Hoover, 59
Note: Hoover won just 6 states.
Franklin Roosevelt, 523
Alf Landon, 8
Note: Landon could muster only Maine and Vermont. You could add the two other FDR victories but these two stand out to me.
Lyndon Johnson, 486
Barry Goldwater, 52
Note: Goldwater won 6 states.
Richard Nixon, 520
George McGovern, 17
John Hospers, 1
Note: You may be saying, who the heck is John Hospers? Well, he was from the Libertarian party. Anyway, McGovern won one state; Maine. The other place in his column was Washington, D.C. See, D.C. is not a state so place was used on this one.
Ronald Reagan, 525
Walter Mondale, 13
Note: Mondale also took D.C. He did win his home state, Minnesota, but that didn't help much.With his 525 electoral votes, Reagan won the most of any president in any one election.
SOURCE: Major source for the The Political Reference Almanac. Anthony Quain.
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