Friday, November 2, 2012

Pointless Presidential Pfacts #7 - "Jefferson/Burr '00 or is it Burr/Jefferson '00"

1800 was the 4th presidential election, which is the only election where the sitting Vice President ran against the incumbent President. They were of two different parties and hoped to avoid the outcome of '96 as well as the term of 1797-1801. So President John Adams chose a "running mate" and so did Vice President Thomas Jefferson. The Jefferson/Burr "ticket" won. Each got the exact same number of votes. Since it was a pre-12th Amendment America, the Electoral College had two votes but no clear way of designating which candidate was to be president and which was vp. With Jefferson and Burr tied in the Electoral College vote, the House of Representatives broke the tie...after 36 ballots. The House realized they didn't like Aaron Burr (say it with peanut butter in your milk?) and TJ won becoming the 3rd POTUS and Burr became the 3rd VPOTUS. By 1804, the 12th Amendment would be passed establishing votes for running mates and making the vice presidency an office that didn't go to a political opponent but rather a balancing of the ticket, geographically, ideologically, and politically...and sometimes a political death sentence.

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