Saturday, June 29, 2013
Friday, June 28, 2013
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Monday, June 24, 2013
Sunday, June 23, 2013
This was the first time a major political party had renominated a former president. Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, and Theodore Roosevelt were nominated for president by third parties with MVB getting 10% of the popular vote and that's it. Fillmore carried one State, whereas TR was the first and last third party candidate to come in second, but not the last to carry States. The Republican Party came close to renominating Ulysses S. Grant for a third time, non-consecutively, but the nomination went to dark horse nominee James A. Garfield.
Former President Cleveland would once again win a plurality of the popular vote with 46%, 2% less than his 1884 and 1888 popular vote wins. He and Adlai E. Stevenson would win the General Election, the only time a former president defeated an incumbent. Stevenson would become the 23rd VPOTUS. Cleveland's second term would be labeled as a second presidency, so he would not just be the 22nd POTUS but the 24th POTUS as well.
This gay 1890s ticket of Illinois' Adlai E. Stevenson and Grover Cleveland in 1892.
A ticket to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, 1892. The ticket is for the 21st of June and 2 days later, Cleveland was renominated a third time by the Democratic Party, or for divisive politicos, the Democrat Party.
Saturday, June 22, 2013
Friday, June 21, 2013
When I taught U.S. Government to high schoolers, after we discussed the flag burning and the First Amendment case of Texas v. Johnson, I would show the FUTURAMA episode "A Taste of Freedom" and below is a clip from the episode.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Sunday, June 16, 2013
Thursday, June 13, 2013
When Clinton won the White House in 1992, he only won 43% of the popular vote, the same amount won by Richard Nixon in 1968. Unlike President Nixon's reelection in 1972, Clinton did not win in a landslide but just short of getting 50% with just 49%. So the last double plurality popular vote wins was President Wilson. Whereas Clinton faced a three-way race in 1992 between the incumbent Republican President George Bush and independent businessman Ross Perot, eighty years prior Wilson faced a four-way race against the incumbent Republican President William Howard Taft, the Progressive Party, or Bull-Moose Party ran former president Theodore Roosevelt, and Socialist Party candidate Eugene Debs. Wilson won 41% of the popular vote and in his reelection bid four years later he came just as close to 50% as Clinton would 80 years later in 1996.
After Roosevelt 32, of the rest of the 20th Century Democratic presidents Johnson 36 and Jimmy Carter are the only other ones to receive more than 50% of the popular vote. In 1964, Johnson 36 won reelection in a landslide to the office he inherited through assassination. Then-former-Governor Carter got 50% of the popular vote in the super close 1976 election, not a mandate like Johnson 36's but 50%.
The first Democratic president elected in the 21st Century would be the first Democrat to win the presidency with more than 50% of the vote since Carter's win in 1976, and that would be Barack Obama in 2008. It would be with President Obama's reelection in 2012 that he would achieve what only two other Democratic presidents have achieved, winning over 50% of the popular vote in back-to-back elections. Andrew Jackson's two wins in 1828 and 1832 (there was also his plurality win, but of no matter to the House of Representatives in 1824) and FDR's 1932 and 1936 wins, as well as his 1940 and 1944 reelections to a third and fourth term, respectively.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
The 1824 Presidential Election was the first where various States, not all of them that would be the next election, counted the popular vote in determining the distribution of electoral votes. JQA was facing three other opponents in the general and all from the same party since the Federalists were no longer a threat as a national party to the Democratic-Republicans. Andrew Jackson received a plurality of votes in both popular and electoral votes, with JQA in second place. Third place in the Electoral College went to William Crawford, the Secretary of the Treasury, and 4th place went to Henry Clay, the Speaker of the House of Representatives. In the popular vote column the two switch finishing positions, but once again it is the electoral votes that matter. Since there was no clear majority of electoral votes, the Constitution instructs that the House take the top 3 vote getters and vote on them with each State having one vote, so delegations with more than one representative would have to vote among themselves to determine whom they cast their vote for. Crawford suffers a stroke, which makes the House competition between JQA and Jackson, with Clay as presiding officer of the House. Supporters of Jackson believe a "corrupt bargain" was struck between Speaker Clay and Secretary of State Adams, the presidency for appointment to head the State Department, then a stepping stone to the presidency (James Madison and James Monroe, both incumbent secretaries of state before being elected president). Since John C. Calhoun was the vice presidential nominee for both Adams 6 and Jackson, he won a majority of electoral votes in the General Election and later in the Electoral College vote, so there was no need for the Senate to determine the vice president, but they would have had either Adams 6 or Jackson had their own vice presidential candidate. JQA won the House vote and Clay eventually became the secretary of state and Jackson literally began campaigning for 1828. His supporters took up the label Democrats and the Democratic Party was born. Adams 6 and Jackson would face each other again and Jackson would finally get the presidency with 56% of the popular vote and a clear majority in the Electoral College.
52 years later in 1876, the nation would experience another unusual election. Samuel Tilden, the Democratic nominee once again won the popular vote while Rutherford B. Hayes, a Republican, won the Electoral College votes. But it was determining the distribution of electoral votes that was the problem in 1876. Various State governments in the Reconstruction of the South after the Civil War sent two sets of votes representing their State, so a commission of Democrats, Republicans and independents met to determine which candidate got which electoral votes. A deal, or rather, a compromise was made just days before the March 5, 1877 Presidential Inauguration. The Compromise of 1877 allowed Hayes to receive the electoral votes, if Federal troops are removed from the South, thus ending Reconstruction. Since March 4th landed on a Sunday, the public ceremony would be on the 5th, fearful of retaliation by Tilden supporters so closely after the Civil War Hayes was sworn in on the 3rd in the Red Room of the Executive Mansion with President Ulysses S. Grant by his side. They of course had nothing to fear as the inauguration came and went without a problem. Hayes promised to serve just one term and Tilden never faced the voters again, dying ten years after the election.
Two years after Tilden's death in 1888, the nation once again had another unusual election, but that's about it. The 1888 Presidential Election is pretty straight when compared to 1824, 1876, and 2000. President Grover Cleveland won the popular votes while his opponent from Indiana, Benjamin Harrison, grandson of William Henry Harrison, won the majority of votes in the Electoral College. The Democrat won the popular vote, but the Republican, once again, won the Electoral College. No questions asked. But like in 1828, 1892 would pit the 1888 candidates against each other again, a rematch. And just like in 1828, the candidate that won more votes in the previous election came back and won. Former President Cleveland became the first, and so far only, former president to win a General Election and thus serve two non-consecutive terms. Harrison 23, like Adams 6 and Tilden, never ran for the presidency again after their defeats the second time.
It wouldn't be until the year 2000 that nation would experience an election that doesn't go just right. Vice President Al Gore was hoping to do what Vice President George Bush did after 8 years as VPOTUS, and he came pretty close. Gore won more than 500,000 popular votes but it came down to 537 votes in the State of Florida. The election was so close that Gore asked for a recount, but George W. Bush, the presumed winner of the Florida electoral votes, stakes a claim that he won the State. The Florida Supreme Court sides with Gore and the recounts in various counties goes forth, until the Federal Supreme Court sides with Bush in the ruling of Bush v. Gore. Yes, the States' Rights party, went to the central government to decide a local matter. With the Supreme Court's ruling, Gore could do nothing but concede, again. Had the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks not happened, former vice president Gore might have followed in Jackson and Cleveland's footsteps in winning a 4-years-later rematch. But instead Gore went the way of Tilden and did not seek the office where more voters liked him over the Electoral College winner.
With George W. Bush's reelection to the presidency in 2004, another close and controversial election, Bush 43 breaks away from these other popular-vote-loser-presidents. Unlike Adams 6 (another member of the POTUS Father/Son pair) and Harrison 23 (another member of a POTUS dynasty, but grandfather/grandson), Bush 43 would not be defeated in an election. Another difference of course is those two faced a rematch. Bush 43 didn't run against Gore in '04, but Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry. While the votes in Ohio are questionable, and determined the presidency in 2004, just like Florida was in 2000, but this time Bush 43 won both the popular and electoral votes. His victory in '04, finally getting the presidency with the popular vote, broke the whole popular-vote-loser-president never winning the popular vote. This is very similar to what vice-presidents-turned-presidents through death and assassination and their turn at the top of the ticket and winning an election in their own right. Whereas John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, and Chester A. Arthur never won the presidency at the top of a presidential ticket, Bush 43's break from tradition like Theodore Roosevelt, the first vice-president-turned-president that went on to be renominated and win the presidency in his own right. Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman, and Lyndon Johnson would follow in those footsteps. Gerald Ford would come close, but lose to Jimmy Carter.
That was 26 years ago today.
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Monday, June 10, 2013
Sunday, June 9, 2013
President William Jefferson Clinton gives his Second Inaugural Address, the first Democratic president to do so since FDR sixty years prior at the first January 20th inauguration of a president in 1937.
President William Jefferson Clinton's reelection in 1996, the first time I was eligible to vote, was the first time a Democratic president to be reelected since Franklin Roosevelt in 1936, and again in 1940, and again in 1944. Before Roosevelt 32, the last Democratic president to win reelection was Woodrow Wilson, but Wilson never achieved over 50% of the popular vote unlike FDR. Clinton's 1992 and 1996 elections are similar to Wilson's 1912 and 1916 elections in that they both were Democrats to win election and reelection with just a plurality of the popular vote. At that point in 1916, Wilson was the first Democrat reelected, consecutively, since Andrew Jackson's reelection in 1832. Grover Cleveland won the popular vote three elections in a row in 1884, 1888, and 1892, but only the Electoral College in '84 and '92, so in 1912 Wilson was the first Democrat reelected since Cleveland. When FDR passed away just months into his fourth term in 1945, his third vice president, Harry S. Truman became the president. In 1948 Truman won reelection to the presidency in a contest everyone thought his opponent had won. While President Truman is a Democratic president that won reelection, it was also his first and only election at the top of the ticket. President Truman could've ran again at the top of the ticket in 1952 since he was unaffected by the 22nd Amendment, which limited presidents to two terms, but chose against running.
The next Democrat would be John F. Kennedy and he never had the chance to face the voters a second time. His Vice President Lyndon Johnson would succeed Kennedy and follow in Truman's (and Coolidge and Roosevelt 26) footsteps. LBJ would win his own election in 1964, a landslide, but all that would be lost four years later. Johnson 36 would realize he'd face challenges from within his own party when he lost the New Hampshire Primary to Eugene McCarthy in 1968.
Hubert Humphrey in 1968 came pretty close to being the next POTUS and in 1972 George McGovern had the opposite experience on his failed attempt at being the next Democratic president. In 1976, in another close election but with 50% of the popular vote, Jimmy Carter won the presidency. In 1980 he had the chance to be the first Democrat to be reelected since FDR. But it wasn't to be Carter. He'd be defeated by former California Governor Ronald Reagan. Carter would be the first incumbent Democratic president to lose reelection since Cleveland's first reelection bid in 1888, however as mentioned above, Cleveland won the popular vote just lost the necessary Electoral College majority AND Cleveland came back four years later and won reelection, non-consecutively. Before Cleveland 22's loss (and win) in 1888, the last incumbent Democratic president to lose reelection was Martin Van Buren. Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, and Andrew Johnson were never given a chance by the party to face the voters at the top of the ticket. James K. Polk limited himself to one term. In 1848, MVB would try another run at the top of a ticket but lose his non-consecutive run as the Free Soil Party's candidate.
Clinton would hold the title as the first Democrat since FDR to win reelection and the first since Wilson since a Democrat won the presidency twice but with a plurality both times. Interestingly, so did Cleveland. President Clinton's eventual Democratic successor 8 years later will hold a new first for a Democrat since...well that's for another time.
Saturday, June 8, 2013
What happened to the second VPOTUS? Well he, too, became the POTUS four years later in 1801 after the only Presidential Election pitting the sitting VPOTUS versus the sitting POTUS.
Okay, now there's a little break in the vice presidents going right to the top job. The Secretary of States get the attention for awhile, while the 12th Amendment, separate votes for president and vice president, diminished the quality of men for the poorly created second-in-command of the United States Government. USA! USA! USA! The 3rd VPOTUS, Aaron Burr, after nearly becoming the 3rd POTUS when the 1800 election didn't produce a majority in the Electoral College, but rather a tie. Burr went on to murder Alexander Hamilton in a duel in 1804 which helped to ruin his reputation as well as some treasonous actions in the West.
Burr's successors in the vice presidency, George Clinton, Jefferson's second VPOTUS and Madison's first VPOTUS, and Elbridge Gerry, Madison's second vice president, died in office. The 6th VPOTUS, Daniel D. Tompkins, was only the second vice president to be elected to two terms and serve the full 8 years after John Adams, the 1st VPOTUS. It wouldn't be until 1912, when Thomas R. Marshall was elected the 28th VPOTUS and served two terms and eight years. However, unlike Vice President Adams or even Vice President Jefferson, Vice President Tompkins would not run for the presidency and would end up dying just months after leaving office in 1825.
John C. Calhoun would be safely elected vice president in the crazy, but interesting, 1824 Presidential Election. Calhoun was the vice presidential nominee for both Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams. While the presidential race was chaos with four candidates from the same party, since the Federalists were finished as a national political party after the success of the War of 1812. The factions that made up the Democratic-Republicans, had four candidates for the top of the ticket and three for the bottom. While Jackson would win a plurality of both popular votes (not all States votes were counted at this point, but those that were Jackson had the most) and the Electoral College, but not a majority. Calhoun however did receive a majority of Electoral Votes and became the 7th VPOTUS and had to wait to see who his president would be. Vice President Calhoun would be the second and, so far, last vice president to serve two different presidents.
When the House of Representatives elected John Quincy Adams the 6th POTUS, Jackson essentially campaigned against Adams 6 for the next four years. Jackson's supporters, calling themselves Democrats, helped put Jackson in the Executive Mansion in 1829 with Calhoun reelected to a second term, but with a new president. Calhoun would be the last reelected vice president until Vice President Marshall wins with Woodrow Wilson in 1916 for a second term. However, Calhoun would not finish his second term. He would resign the vice presidency in the Presidential Election year of 1832, so he could be elected Senator from South Carolina. He was a thorn in President Jackson's side, probably just as ruckus as the Adams 2/Jefferson administration from 1797-1801.
It is with Vice President Calhoun's successor and President Jackson's second vice president, Martin Van Buren, where the sitting vice president has a chance for the top job. The one term vice president would be elected to one term and kicked out of office thanks to bad economic times.
After Van Buren's jump right from the vice presidency to the presidency, it would be some time before anyone attempted it or do what Adams 2, Jefferson and Van Buren had accomplished. Van Buren's own vice president, Richard M. Johnson, who needed the Senate to be elected vice president since he was a few votes shy of a majority in the Electoral College thanks to his relations with a slave, did not run for the presidency and is part of that great pantheon of unknown 19th Century vice presidents. From 1841 to 1965, there would be vice presidents that become president through death, natural or assassinated, like John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson. Of that group, Tyler through Arthur never faced the People at the top of the ballot, Fillmore did as a third party candidate in 1856 for the Know-Nothing Party and won Electoral Votes. Not that late 20th Century/early 21st Century third party placing $#!t. The remainder of that list won reelection to the presidency in their own right after serving out the term of the fallen president. The 1860 Presidential Election had the incumbent Vice President John C. Breckinridge, the youngest VPOTUS to serve at 36 in 1857 with President James Buchanan, ran against the GOP's second presidential candidate, Abraham Lincoln and the Democratic Party's Stephen Douglas. While Lincoln came in first in both popular and Electoral Votes, Breckinridge came in second in the Electoral College and third in popular votes after Douglas. Breckinridge of course carried the South, as he ran as the candidate for the Southern Democratic Party. Breckinridge, like all incumbent vice presidents, had to read the winner of the Electoral College during a Joint-Session of Congress, announcing his loss and his opponent's victory. Unlike Vice President Breckinridge, Vice Presidents Adams, Jefferson, and Van Buren announced their victories as Commander-in-Chief.
100 years after Vice President Breckinridge's loss, Vice President Richard M. Nixon would have to announce his defeat in the close 1960 Presidential Election with Senator John F. Kennedy. Nixon was the first incumbent vice president to run for the presidency since Breckinridge. Eight years later in 1968, Hubert Humphrey would follow in Nixon's footsteps as the next eligible incumbent vice president to try for the top of the ticket. Like Nixon's 1960 close election, the incumbent vice president lost in a SUPER close race, this time however Nixon was on the winning side of the election, becoming the first former vice president to win the presidency.
From there the next eligible V.P. would be George Bush in 1988. Nixon's vice president, Spiro Agnew, would resign, becoming the second to do so and be replaced by first-appointed vice president under the 25th Amendment, Gerald Ford. Ford would of course go on to be POTUS, the first to never run for the office or the vice presidency. Jimmy Carter and his running-mate, Walter Mondale, would lose a second term to Ronald Reagan and George Bush in 1980, but as if he served 8 years, Mondale tries his turn at the top of the ticket in 1984 and did worse than when he was on the bottom four years prior. So with Reagan and Bush's reelection in '84 and the 22nd Amendment limiting Reagan to two terms, Bush was next as the incumbent vice president for the top of the Republican Party's ticket in '88.
Bush 41 would be the first sitting vice president to run since Humphrey ran 20 years prior, but unlike the 1968 Democratic Candidate, Bush 41 was more like the Democratic Vice President in 1836, Martin Van Buren, the last incumbent to win the presidency. So for the first time in the 20th Century and since Van Buren in 1837, the vice president of the United States announced his win in the Electoral College making him the next president of the United States. Had Bush 41 won reelection in 1992 (some say he would have had Ross Perot not been in the race, since as a third party candidate Perot siphoned) and served out his second term until 1997, he would've been the first person to have served two terms as vice president and two as POTUS, just it would have been for another presidential father, Adams 2 in 1800. Jefferson served one term as VPOTUS and two as POTUS. MVB served one term as both the VP and POTUS. Nixon has been elected twice to both the presidency and vice presidency, but he did not complete his second term. There's a record to be broken, that's four out of five national elections. The 5th election was the super-close 1960 Presidential Election where JFK defeated the incumbent Vice President Nixon.
Al Gore. Tennessee. 45th VPOTUS. 1993-2001. Democratic. 2000 Democratic Presidential Candidate and winner of the Popular Vote in the 2000 Presidential Election. The screen capture is of his concession speech on December 13, 2000 after 36 days of recounts and legal battles.
Al Gore would come very very close to the presidency with a win in the popular vote in 2000 but not in the Electoral College thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Bush v. Gore, which ended the recounts in Florida which then gave the State's votes to Bush 43. Eight years later in 2008, Vice President Richard Cheney would not run for the presidency. The chances of the current Vice President Joe Biden running in 2016 are slim. He will be 74 and while 74 is the new 64, he faces popular challengers from his own party and the GOP. So only time will tell if a future vice president will be a Bush 41 (winner), a Gore (super close), a Humphrey (close enough), a Mondale (loser, electorally), or a Nixon (all of the above).
Friday, June 7, 2013
This label would stick. The Reagan Democrats were fiscal conservatives, but believers in liberal programs like the New Deal and the Great Society. Analysts would talk of future Republican presidential candidates trying to appeal to Reagan Democrats. Overtime, the Reagan Democrats either became independent or Republican or even returned to the Democratic Party, retaining that label.
Obviously, Reagan's first election relied heavily on dissatisfied Democrats but it was his huge reelection landslide in 1984 that electorally had 49 of 50 States supporting him. Former Vice President Mondale won his home State of Minnesota and the District of Columbia. While not the same electorally, the 1984 Reagan Democrats have a hundred year counterpart from the 19th Century.
The Mugwumps, were dissatisfied Republicans in 1884. The term mugwumps is an Algonquian word which means "important person, kingpen." The difference with their 100 year counterparts was that this was more about not liking the candidate than voting their "pocket books." The Mugwumps felt James G. Blaine of Maine, Presidents James A. Garfield and Chester A. Arthur's Secretary of State in 1881, was a corrupt politician and should not be the Republican's nominee for POTUS in the November 1884 Presidential Election. The Mugwumps bolt the party and support the Democratic candidate, New York Governor Grover Cleveland. In a close election, like 1884's, the Mugwumps' votes went on to help Governor Cleveland win the presidency. But in a political era where loyalty to one's political party reigned supreme, corrupt buster Theodore Roosevelt remained loyal to the GOP and their presidential nominee in that election. Instead of publicly opposing his party's nominee, TR endorsed Blaine and ensured his rise to power within the party will not be hindered since he did not bolt. Whereas Reagan Democrats went on after 1984 in future elections to be a label for traditional Democratic voters that end up voting for the GOP ticket, the Mugwumps didn't last much except to refer to someone, in a negative way, as a party bolter.
By 1912, this term wouldn't be used, but ironically, Roosevelt 26 would be a mugwump, as would his progressive brethren when they bolt from the GOP to challenge the business and conservative half which supported President William Howard Taft, Roosevelt 26's hand-picked successor, in the 1912 election as the Progressive Party's, or Bull Moose Party's, presidential nominee.