Now that the most elusive Marxist, a fabricated “centrist” in U.S. history has been elected, it might be useful to review some electoral history, especially as the propaganda of an electoral “Mandate” gears up, and talk of shit-canning the Electoral College will be inevitably renewed at some point.
To win the office of President of the United States (POTUS), by definition, the candidate must win a simple majority of the Electoral Vote (EV) nationwide. With the number of Electors varying by state and with our closely divided electorate, and the parties’ campaigns crafting an ever-improving science of how to even up the races, there are a plethora of electoral combinations which will yield a tie of 269 votes each (in 2008).
The candidate garnering 270 or more electoral votes will win the U.S. Presidency. In the case of an electoral tie, which is quite rare, but by no means impossible, a vote is taken by all the members of the House of Representatives to determine the next POTUS. This actually occurred in 1800 when Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in the Electoral College – a vote in the House eventually determined the Presidency in favor Jefferson.
In the ‘modern era’, I’ve defined as the 20th Century up until Current (McKinley 2nd term 1900 – G. W. Bush 2nd term 2004), the closest elections were as follows:
- 1) G. W. Bush beat A. Gore in 2000: 50.5% vs. 49.5% (271 vs. 266 EV’s)
- 2) W. Wilson beat Hughes in 1916: 52.2% vs. 47.8% (277 vs. 254 EV’s)
- 3) G. W. Bush beat J. Kerry in 2004: 53.3% vs. 46.7% (286 vs. 251 EV’s)
- 4) J. Carter beat R. Nixon in 1976: 55.3% vs. 44.7% (297 vs. 240 EV’s)
There was great controversy in 2000 of course when the pivotal state of Florida was decided by just over 500 votes! After four consecutive Republican terms by those before him, America elected ostensibly uber-smart academic Woodrow Wilson in 1912, where he began instituting a string of so-called ‘progressive’ government programs. Just squeaking by Hughes for his second term, he brought the U.S. into WWI, and continued his myriad, proto-fascist big-government programs. G. W. Bush managed to barely beat John F. Kerry in 2004, again where the focus on voting irregularities was transferred from Florida to swing-state Ohio.
Almost forgotten, was just how closely the race between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford turned out to be (especially when looking at the Popular Vote totals). After getting beat up so incessantly in the wake of the Watergate scandal, which brought down Nixon’s presidency and administration, and having unconditionally pardoned Nixon, Ford made a remarkable come-back against the supposedly virtuous, virtually unknown peanut farmer from Georgia.
The highest Electoral Vote winning margins since 1900 are as follows:
- 1) Franklin Roosevelt re-election in 1936: 98.5% (46 of 48 States)
- 2) Ronald Reagan re-election in 1984: 97.6% (49 of 50 States)
- 3) Richard Nixon re-election in 1972: 96.8% (49 of 50 States)
You’ll notice that the Electoral Vote winning percentage ranges from 50%+ to near 100%. The percentages shown above are also sometimes referred to as “Landslide” wins. Barack Obama’s recent win is by no means a Landslide defeat of John S. McCain. It’s interesting to note that if we define a landslide victory for discussion here as earning 80%+ EV’s, then we would have to add Wilson (1912), Hoover (1928), F. Roosevelt’s 3 other elections (32-44!), Eisenhower (1952, 56), and Johnson (1964).
Notice that these landslide victories almost always follow some marked national malaise or distress, where the electorate is looking for salvation from their national leader.
Contrary to popular belief, the so-called Popular Vote (PV) nationwide may be an interesting statistic, but is essentially meaningless. But here goes – surprisingly, the three highest national popular vote totals garnered by the winning candidate are:
- 1) Franklin Roosevelt in 1936: 62.2% total PV
- 2) Warren Harding in 1920: 61.6% total PV
- 3) Lynden Johnson in 1964: 61.1% total PV
The three lowest winning popular vote totals are:
- 1) Woodrow Wilson in 1912: 42.5% total PV
- 2) William Clinton in 1992: 43.0% total PV
- 3) Richard Nixon in 1968: 43.4% total PV
And the four closest winning popular vote totals nationwide are:
- 1) John Kennedy in 1964: +0.174% PV margin
- 2) George W. Bush in 2000: -0.515% PV margin
- 3) Richard Nixon in 1968: +0.697% PV margin
- 4) James Carter in 1976: +2.063% PV margin
Note that while the average national popular vote total of the winning candidate in the modern era averages 53.4%, the total maximum range only varies by about 10%! That is the “winning” popular vote runs from the low 40%’s to the low 60%’s – that’s all. Third Party candidates have had a substantial impact on the popular vote totals at times, which accounts for winning candidates in the 40% while they have actually won (>50%) of the requisite Electoral Vote. E.g. W. J. Clinton won with only 43% of the PV in 1992 with the ‘assistance’ of one Ross Perot.
Occasionally, one can lose the EV count, but yet still “win” a majority of the PV as Albert Gore did in 2000 to much caterwauling. Even though the PV has never determined the winning candidate for the Presidency, this situation had not occurred since the late 1800’s, but is by no means improbable when the EV vote totals are quite close as they were in 2000.