Saturday, November 12, 2016
It is time to face reality. Like it or not, on January 20 2017 Donald Trump will become our President. This will be the 6th time in our history that the President did not receive a majority of popular votes.
In 1800 the election went to the House of Representatives after a voting mix-up left Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr with the same number of electoral votes. It took the House 36 ballots and six days to declare Jefferson the winner. In those years a majority was not needed; the one who received the most votes became the President and the next vote getter became Vice President.
The XII Amendment adopted in 1804 provided for separate voting for each office by the Electoral College to consist of the number of electors from each state equal to the number of Senators and Representatives form that state. Thus the minimum number of Electors must be 3.
In 1824 which was probably the dirtiest campaign ever and corrupt. Andrew Jackson received the most but not the majority of popular or electoral votes so the election was thrown into the House of Representatives.
Henry Clay a candidate with a minority of electoral votes apparent persuaded his supporters to vote for runner up John Quincy Adams in exchange for becoming Secretary of State.
This was the time of one Party since the Whigs had faded away; thus every candidate in the election was a Republican, but after his loss, Jackson formed the Democratic Party and in 1828 soundly defeated Adams.
In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes and Samuel Tilden, governors of Ohio and New York, respectively were the candidates and Hayes went to bed thinking he had lost. (Shades of Dewey-Truman.)
“Hayes went to bed Election Night believing he had lost. When the votes had been counted, Tilden had won the popular vote and had a 184-165 lead in the electoral vote. However, 20 electoral votes in South Carolina, Oregon, Florida and Louisiana were contested; Hayes’ supporters sent messages to Republican leaders in the southern states saying, “With your state sure for Hayes, he is elected. Hold your state.”
Both sides were thought to have engaged in fraud, and the weeks passed without a clear winner.
“In Florida, it was impossible to determine who would have won a fair election. Repeaters, stuffed ballot boxes, and Democratic ballots printed with the Republican symbol to trick illiterate voters had all been used. In addition, returns from remote areas had been delayed, to be altered as needed,”
In December, Congress stepped in, forming a 15-member committee to investigate the matter. In February, the commission voted 8-7 along party lines to give Florida’s electoral votes for Hayes; it would do the same for Louisiana, Oregon, and South Carolina, giving Hayes the required 185 electoral votes to win the presidency.
Republicans made backroom deals with Democrats to ensure Hayes’ victory, promising to appoint Democrats to cabinet positions and end reconstruction efforts On March 2—three days before inauguration day—Hayes was officially declared the winner.”*
Hayes shortly afterwards withdrew all Federal troops from the south, ending Reconstruction.
In 1888, Grover Cleveland, who was running for a second term against Benjamin Harrison, had 93,000 more popular votes after the election in 1888. Though he lost in the Electoral College 233 to 168. New York and Indiana, which had supported Cleveland in his first election, swung to favor Harrison.
2000 was the election of the “Florida hanging chads”. Al Gore narrowly won the popular vote, but lost in the Electoral College. That one was so recent its story is familiar.
This nation has survived all of these, in fact there have been elections where the President elect had a clear large majority and was potentially a greater danger to the country as we know it.
*“Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior and President,” Ari Hoogenboom