Benjamin Harrison

Donald Trump Competes With Warren G. Harding And George W. Bush As Least Intelligent President Of The United States!

The more one observes President Donald Trump, the more one realizes that he is one of the most ignorant, ill informed, and least intelligent Presidents of the United States.

Many of our Presidents have been intellectual heavyweights (16), including:

John Adams
Thomas Jefferson
James Madison
John Quincy Adams
Abraham Lincoln
James A. Garfield
Theodore Roosevelt
William Howard Taft
Woodrow Wilson
Herbert Hoover
Franklin D. Roosevelt
John F. Kennedy
Richard Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Bill Clinton
Barack Obama

Others, while not intellectually outstanding, were capable of good leadership (13) including:

George Washington
James Monroe
Andrew Jackson
James K. Polk
Ulysses S. Grant
Grover Cleveland
William McKinley
Harry Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Lyndon B. Johnson
Gerald Ford
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush

Then, there are others who are mediocre by comparison, but had at least some redeeming qualities (12), including:

Martin Van Buren
William Henry Harrison
John Tyler
Zachary Taylor
Millard Fillmore
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Andrew Johnson
Rutherford B. Hayes
Chester Alan Arthur
Benjamin Harrison
Calvin Coolidge

And then there are the three Presidents at the absolute bottom intellectually, and all three disasters in office, including

Warren G. Harding
George W. Bush
Donald Trump

At least Harding and Bush were decent human beings, who bumbled their way through the Presidency, but Donald Trump is, in many ways, more ignorant and dense than either Harding or the second Bush.

Harding was a lightweight intellectually, but at least he published a newspaper in Marion, Ohio, before his political career, and he had some outstanding cabinet officers including Charles Evans Hughes and Herbert Hoover.

George W. Bush, we know, read a great deal in the White House, while Trump is not a reader, and hardly gets past a page or two, even of important documents, as we learn that he counts on his top staff people to keep him up to date, and prefers Twitter and watching cable news as his main sources of information. His lack of intellectual curiosity, and willingness to believe conspiracy theories as fact is extremely alarming.

Trump has shown total ignorance of history and science, and is proving to be a true total disaster after only a little more than 100 days in office. He is much more destructive of the image of the Presidency than Harding or Bush could ever be!

C Span 2017 Presidential Survey Results On George W. Bush And Bill Clinton: Little Hope Of Further Rise, And Never Above Barack Obama

The C Span 2017 Presidential survey gives evidence that the two Presidents before Barack Obama–George W. Bush and Bill Clinton—are unlikely to rise very much from their positions in the recent polling.

George W. Bush was a very low 36 in 2009 and now has risen a few notches to 33, while Bill Clinton, who had been 21 in 2000, and rose to 15 in 2009, remained at 15 in 2017.

Bush’s slight rise is due to recognition that he did have some virtues, as with his promotion of immigration reform although it failed to be achieved, his education reforms (No Child Left Behind), his promotion of tolerance toward Muslims after September 11, his prescription drug program for seniors, and his aid to Africa on AIDS.

But there is little room to move up, as to believe that Bush’s failures will ever be overlooked enough that he will rise above Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter or Gerald Ford, seems delusional.

So at the most, Bush might move above Rutherford B. Hayes, who has had a dramatic drop from 26 in 2000 to 33 in 2009 and slightly up to 32 in 2017; Zachary Taylor (who died after the third shortest term); Benjamin Harrison (who was sandwiched in between Grover Cleveland’s two terms); and James A. Garfield (who died after the second shortest term due to assassination). It is not really an accomplishment to pass two short term Presidents, and two one term Presidents of the Gilded Age. No one higher from Number 28 Richard Nixon upward is a likely candidate to fall below Bush ever in the future. So Bush will not be like Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, or Lyndon B. Johnson, who started off low and then rose to the top ten over time.

As far as Bill Clinton is concerned, his original low standing was due to the fact that he had the most corrupt Democratic Party administration, although it was on a lesser level than Republicans Richard Nixon, Warren G. Harding, Ulysses S. Grant, and Ronald Reagan. His personal sex scandals brought him down as he was leaving office, but his rise in 2009 seemed reasonable, but really what will allow him to rise further, as he did not do in 2017?

The more one looks at Clinton, the more one realizes that his time in office is best remembered for a good economy which just happened to be lucky to coincide, but which included the moat conservative Democratic administration of the 20th century, with him cooperating with the Republicans on ending the Interstate Commerce Commission; ending the federal guarantee of welfare; passing very strict crime bills that backfired over time; and allowing corporate mergers that no other Democratic President would have allowed. And his shortcomings became more evident as his wife, Hillary Clinton, pursued the Presidency, and ultimately lost, even though she won the popular vote by three million.

The only practical way for Bill Clinton to rise is to overcome James K. Polk, who was extremely successful in his one term; or James Monroe, who in his two terms, accomplished enough that his significance has been recognized. So do not expect any rise from number 15 for Bill Clinton, despite his great charisma and personality.

When Bush and Clinton pass away in the future, it might cause some rise in their ratings, but unlikely long term, and it is a reality that Barack Obama, already ahead of both and likely to rise, will always be ahead of the two Presidents before him, as well as certainly so above the President who has succeeded him, Donald Trump, who has in one month set his legacy, that he will be at the bottom or close to the bottom of ratings in future surveys after he leaves office, hopefully sooner than one term.

Donald Trump keeps on saying he inherited a “mess”, a total lie, which will not stand now or in the long run of historical analysis!

48 Vice Presidents, 45 (44) Presidents?

With the inauguration of Donald Trump and Mike Pence, we now have our 45th (really 44th) President, and our 48th Vice President!

Some reading this are saying: “Huh?”

So let’s explain the difference in numbers.

Donald Trump is the 44th person to become President, but Grover Cleveland served two nonconsecutive terms from 1885-1889 and 1893-1897, although he also won the popular vote in 1888, but Benjamin Harrison won the Electoral College, the third time out of five (with 2000 and 2016 the 4th and 5th cases) where the popular vote loser won the Presidency.

Now, as to the Vice Presidency:

Several Presidents had two Vice Presidents, and one had three Vice Presidents, therefore making for four additional Vice Presidents more than Presidents.

Thomas Jefferson had Aaron Burr in his first term in the Presidency (1801-1805), and George Clinton in his second term (1805-1809).

James Madison had Clinton stay on as Vice President in his first term, but he died in office in 1812, so only served from 1809-1812, instead of to 1813. In his second term, Madison had Elbridge Gerry as his Vice President, but he served less than two years and died in 1814, so only serving 1813-1814.

Andrew Jackson had John C. Calhoun as Vice President in his first term, but he resigned with three months to go in the term, after being dumped from the ticket for the 1832 election, so served from 1829-1832. Martin Van Buren served in the Jackson second term (1833-1837), and became the last Vice President to succeed directly to the Presidency by election for 152 years, when George H. W. Bush succeeded President Ronald Reagan in the 1988 Presidential election.

Abraham Lincoln had two Vice Presidents–Hannibal Hamlin (1861-1865) who he decided to replace for his second election, and Andrew Johnson for six weeks in 1865 until Lincoln was assassinated, and Johnson became President.

Ulysses S. Grant had two Vice Presidents–Schuyler Colfax (1869-1873) who came under investigation for corruption and did not run for reelection; and Henry Wilson (1873-1875) who died in office.

William McKinley had two Vice Presidents–Garret Hobart (1897-1899), who died in office; and Theodore Roosevelt, for six and a half months in 1901, until McKinley was assassinated, and TR succeeded him to the Presidency, and then won a four year term of his own in 1904.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, being elected four times to the Presidency, and prevented from occurring again by the passage and adoption of the 22nd Amendment in 1951, had John Nance Garner (1933-1941) in his first two terms; Henry A. Wallace (1941-1945) in his third term; and Harry Truman for 82 days of his 4th term in 1945, before FDR died, and Truman succeeded him, and then won a full term in 1948.

Finally, Richard Nixon had two Vice Presidents–Spiro Agnew (1969-1973), his first full term and nine months of his shortened second term, until Agnew was forced to resign due to corruption charges, and being replaced two months later by Gerald Ford (1973-1974) under the 25th Amendment, allowing for an appointed Vice President subject to majority approval by both the House of Representatives and the US Senate, with Ford serving nine months before he succeeded to the Presidency upon the resignation of Nixon, due to the Watergate scandal.

Realize that George Clinton served under two Presidents (Jefferson and Madison), and the same for Calhoun, who had served as Vice President to John Quincy Adams (1825-1829), before serving as Vice President under Jackson for all but three months of that term. So as a result, Jefferson, Madison and Jackson only had one DIFFERENT Vice President to add to the total number!

Also, realize that Grover Cleveland, in his separate terms, had two different Vice Presidents, Thomas Hendricks for 8 months in 1885, and Adlai Stevenson I (1893-1897).

Also realize that John Tyler (1841), Millard Fillmore (1850), Andrew Johnson (1865), and Chester Alan Arthur (1881), all succeeded to the Presidency because of the deaths of William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, and James A. Garfield, and never had a Vice President, since there was no 25th Amendment until passage in 1967, allowing Gerald Ford to pick Nelson Rockefeller as his Vice President in 1974. And the other four Presidents who had been Vice President, and succeeded due to the deaths of the Presidents in office (Theodore Roosevelt after William McKinley; Calvin Coolidge after Warren G. Harding; Harry Truman after Franklin D. Roosevelt; Lyndon B. Johnson after John F. Kennedy) all were elected in the next term and had a Vice President.

So only 40 men (plus Cleveland in two terms, so called the 22nd and 24th President) in the Presidency chose a Vice President, and only Lincoln, Grant, Cleveland, McKinley and Nixon had two Vice Presidents who were unique (not shared with another President), and FDR had three Vice Presidents with his four terms in office. So if you count 41 due to Cleveland’s unique situation, and add seven extra Vice Presidents, you get a total of 48 men who have served as Vice President of the United States!

“Illegitimate” Presidents From JQ Adams To Donald Trump

The question of “illegitimate” Presidents is nothing new in American history.

Any President who has failed to win the popular vote (5), and any President who has failed to win a majority of the total popular vote (11 with 3 two times), due to more than two candidates in the race, has been seen by opponents as “illegitimate”

So we have John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush the first time, and Donald Trump that fit into the first category mentioned above.

We also have James K. Polk, Zachary Taylor, James Buchanan, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, Grover Cleveland twice, Woodrow Wilson twice, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon the first time, and Bill Clinton twice, who fit into the second category mentioned above.

So 19 times out of a total of 58 national elections for President, or one third of the time, we have had Presidents who did not have a majority of the voters behind them!

And 16 Presidents out of 43, nearly 40 percent, have not won the majority of the popular vote!

And then we have Barack Obama, who won a majority of the popular vote twice, but has had constant attacks that he is “illegitimate” based on a “Birther” theory that he was not born in the Unites States.

This issue of “illegitimacy” is rampant right now regarding Donald Trump, because he lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million, much larger than the other four popular vote losers who won the Electoral College, and civil rights icon John Lewis, Georgia Congressman, has said, rightfully, that he sees Trump as “illegitimate” and will not attend Trump’s inauguration next Friday.

Since Trump led those who said Barack Obama was “illegitimate”, appropriate that John Lewis take the stand he has, and there is an old saying” “What is good for the goose is good for the gander”, and also “What goes around comes around”!

How Slim Margins Decide So Many Presidential Elections And Affect American History And Government Policies!

The argument that many ill informed people have is that “voting does not matter”, when just the opposite is true.

As we begin 2017 and the reality of President Trump in 19 days, a look at history tells us clearly how small numbers of votes or percentages of votes make a dramatic difference, as demonstrated in the following elections in American history:

1844– a switch of a few thousand votes in New York would have given the election to Henry Clay, instead of James K. Polk, and the difference was the small third party, the Liberty Party.

1848–a switch of a few thousand votes, again in New York, would have given the election to Lewis Cass, instead of Zachary Taylor, but Free Soil Party nominee, Martin Van Buren, former Democratic President and from New York, won ten percent of the total national vote, and threw the election to Whig candidate Taylor in New York.

1876—the dispute over the contested votes of South Carolina, Louisiana, and Florida led to a special Electoral Commission set up, which rewarded all of those three states’ electoral votes to Rutherford B. Hayes, although Democrat Samuel Tilden led nationally by about 250,000 popular votes.

1880–James A. Garfield won the popular vote by the smallest margin ever, about 2,000 votes, and won the big state of New York by only 20,000 votes, in defeating his opponent Winfield Scott Hancock.

1884–Grover Cleveland won his home state of New York by about 1,000 votes, which decided the election, and nationally only by about 57,000 votes over James G. Blaine.

1888–Grover Cleveland won the national popular vote by about 90,000, but lost in close races in his home state of New York and opponent Benjamin Harrison’s home state of Indiana, so lost the Electoral College, as Harrison became President. The Harrison lead in New York was less than 14,000 votes and in Indiana, less than 2,000.

1916—Woodrow Wilson won California by less than 4,000 votes, but enough to elect him to the White House over Republican Charles Evans Hughes.

1948–Harry Truman won three states by less than one percent–Ohio, California and Illinois–over Thomas E. Dewey, and that decided the election.

1960–John F. Kennedy won Illinois by about 8,000 votes; Texas by about 46,000 votes; and Hawaii by under 200 votes, and only had a two tenths of one percentage point popular vote victory nationally, about 112,000 votes, over Richard Nixon.

1976–Jimmy Carter won over Gerald Ford by two percentage points, but a switch of 5,600 votes in Ohio and 3,700 votes in Hawaii would have given the election to Ford.

2000—Al Gore lost Florida by 537 votes, in the final judgment of the Supreme Court, which intervened in the election, and had he won Florida, he would have been elected President, even though he won the national popular vote by about 540,000. Bush also won New Hampshire by only about 7,000 votes, but won the Electoral College 271-266.

2016–Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by about 2.85 million, but lost the crucial states of Michigan by about 10,000; Wisconsin by about 22,000; and Pennsylvania by about 46,000, to Donald Trump, so together about 79,000 votes decided the Electoral College.

So the idea that voting is not important, does not matter, is proved wrong so many times in American history! Every vote does indeed count, and has long range implications on who sits in the White House, and what policies are pursued, which affect all of us!

Donald Trump One Of The Lowest Popular Vote Percentage Winners In American History, And NOT Due To Strong Third Party Performances!

Donald Trump’s percentage of the popular vote continues to decline, and now makes Trump one of the lowest popular vote percentage winners in American History, and NOT due to strong third party performances.

Right now, Trump has 46.28 percent of the vote and is 2.35 million popular votes behind Hillary Clinton, who has 48.2 percent of the vote.

The only 7 Presidents to have lower percentage are:

John Quincy Adams 1824—30.92

Abraham Lincoln–1860–39.65

Woodrow Wilson–1912–41.84

Bill Clinton–1992–43.01

Richard Nixon–1968–43.42

James Buchanan–1856–45.29

Grover Cleveland–1892–46.02

Before it is all over, Trump is likely to fall lower than Cleveland, and possibly Buchanan, in percentage of the popular vote, when all votes are accounted for.

In each of these seven cases, however, there were more than two strong Presidential candidates, and a third party and twice a fourth party gained electoral votes.

Adams had electoral vote competition from Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and William Crawford in 1824.

Lincoln had electoral vote competition from John C. Breckinridge, John Bell, and Stephen Douglas in 1860

Wilson had electoral vote competition from Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft in 1912.

Clinton had electoral vote competition from George H. W. Bush and Ross Perot in 1992.

Nixon had electoral vote competition from Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace in 1968.

Buchanan had electoral vote competition from John C. Fremont and Millard Fillmore in 1856.

Cleveland had electoral vote competition from Benjamin Harrison and James Weaver in 1892.

However, Trump had no third party competitor who took electoral votes away from him or Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent.

And only Adams ended up second in popular votes with a percentage of the vote lower than Trump.

So Donald Trump cannot claim a popular mandate by any means.

Donald Trump: The Most Unpopular Presidential Winner In American History

Donald Trump may have won the Electoral College, and will be inaugurate on January 20, 2017, as our 45th President.

But he will be inaugurated knowing that he is the most unpopular Presidential winner in American history!

It looks as if Hillary Clinton will have won the widest popular vote victory of the five Democrats who have lost the Electoral College.

Andrew Jackson had a 45,000 vote edge over John Quincy Adams in 1824.

Grover Cleveland had a 100,000 vote edge over Benjamin Harrison in 1888.

Samuel Tilden had a 250,000 vote lead over Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876.

Al Gore had a 540,000 vote lead over George W. Bush in 2000.

But now in 2016, Hillary Clinton has a constantly mounting popular vote lead over Donald Trump of at least 672,000 votes, and it is thought when all votes are counted, including absentee, overseas, and mail ballots not yet counted, and many of them coming from California and Washington State and even New York, that the margin could reach 2 million!

Trump already was the most unpopular Presidential winner in public opinion polls, with 60 percent not endorsing him, and yet he won the right combination of states to win the Electoral College.

The Electoral College Fails For The Fifth Time, With Democrats The Losers All 5 Times: 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, 2016

The Electoral College has failed for the fifth time, and twice in 16 years.

The same thing happened in 2000, with Al Gore, and in 1888 with Grover Cleveland, and in 1876 with Samuel Tilden, and in 1824 with Andrew Jackson.

Each of these four times, and now with Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee won the popular vote, but lost the electoral vote to their opponent, with each candidate who won the Presidency, except John Quincy Adams in 1824 (National Republican) being a Republican–Rutherford B. Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888, George W. Bush in 2000, and now Donald Trump in 2016.

To imagine it would happen 16 years apart (2000 and 2016) after having occurred 12 years apart (1876 and 1888) makes the urgency to change the Electoral College, but it has been attempted before and has failed.

So we are stuck with the reality that this can happen again and again, sadly!

The Closest Presidential Elections In American History

The closest Presidential Elections in American history would be the following in chronological order since the introduction of popular vote in 1824:

Presidential Election of 1824—Andrew Jackson vs John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, and William Crawford

Presidential Election of 1876–Rutherford B. Hayes vs Samuel Tilden

Presidential Election of 1880–James A. Garfield vs Winfield Scott Hancock

Presidential Election of 1884–Grover Cleveland vs James G. Blaine

Presidential Election Of 1888–Benjamin Harrison vs Grover Cleveland

Presidential Election of 1892–Grover Cleveland vs Benjamin Harrison, James Weaver

Presidential Election of 1916–Woodrow Wilson vs Charles Evans Hughes

Presidential Election Of 1960–John F. Kennedy vs Richard Nixon

Presidential Election of 1976–Jimmy Carter vs Gerald Ford

Presidential Election of 2000–George W. Bush vs Al Gore, Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan

Presidential Election of 2004–George W. Bush vs John Kerry

Speakers Of The House Of Representatives Who Sought The Presidency, And Now Paul Ryan?

The Speaker of the House of Representatives is second in line for the Presidency after the Vice President under the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, the third such law.

The first such law, from 1792-1886, put the Speaker third in line for the Presidency, with the Vice President and the President Pro Tempore of the US Senate ahead of him, later reversed in 1947.

The second law, from 1886-1947, did not include the Speaker in the line of succession, but rather the Cabinet officers after the Vice President.

In our history, only one Speaker of the House became President, James K. Polk of Tennessee, from 1845-1849, and he proved to be one of the more significant Presidents, adding more real estate to America than anyone other than Thomas Jefferson.  This was accomplished by treaty with Great Britain over the Pacific Northwest in 1846, and by war with Mexico from 1846-1848, which added the Southwestern United States to the Union.

But seven other Speakers sought the Presidency, including the following:

Henry Clay of Kentucky sought the Presidency in 1824, 1832, and 1844, and is regarded as the greatest single legislator in the history of both houses of Congress.  In 1844, we had the only Presidential election where the two opponents had both been Speaker of the House, Clay and Polk!  Clay lost his three elections to John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson, and Polk.

John Bell of Tennessee was the Constitutional Union Party nominee for President in 1860 on the eve of the Civil War, and lost to Abraham Lincoln.

James G. Blaine of Maine was the Republican nominee for President in 1884 and lost the election to Grover Cleveland, and was also Secretary of State under three Presidents–James A. Garfield, Chester Alan Arthur, and a full term under Benjamin Harrison.

Thomas Reed of Maine lost the nomination of the Republican Party in 1896 to future President William McKinley.

Champ Clark of Missouri lost the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1912 to future President Woodrow Wilson.

John Nance Garner of Texas, after being Vice President under Franklin D. Roosevelt for two terms from 1933-1941, lost the nomination of the Democratic Party to his boss, President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940

Newt Gingrich of Georgia lost the Republican nomination for President to eventual nominee Mitt Romney in 2012.

So four Speakers were nominated for President, with only Polk winning; and four other Speakers lost the nomination when they sought the Presidency.

Now we may have a ninth such Speaker seeking the Presidency, Republican Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, whose name is being promoted, despite Ryan’s denial of any interest in running for President.