Presidential Election Of 1840

Is Donald Trump The Third President Without A Party, As Was The Case With John Tyler And Andrew Johnson?

We have had two Presidents who lacked support of a party, and we may now have a third one in Donald Trump.

Two Presidents were elected Vice President as part of a “fusion” team to help elect the Presidential nominee, and then quickly became President upon the death of the President.

John Tyler, a Democrat, ran on the Whig Party line with William Henry Harrison in 1840, and Harrison died of pneumonia 31 days after the inauguration.

Tyler disagreed with the Whig Party principles, and came into conflict with Whig leadership, including Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky and Congressman John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts.

His entire cabinet resigned after a few months, with the exception of Secretary of State Daniel Webster, and Tyler had great troubles with confirmation hearings, with four cabinet appointments and four nominees for the Supreme Court rejected by the Whig controlled Senate. The Congress refused to pass funding for fixing of the White House, which was in disrepair, and an attempted impeachment was prevented only by the Whigs losing the House of Representatives in 1842.

So John Tyler was a man without a party.

The same can be said of Andrew Johnson, a Democrat, who was the Vice Presidential nominee with Republican Abraham Lincoln in 1864, with Lincoln concerned about reelection, so choosing a loyal Southern Democrat to shore up support among some Northern Democrats.

When Lincoln was assassinated 45 days after his second inauguration, Johnson became President but clashed quickly with Radical Republicans over Reconstruction policy, and when he vetoed significant legislation, and went out and campaigned against them in midterm congressional elections in 1866, an open split was clear, and Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act, which prevented the dismissal of any cabinet officer appointed by the President, without majority backing by the majority of both houses of Congress, an unconstitutional action.

Johnson now faced impeachment on flimsy charges, and was found not guilty, but it weakened his ability to govern, and he was unable to gain the filling of a Supreme Court vacancy, and was truly a President without a party.

Now, Donald Trump has alienated many Republicans, who are willing to investigate his Russian ties and possible collusion in the Presidential Election of 2016. He has denounced the Freedom Caucus membership which prevented his health care legislation from passing, and many US Senators, including John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Ben Sasse, and others, have been strong critics. Additionally, he has hinted at working with Democrats, even though he has also antagonized them repeatedly with his utterances and policies. His public opinion rating is the lowest for any new President, since the beginning of polling 80 years ago.

The possibility of impeachment is there, as even top Republican leadership, including Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, have found it difficult to work with a President who is constantly tweeting and criticizing, in a very divisive way.

So Donald Trump could end up being the third President without a party, recalling that for a long time, he was sounding years ago like a liberal Democrat!

Congressional Republicans Growing Unease About Donald Trump

Less than two weeks in office, Donald Trump is starting to see growing unease among some Congressional Republicans about his independent, go it alone, style of leadership.

Trump clearly feels he was elected without true party unity, and intends to govern in an authoritarian manner, but there are Republicans who are unhappy with his style and manner.

These include:

Arizona Senator John McCain
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham
Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse
Maine Senator Susan Collins

Also, some Congressmen are also speaking out, so Trump may be a President without a party, and to find that, one must go back to the 19th century, where two Presidents, who succeeded a President who died, had massive headaches trying to deal with the party that had accepted them, members of the opposition party, as their Vice President, due to the wishes of the Presidential nominee, but with no expectation that the President wold die in office.

I am referring to Democrat John Tyler, who ran on the Whig Party ticket with William Henry Harrison in 1840; and Democrat Andrew Johnson, who ran on the Republican “Union” Party line with Abraham Lincoln in 1864.

Both Tyler and Johnson would have never ending headaches with their adopted party, with major battles over Supreme Court and Cabinet appointments, and a threat to impeach John Tyler, and an actual impeachment trial for Andrew Johnson.

Could Donald Trump be on the way to similar resistance and possible impeachment? He is alienating Congress by being a “lone wolf”, showing his disdain for Congress and the party line he ran on.

One must recall that his victory for President was the worst ever in popular vote loss to his opponent, and seventh lowest percentage ever, but with all those Presidents with lower percentage of vote, having had two or three opponents who gained electoral votes, instead of just one opponent.

Joint Party Tickets A Good Idea? History Tells Us NO!

Recently, there has been some discussion of a “fusion” ticket as the way to stop Donald Trump.

One such scenario is to have Hillary Clinton run with John Kasich as her running mate.

That is totally preposterous, and history tells us that when the Vice President is of a different party than the President, it does not work out well.

The first contested Presidential election led to Thomas Jefferson as Vice President under his opponent, John Adams from 1797-1801, and that did not work out well, and in fact, helped to promote the 12th Amendment in 1804.

Then we had John C. Calhoun as Vice President under John Quincy Adams in the years 1825-1829, and that did not work out well.

William Henry Harrison was elected in 1840 with this Whig candidate having a Democrat, John Tyler, as his Vice President.  Within a month, Harrison was dead, and Tyler had constant battles with the Whig Congress, because he did not wish to follow Whig platform ideas.

Abraham Lincoln chose Andrew Johnson as his second term Vice President, despite the fact that Johnson was a Democrat in a Republican Presidency, and when Lincoln was assassinated six weeks later, we had one of the worst struggles in American history, as Johnson fought and resisted the Republican Party which had put him into the Vice Presidency, albeit briefly.

With these four examples, none of them working out well, we have never had such a situation arise again since, but we have had suggestions of doing what has never worked out well.

There were suggestions that Hubert Humphrey select Nelson Rockefeller in 1968, and that John McCain choose Joe Lieberman in 2008.

It simply will not work, and it undermines party loyalty and commitment to a President and his administration, if the next in line, in case of tragedy, transforms the power base in the Presidency.

As it is, we have had top cabinet members who are of the other party, particularly in the War Department as it was known before 1947, and the Defense Department, as it has been known since then., including:

Henry Stimson under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1945

Robert McNamara under John F. Kennedy, beginning in 1961, and continuing under Lyndon B. Johnson until 1968.

William Cohen under Bill Clinton from 1997-2001

Robert Gates under Barack Obama from 2009-2011

But the Vice President needs to be “on the team”, not a rival of the President in office!

 

Multiple Losing Presidential Candidacies, And Those Who Lost, Then Won The Presidency

The history of multiple candidacies for the Presidency is an interesting one, with five candidates being nominated more than once and losing each time, and five candidates being nominated more than once, and losing before winning the White House (with unusual circumstances for Grover Cleveland)

Those who ran multiple times and continued to lose are:

Charles Pinckney, Presidential Elections of 1804 and 1808
Henry Clay, Presidential Elections of 1824, 1832, and 1844
William Jennings Bryan, Presidential Elections Of 1896, 1900, and 1908
Thomas E. Dewey, Presidential Elections of 1944 and 1948
Adlai Stevenson, Presidential Elections of 1952 and 1956

Those who ran multiple times and first lost, and then won the Presidency are (with unusual case of Grover Cleveland described below):

Thomas Jefferson, Presidential Elections of 1796, 1800 and 1804
Andrew Jackson, Presidential Elections of 1824, 1828 and 1832
William Henry Harrison, Presidential Elections of 1836 and 1840
Grover Cleveland, Presidential Elections of 1884, 1888, and 1892 (winning in 1884, losing in 1888, winning in 1892)
Richard Nixon, Presidential Elections of 1960, 1968 and 1972

Also, Jackson and Cleveland won the popular vote in the elections they lost in the Electoral College, so both actually won the popular vote three times, the only candidates to do that, other than Franklin D. Roosevelt, who won the popular vote and electoral vote four times, in the Presidential Elections of 1932, 1936, 1940, and 1944!

Additionally, Martin Van Buren ran a third time in 1848 on the Free Soil Party line and lost; and Theodore Roosevelt ran a second time in 1912 on the Progressive Party line and lost.

History Favors Obama and Democratic Party Second Term Presidencies

In the discussion over whether Barack Obama will have a second term of office, one must consider history as a guide.

If one looks at the facts, one discovers that only THREE Democratic Presidents have ever been defeated for re-election–Martin Van Buren in 1840; Grover Cleveland in 1888 (even though he actually won the popular vote by about 100,000 nationally); and Jimmy Carter in 1980.

So in the past 124 years, only one Democrat has lost re-election, and face the facts, Barack Obama is NOT Jimmy Carter and Mitt Romney is not Ronald Reagan!

Grover Cleveland came back to win in the following election over Benjamin Harrison who had defeated him in 1888, being the only nonconsecutive terms President in American history.

Woodrow Wilson had a very close contest against Charles Evans Hughes for re-election in 1916, but won.

Franklin D. Roosevelt still had over 20 percent unemployment when he first ran for re-election in 1936, but won a landslide over Alf Landon, as well as solid victories over Wendell Willkie in 1940 and Thomas E. Dewey in 1944.

Harry Truman overcame all polls and defeated Dewey in an upset victory in 1948, even after the opposition party had won both houses of Congress in 1946.

Lyndon B. Johnson won the biggest popular vote landslide in history over Barry Goldwater in 1964.

Bill Clinton won a solid victory over Bob Dole in 1996, despite having lost both houses of Congress in 1994.

And despite criticisms, Barack Obama has a positive record of achievement in his first term to match that of Wilson and FDR in their first term and Lyndon B. Johnson in his first year, and more than Grover Cleveland, Harry Truman, and Bill Clinton in their first term, and Jimmy Carter in his only term of office.

So don’t bet too heavily on Obama losing re-election in November!

President Vs. President In Presidential Elections: 14 Times and 20 Presidents

On George Washington’s actual birthday, 280 years ago (1732), it is appropriate to ask how many times has there been a Presidential election in which two Presidents opposed each other?

The answer is 14 times, and a total of 20 Presidents have competed against a fellow Oval Office occupant, present or future!

Here are the details:

Presidential Elections of 1796 and 1800–John Adams vs Thomas Jefferson, with Adams first winning, and then Jefferson.

Presidential Elections Of 1824 and 1828–John Quincy Adams vs Andrew Jackson, with Adams first winning (even though behind Jackson in popular votes), and then Jackson.

Presidential Elections of 1836 and 1840–Martin Van Buren vs William Henry Harrison, with Van Buren first winning, and then Harrison.

Presidential Elections of 1888 and 1892–Benjamin Harrison vs Grover Cleveland, with Harrison first winning (even though behind Cleveland in popular votes), and then Cleveland.

Presidential Election Of 1912–the only time three Presidents, past, present and future, ran against each other, with Woodrow Wilson defeating President William Howard Taft and former President Theodore Roosevelt (running on a third party line, the Progressive Party).

Presidential Election of 1932–Herbert Hoover vs Franklin D. Roosevelt, with FDR winning.

Presidential Election of 1960–John F. Kennedy vs Richard Nixon, with JFK winning, but Nixon later winning the Presidency in 1968.

Presidential Election of 1976–Jimmy Carter vs Gerald Ford, with Carter defeating President Ford.

Presidential Election of 1980–President Jimmy Carter vs Ronald Reagan, with Reagan defeating President Carter.

Presidential Election Of 1992–President George H. W. Bush vs Bill Clinton, with Clinton defeating President Bush.

Of these 20 Presidents, only Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton–a total of five–never lost to their Presidential competitor, although it could be pointed out that FDR lost the Vice Presidency in 1920, a race that Warren G. Harding won for the White House, and that Ronald Reagan lost the Republican nomination for President to Gerald Ford in 1976!

So another trivia contest for those who are interested!