Presidential Election Of 1864

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!

 

“Non Politicians”–Presidential Winners And A Few Presidential Nominees

With three Republican Presidential candidates for 2016 being “non politicians”, people who have never served in a government position on the city, state or national level, the issue arises: have there been any other such candidates in the past?

It turns out that we have had several military generals who never served in a civilian position, that could qualify as “non politicians”.

This includes the following:

Zachary Taylor 1848 (Mexican War)

Winfield Scott 1852 (Mexican War)

George McClellan 1864 (Civil War)

Ulysses S. Grant 1868, 1872 (Civil War)

Winfield Scott Hancock 1880 (Civil War)

Taylor and Grant were elected, while Scott, McClellan, and Hancock were defeated in their attempts to become President.

McClellan did serve as Governor of New Jersey from 1878-1881, AFTER running for President against Abraham Lincoln.  But Taylor, Scott, Grant and Hancock never ran for public office.

Additionally, Horace Greeley, the New York Tribune publisher, ran for President in 1872, as the candidate of the Democratic Party and the breakaway group in the Republican Party opposed to Grant’s reelection, known as the “Liberal Republicans”.  He served very briefly as an appointed member of the House of Representatives, but not by vote of the people, but rather a choice of Whig Party leaders to fill a short term replacement before the election for the next term in Congress.  He served a total of only three months from December 1848 to March 1849, and did not run for the New York City seat.  Technically, one could say he had that political experience, but so little in time, that he could be seen as basically a “non politician” when he ran for President 24 years later, although being the editor of the New York Tribune was certainly “political” in nature.

Then we have Wall Street industrialist and businessman Wendell Willkie, who ran against Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940, after stirring the Republican National Convention and overcoming much better known Presidential candidates, but while running a good race, he lost, and then supported the World War II effort and cooperated with FDR until Willkie died in late 1944.

And finally, we have billionaire Ross Perot, who ran for President as an independent in 1992 and as the Reform Party candidate in 1996.

So only Zachary Taylor and Ulysses S. Grant were “non politicians” who were elected President.

The odds of Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, or Dr. Benjamin Carson being elected President in 2016, therefore, are astronomical!

Presidents Replacing Their Vice Presidents: Not Very Productive

The new book, DOUBLE DOWN: GAME CHANGE 2012, states that Barack Obama’s campaign seriously considered dumping Vice President Joe Biden for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a rumor long believed and promoted.

Would such a change have brought about a different election result? Hardly so, and Obama came to realize that his Vice President was an asset, and that it was best to leave well enough alone.

When one looks at history, it is clear that “dumping” a Vice President is not a good idea, although there have been cases of such situations sometimes being necessary.

This is true of Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, with Burr having tried to take the Presidency away from Jefferson in the Presidential Election of 1800.

It is also true of Andrew Jackson and John C. Calhoun, who were at tremendous odds over the protective tariff in 1832, with Calhoun finally resigning the Vice Presidency with three months left in the term, before being replaced by Martin Van Buren for Jackson’s second term.

Abraham Lincoln’s decision to dump Hannibal Hamlin for Andrew Johnson in 1864 is seen as a mistake, as Johnson ended up being impeached, although not convicted, by Congress when he became President.

Ulysses S. Grant’s first term Vice President, Schuyler Colfax, being involved in scandal, was replaced by Henry Wilson for the second term, a necessary action, due to the Credit Mobilier Scandal revelations.

Franklin D. Roosevelt had three Vice Presidents in his four terms, with John Nance Garner refusing to run with FDR when he went for his third term. But Henry A. Wallace was replaced with Harry Truman for the fourth term, due to opposition from Southerners and conservatives who worried about Wallace on the issue of race relations, and his views of the Soviet Union during World War II. Looking back, it was better that Truman, rather than Wallace, became President upon FDR’s death in April 1945.

Gerald Ford is the last President to replace his Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, with the choice of Bob Dole, but that helped to defeat him in a close race with Jimmy Carter.

Overall, it is best for a President to stick with his Vice President when running for a second term, unless there are extenuating circumstances as with Jefferson, Jackson, Grant and FDR.

History Of Major Social And Economic Change And Presidential Reelections

When one examines American history, in times of major social and economic change, often very controversial, the American people have chosen every time to endorse those changes, no matter how divisive, by reelecting the President who brought about the reforms.

Witness Abraham Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation, followed by a reelection victory in the midst of the Civil War in 1864.

Witness Woodrow Wilson, and the passage of the Federal Reserve Act, Clayton Anti Trust Act, Federal Trade Commission Act, and several labor reforms, and being reelected in 1916.

Witness Franklin D. Roosevelt and his New Deal, and the passage of the National Labor Relations Act and Social Security Act, leading to reelection in 1936.

Witness Harry Truman vetoing the Taft Hartley Labor Act and promoting integration of the the military and Washington, DC, and then winning election in 1948.

Witness Lyndon B. Johnson promoting the Civil Rights Act in 1964, and then winning election to a full term the same year.

Witness Republican Richard Nixon, going along with Democrats, and signing into law the Environmental Protection Agency, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Occupational Safety And Health Administration, and Affirmative Action, and being reelected in 1972.

Now Barack Obama has accomplished major reform on health care, ObamaCare, something millions of Americans already benefit from, so to imagine the American people rejecting it this November, would defy American history, that when major change comes about, it becomes permanent!

Ten Other Presidential Elections That Transformed American History For Better Or Worse

In addition to what are considered the ten most important Presidential elections in American history, there are also ten other elections that transformed our history, as history would have been different had the results been the opposite of what they were.

In chronological order, these elections are as follows.

Presidential Election of 1844—If James K. Polk had not won over Henry Clay, the likelihood of gaining the Pacific Northwest by treaty with Great Britain, and gaining the Southwest by war with Mexico, together the greatest land expansion since the Louisiana Purchase under Thomas Jefferson, would have been far less likely. But also the Civil War might have been delayed without the battle over freedom or slavery in the Mexican Cession territories gained from the war.

Presidential Election of 1864—An election often ignored, if Abraham Lincoln had not won over General George McClellan, who he had fired from Union Army military leadership, the Civil War, in its late stages, might have ended differently in some form, hard to determine.

Presidential Election of 1876—If the Electoral Commission and Compromise of 1877, giving Rutherford B. Hayes victory over Samuel Tilden, had not occurred, after a disputed election result in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina, there might have been civil war erupting all over again.

Presidential Election Of 1896—If William McKinley had not defeated William Jennings Bryan, there might have been no Spanish American War, no Filipino Insurrection, and no gaining of overseas colonies, as Bryan opposed the idea.

Presidential Election Of 1916—If Woodrow Wilson had not squeaked out a victory over Charles Evans Hughes, he had readied plans to hand over the Presidency to Hughes early, with the Secretary of State resigning, Hughes being named Secretary of State, the Vice President resigning, and then Wilson resigning. Wilson left behind a hand written memorandum to this effect, concerned about the transition of power as the dangers of World War I came closer to the possibility of American participation.

Presidential Election Of 1928—If Herbert Hoover had lost to Alfred E. Smith, the likelihood of a very different reaction to the onset of the Great Depression in 1929 might have led Smith to being the equivalent of Hoover’s successor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and his New Deal.

Presidential Election of 1968—If Hubert Humphrey had defeated Richard Nixon, it is likely that the Vietnam War would have ended earlier, and that there would not have been a Watergate scandal, and instead a continuation of the Great Society begun by Lyndon B. Johnson.

Presidential Election of 1976—If Gerald Ford had defeated Jimmy Carter, it is likely that after 12 years of Republican control and growing economic and foreign policy challenges, that the Democrats would have retaken the White House in 1980, and there would have been no Ronald Reagan Presidency.

Presidential Election Of 1992–If George H. W. Bush had not had to deal with an economic recession and the third party challenge of Ross Perot, the second highest popular percentage third party effort in US history, it is very likely that Bill Clinton would never have been President.

Presidential Election of 2000—If the popular vote recount in Florida had been continued, and the Supreme Court had not intervened to declare the election over, then Al Gore would have become President instead of George W. Bush, and there might not have been a September 11 terrorist attack, the resulting war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and likely not a tremendous growth in the national debt from $5 trillion to $10 trillion

How much history would have been different if only the results of these elections had been other than what they were!