Presidential Election Of 1880

Joe Kennedy III, Grandson Of Robert F. Kennedy: The New Kennedy Hope?

In the midst of speculation about potential Democratic Presidential candidates in 2020, 37 year old Joseph (Joe) Kennedy III, the grandson of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and son of former Congressman Joseph Kennedy II, is brought into play.

By 2020, Joe Kennedy III will be 40 years old, and he has aroused interest with his strong stands on many issues, as a leading critic of the Trump Administration.

But still, as a Congressman, not a Senator or Governor, and at such a young age, it is certainly unusual for this young Kennedy to be seen in such high regard.

Many see him as the new Kennedy hope, as a person of a new generation, who might be able to revive the spirit of his grandfather, and his great-uncle, President John F. Kennedy.

He has picked up the issues of ObamaCare, immigration, and transgender rights as his own, and the theory is that he will run for the US Senate when and if Elizabeth Warren or Edward Markey, the two Senators from Massachusetts, leave the scene, but there is no guarantee that will happen soon.

So some wonder if Kennedy could go from the House to the White House, as only James A. Garfield accomplished in the 1880 Presidential Election.

There have been other cases, quite rare however, of Congressmen running for President, but usually at an older age and with much more experience, and failing to win the nomination.

But this is a Kennedy, and the rules of Presidential politics may not apply in Joe Kennedy III’s case.

After so many surprises as to nominees, and often winners, in Presidential campaigns in the past two generations, who can say that a President Joe Kennedy III could not occur in 2020?

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!

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

Paul Ryan Boomlet For President Begun By John Boehner: Really?

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has now been endorsed and promoted to be the Republican Presidential nominee by former Speaker John Boehner.

Boehner does not exactly have great popular support in the Republican Party, and the Tea Party Movement and other right wing extremists do not wish to give Boehner “the time of day”, having, basically, forced him out of the Speakership.

Ryan had said he did not want to be Speaker, but caved in to pressure.  The question is whether he can now be pressured to promote a revolt against front runner Donald Trump.

The Republican establishment wants Ryan to run, feeling that John Kasich has little chance of success in his quest to stop both Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, who no one in the Republican Establishment can tolerate!

If Ryan, who is the presiding officer at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, were to lead a revolt, it will likely cause turmoil on the scale of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, which doomed the chances of the Democrats to elect their nominee, Hubert Humphrey in that election year.

It is clear, as this blogger has stated for awhile, that the Republican Party, as we know it, is done, and that Ryan cannot stop that demise.

If a third party movement starts, it insures that the Democrats and Hillary Clinton will win the Presidency, the Senate, a slight chance to gain the House majority, and transform the Supreme Court, in a truly “wave” election.

And if, somehow, Ryan ends up taking the GOP Presidential nomination, it will bring back memories of the 2012 Presidential election, when Ryan was “conquered” by Vice President Joe Biden in their VP debate.

Yes, Ryan has a handsome face, and youth, but he is also a flawed candidate, which this blogger emphasized four years ago, causing for awhile a major right wing attack on this blogger, including in THE BLAZE, the media creation of talk show host Glenn Beck.  How dare I attack Paul Ryan, showing his many faults and shortcomings!

Also, were Ryan to be the Presidential nominee, it would be only the second time that a sitting member of the House has been the nominee of a major political party for President, with the only  time being Ohio Congressman James A. Garfield, who was elected in 1880, and then, sadly, was mortally wounded by an assassin, Charles J. Guiteau,  which is covered in Chapter 3 of my new book, ASSASSINATIONS, THREATS, AND THE AMERICAN PRESIDENCY: FROM ANDREW JACKSON TO BARACK OBAMA (Rowman Littlefield Publishers, August 2015).

So the track record on a Congressman going to the Presidency is not a good marker for success!

How Death “Might” Have Affected American History! Eleven Potential “Turning Points”!

Assassinations and assassination attempts, and threats, have affected American History, as is covered in my book, “Assassinations, Threats, And The American Presidency: From Andrew Jackson To Barack Obama”, Rowman Littlefield, August 2015.

But then there are cases, not covered  in my book, of situations that could have occurred and affected American history, that have nothing to do with assassinations.

Witness the following:

In 1857, newly inaugurated President James Buchanan was extremely ill at the time of the inauguration, and almost failed to deliver his Inaugural Address, and was in bed for a few weeks after the inauguration, until he recovered.  It was believed he might have been poisoned by an unsafe water supply at the hotel he stayed at before his inauguration.  Had he died in office, Vice President John C. Breckinridge would have been President, and would have been only 36 years old, the youngest President in American history, and actually elected in November 1856, when he was still 35!

Stephen Douglas, Senator from Illinois, was the Democratic nominee for President in the Presidential Election of 1860, a four way race won by Abraham Lincoln, but had Douglas won, he would have died in office three months later, two months after the Civil War had begun, transforming the whole era if that had occurred!

In 1872, Democratic and Liberal Republican Presidential nominee Horace Greeley, who lost the Presidential Election of 1872 to President Ulysses S. Grant, died three weeks after the election, and before the Electoral College met.  What if he had won the election?  It would have meant that Vice Presidential nominee, B. Gratz Brown, Governor of Missouri and, earlier, Senator from Missouri, would have been President!

President Chester Alan Arthur  (1881-1885) succeeded President James A. Garfield after his assassination in September 1881, and finished out the term, but was denied nomination for a full term in 1884, which turned out to be fortunate as Arthur died in 1886, and therefore, would have died in office!

President Grover Cleveland, in his second nonconsecutive term in the White House from 1893-1897, had serious surgery for cancer of the jaw in 1894, done in secret on a boat on the Hudson River, and kept secret until after his death in 1908.  Had he died of cancer, Vice President Adlai Stevenson, the grandfather of Democratic Presidential nominee, Adlai Stevenson II in 1952 and 1956, would have been President!

President William Howard Taft (1909-1913)  saw his Vice President, James Sherman, die in office in October 1912, shortly before the Presidential Election of 1912, which Taft lost, in the worst reelection defeat of any President in American history, winning only two states.  But when the Electoral College met, the name of Columbia University President Nicholas Murray Butler was substituted to count the electoral votes.  However, there was no provision for a replacement Vice President, so had Taft won, he would have had no Vice President for the entire term of 1913-1917!

President Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) had a severe stroke in September 1919, and never fully recovered in his last year and a half in the White House, and his wife ran cabinet meetings in his absence, but had Wilson resigned or died, Vice President Thomas Marshall would have become President!

Franklin D. Roosevelt had Henry A. Wallace, his Secretary of Agriculture, as his third term Vice President from 1941-1945, and had he not been lobbied to replace the unpopular Wallace with Harry Truman for his fourth term run for the Presidency, it would have been Wallace who would have succeeded FDR in the Presidency after 82 days of the fourth term in 1945!

FDR’s Republican opponents in the Presidential Election of 1940 were businessman Wendell Willkie for President, and Oregon Senator Charles McNary for Vice President.  Had they won the White House, the nation would have faced losing both of them in the last year of the term–McNary dying in February 1944, and Willkie in October 1944, an unprecedented situation to have had both the President and Vice President in the same term die in office!  And this would have occurred during the height of the battle to win World War II, a very dangerous time for such an occurrence!

Harry Truman’s Vice President in his full term from 1949-1953 was Alben Barkley, who wished to run for President in 1952, but was pushed aside since he was already in his 70s, and it was felt it was not a good idea to have a President of that age come to office.  It was fortunate that this happened, since Barkley died in April 1956, so would have died in office!

President Gerald Ford replaced Vice President Nelson Rockefeller as his running mate in the 1976 election for Senator Bob Dole, under pressure from conservative Republicans led by Ronald Reagan, and lost the Presidential Election of 1976 to Jimmy Carter.  Had Ford kept Rockefeller on the ticket, some think he would have defeated Carter, and if that was so, then Ford would have lost his Vice President in office, as Rockefeller died in January 1979!

 

“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!