“Change” Elections: 1800, 1828, 1860, 1896, 1912, 1932, 1960, 1968, 1980, 2000, 2008, And Now 2016?

America has now had 58 Presidential elections, and it can now be said that 12 of them, about 20 percent, have been transformational elections.

In 1800, for the first time. the “opposition” won the Presidency, when Thomas Jefferson defeated John Adams.

In 1828, the “common man”, Andrew Jackson, was elected over John Quincy Adams, and all white males over 21, whether or not property owners, were able to vote, and Jackson was perceived as representing the western frontiersman and the urban worker.

In 1860, Abraham Lincoln’s victory ushered in a new political party, the Republican Party, as dominant for the next half century, and the Civil War developed out of the split over slavery and its expansion between the Union and the Confederacy. But the sectionalism of that period still exists in many ways in 2017.

In 1896, William McKinley’s victory over William Jennings Bryan promoted the growth of industry and urbanizastion over the previously predominant agricultural and rural nature of America, but in reality, that conflict still exists in 2017.

In 1912, the high point of progressive reform, and the evolution of government playing a major role in the economy from that point on, became a long term reality, with three Presidents–the past President Theodore Roosevelt; the incumbent President William Howard Taft; and the future President Woodrow Wilson—all competing in promoting what one could call the most reform oriented election, with all three Presidents being “progressive” to different degrees.

In 1932, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s victory over Herbert Hoover, was the time of the beginning of Democratic Party dominance, and ever bigger national government, even beyond the Progressive Era of the early 20th century.

In 1960, the election of John F. Kennedy was the triumph of overcoming the “religion issue”, as our first non Protestant President, a Roman Catholic from Massachusetts, was accomplished.

In 1968, the election of Richard Nixon marked the beginning of a turn to the Right, although Nixon actually continued and expanded elements of the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson in domestic affairs.

In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s victory marked the sharpest turn to the Right since Calvin Coolidge in the 1920s, and began an era of conservative government, that in many respects, continued under his successors, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

In 2000, the Supreme Court intervention in the Florida vote count, and the awarding of Florida to George W. Bush by 537 votes, giving him the Presidency, was a revolutionary change that changed the course of history, when Al Gore won the popular vote by more than a half million, and with the economy having improved during the Clinton years, should have led to Gore in the White House.

In 2008, Barack Obama’s victory over John McCain was a sharp turn to the left after what were arguably 40 years of conservative government to different degrees, including under Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, and Obama overcame the race issue, in becoming the first African American President.

And now, in 2016, Donald Trump’s victory MIGHT be a sign of another “change” election, with the white working class voting for Trump, giving him the victory in the Electoral College, even though rival Hillary Clinton won the biggest popular vote margin of a losing candidate (2.85 million), greater than many Presidents won on their road to the White House,

But it may eventually be seen as a “fluke” election, and may not be long lasting, and only time and events will tell us what the reality is.

49 comments on ““Change” Elections: 1800, 1828, 1860, 1896, 1912, 1932, 1960, 1968, 1980, 2000, 2008, And Now 2016?

  1. Rustbelt Democrat April 29, 2017 7:29 pm

    Consensus of everyone who is not his base is that it’s a fluke win.

  2. Princess Leia April 30, 2017 11:10 am

    ABC nightly news showed an ex-coal miner with black lung disease. He’s on Obamacare yet voted for Trump even though Trump wants to take away his Obamacare. To me, he came across as being a fool.

  3. Ronald April 30, 2017 11:33 am

    Princess Leia, there is a term for such a person, and it involves language that I, as a gentleman and scholar, have been using when watching the news later, although I never used to utilize such language–STUPID F***. I apologize for using it, but it is simply the truth about too many Trump voters!

  4. Rational Lefty April 30, 2017 1:13 pm

    Just like our neighbor. He’s retired, drawing Social Security. His youngest daughter lives at home and is mentally disabled and is on Medicaid. Yet he and his wife vote Republican every election even though Republicans are the party that wants to get rid of Social Security and Medicaid. Of course, the source for news for he and his wife is Fox News.

  5. Ronald April 30, 2017 1:39 pm

    Aaagh, Rational Lefty!

    There is an old fashioned saying: You can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink!

    These people are hopeless, and they are unwilling to process facts and information!

    The temptation is to say they get what they deserve!

    I am willing to bet the race and religion card is used, that we must work against racial minorities and Muslims, and that is like catnip, as they “eat it up”, and do not realize that they (the poor whites or lower middle class whites) are being fooled by wealthy whites, and do not even, despite all efforts, realize that fact!

  6. Paul Doyle April 30, 2017 2:31 pm

    Professor, I am sure you said ” Stupid Fool”. I would save the other F word for The Donald.

  7. Ronald April 30, 2017 3:32 pm

    HAHA, Paul, interpret as you wish! LOL

  8. D April 30, 2017 5:10 pm

    Ronald touches on an interesting topic: historically pivotal U.S. presidential elections which were critical and possibly realigning.

    I have agreed with the theory that the United States experienced realigning presidential elections mostly in the 30s with their particular year spreads: 1828 (Democrats won six of eight), 1860 (Republicans won seven of nine), 1896 (Republicans won seven of nine), 1932 (Democrats won seven of nine), 1968 (Republicans won seven of ten).

    Was 2008 a realigning presidential election for the Democrats? It should have been. And that’s due to the Iraq War and the economic meltdown a couple months before Election Day—on the watch of Republican president George W. Bush. But, in talking critical elections, ones having often to do with how people identify with parties (for those dominant ones during realigning periods), the dominant party responds. It is supposed to do so. But, if they don’t respond… Well, that is what this Democratic Party is facing with what played out in Election 2016 and here approximately six months later.


    Here is an excellent, lengthy discussion between true progressives Tim Black and Jimmy Dore….


  9. Rational Lefty April 30, 2017 5:19 pm

    It definitely is Professor.

  10. Pragmatic Progressive April 30, 2017 5:35 pm

    Ms. LeTourneau nails what it means to be Progressive for us.


    Saturday, May 9, 2015
    What It Means to be a Pragmatic Progressive

    I tend to be uncomfortable with labels. But when I need a short-hand version of where I fit on the political spectrum, “pragmatic progressive” works pretty well.

    The word “progressive” means that I align myself with progressive goals. For example, I wouldn’t disagree with much of anything on this list of Senator Bernie Sanders’ positions (although I definitely think that marijuana should be legalized and I’d add some things to his priorities – like criminal justice reform and gun control).

    But the word “pragmatic” indicates that I think the process we use to reach those goals is as important as identifying what they are. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “So I have tried to make it clear that it is wrong to use immoral means to attain moral ends.” I am not going to assume that I know what Dr. King would describe as “immoral means,” but I’ll give you some ideas about my own thoughts.

    One way that plays out is in “not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.” To illustrate, I share Sen. Sanders’ belief that single payer health insurance is the ideal. But it was Sanders himself who pointed out that, at the time Obamacare was passed, there were perhaps 8 votes in favor of single payer in the Senate. Meanwhile, people were literally dying for lack of health insurance and medical bills were the single most frequent contributor to bankruptcy. To wait until there were 60 votes in the Senate for single payer would have been to ignore the very real and present needs of people in this country. Crafting Obamacare and getting the 60 votes it needed to pass was the pragmatic thing to do precisely because it was doable and a significant improvement on the status quo. That’s why, in the end, Senator Sanders voted for it.

    But being a pragmatist also means paying attention to the potential for collateral damage in implementing your goals. On the issue of single payer, that was most recently demonstrated by Vermont’s failure to implement such a system. They found that it would require an 11.5% income tax on all residents. An abrupt change from our current system would create big winners and losers and the unintended consequences on the latter turned out to be too much to ask. As an alternative, a pragmatist would celebrate the movement away from employer-based health insurance created by the exchanges in Obamacare as a step towards single payer – minus the unintended consequences. That’s also what it means to play the long game.

    If there is a patron saint of pragmatists, it would be Reinhold Niebuhr. He is the Christian theologian most commonly known for the idea that we have to live in the world as it is, not as we want it to be. That means that getting involved in social change means getting your hands dirty. Purity in pursuit of goals is not an option. Here’s how Wilfred M. McClay described it:

    Niebuhr dismissed as mere “sentimentality” the progressive hope that the wages of individual sin could be overcome through intelligent social reform, and that America could be transformed in time into a loving fellowship of like-minded comrades, holding hands around the national campfire. Instead, the pursuit of good ends in the arena of national and international politics had to take full and realistic account of the unloveliness of human nature, and the unlovely nature of power. Christians who claimed to want to do good in those arenas had to be willing to get their hands soiled, for existing social relations were held together by coercion, and only counter-coercion could change them. All else was pretense and pipedreams.

    That might seem at odds with the idea of avoiding unintended consequences. But it’s really all of one piece. Pragmatists acknowledge that there will be collateral damages, and they chose their means carefully to limit them. In the case of the ACA as health care reform, that meant – to a certain degree – getting your hands dirty by getting in bed with health insurance and pharmaceutical companies. The whole approach by the Obama administration of incentivizing reform in those kinds of institutions rather than mandating it is a way to limit the backlash that leads to unintended consequences. That’s what it means to live in the world as it is.

    Of course, there are potential pitfalls for the pragmatic progressive. The most significant is that there are times that the line between getting your hands dirty and co-optation of your goals becomes very narrow. As the saying goes, “lie down with the dog, get up with the fleas.” That’s why we so often hear President Obama (a true pragmatist) talk about the importance of his North Star. In order to avoid that possibility, it’s important for the pragmatist to “keep their eye on the prize.”

  11. D April 30, 2017 5:41 pm

    Pragmatic Progressive writes, “Ms. [Nancy] LeTourneau nails what it means to be Progressive for us. …”

    You posted 25 minutes after I submitted my response along with the Tim Black–Jimmy Dore video.

    Did you view any of the video?

  12. Princess Leia April 30, 2017 7:08 pm

    We are not going to push aside the progressive values of inclusiveness, minority rights, women’s rights for an economics only agenda.

  13. D April 30, 2017 7:29 pm

    Princess Leia writes, “We are not going to push aside the progressive values of inclusiveness, minority rights, women’s rights for an economics only agenda.”

    That is not what Bernie Sanders offers.

    A Democrat, and this includes a self-described progressive, who is not on board for single payer—like with H.R. 676—is not embracing “progressive values.”

  14. Pragmatic Progressive April 30, 2017 8:01 pm

    The programs you post from YouTube are hard-left views.

    The blog link I posted, is representative of our views, which are mainstream left. We’ve been mainstream left and Democratic, all our lives, an influence from our family and friends. Most of her post lately have been on Facebook because she’s busy writing for the Washington Monthly blog: https://www.facebook.com/SmartypantsBlog

  15. Princess Leia April 30, 2017 8:29 pm

    Ms. LeTourneau’s piece, that Pragmatic posted above, describes the issue with the single payer vote. People were dying, we couldn’t afford to wait for 60 votes for single payer. It’s about putting people over principle.

    Like her and other blogs we read, I and the others here, are both pragmatic and realist.  What that means is that I will always go with “what works” over an impractical solution, or take what is achievable for now versus doing without anything in the vague hope that “the perfect” will somehow happen. I recognize that “all or nothing” often means nothing, and that if nothing hurts a lot more people than something, I’ll take the something – every time. I’m  someone who has bothered to read the party platform and what the candidates said when they were running. Were any of them my “ideal?” No, and I never expected them to be. If I can agree on most of what they say, and another candidate only agrees with me on a little, then I’ll take the most, recognizing that what we disagree on is not a “deal breaker.” I recognize that I will have disappointments, even serious disagreements on occasion with them. I also realize that not everyone agrees with me, and that in the legislative process that will mean problems and obstructions.  I accordingly fix any “blame” where it belongs, not on a handy scapegoat.  I’ve had enough experience to know that sometimes priorities clash or change, that budgets can – and will – limit what you can do, and the world has a nasty habit of reshuffling those. I’ve studied enough history to know that the great progressive advances of the past were agonizingly slow in coming, and seriously flawed when they were first passed.

  16. D April 30, 2017 8:40 pm

    Pragmatic Progressive,

    One reason why being truly progressive is beneficial is that one is not close-minded. I think we all can agree that we are better off that way.

  17. Rational Lefty April 30, 2017 8:53 pm

    Pragmatic is pointing out that we simply have different views from you, D.

  18. D April 30, 2017 8:57 pm

    Rational Lefty writes, Pragmatic is pointing out that we simply have different views from you, D.

    I would not expect to find every person to think and feel the same as each other, Rational Lefty.

  19. Former Republican April 30, 2017 10:04 pm

    Labeling people whose views are mainstream/center-left as not being “truly progressive” is being close-minded.

  20. D April 30, 2017 11:46 pm

    Former Republican writes, “Labeling people whose views are mainstream/center-left as not being ‘truly progressive’ is being close-minded.”


    For example, I look back to the 2016 presidential primaries. I noticed two things which marked an important difference between how the Republican and Democratic parties’ national committees operated.

    The Republican National Committee did not rig their 2016 presidential primaries against Donald Trump (and against everyone who voted to nominate Donald Trump).

    The Democratic National Committee did. With Debbie Wasserman Schultz as DNC chair, they rigged their presidential primaries in favor of Hillary Clinton and against Bernie Sanders (and that also means against everyone who voted to nominate Bernie Sanders).

    That is not an example of being “center-left.” That is not “mainstream.” That is certainly not “progressive.”

    I do not recall many of the Hillary Clinton primaries supporters having expressed feeling bothered by this. In fact, I think some of us still remember that Hillary Clinton invited Debbie Wasserman Schultz, rather immediately after she had to resign her position, to join her general-election campaign. And over the next several weeks, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were among the “mainstream” Democrats who showed up in Florida to help convince the people of the 23rd congressional district to re-nominate Wasserman Schultz over the actual progressive, Tim Canova. (Canova accurate described Wasserman Schultz as a “corporate stooge.”)

    I am an observant person, Former Republican. The words “labeling” and “distinguishing” do not mean the same thing. Tim Black and Jimmy Dore, along with numerous online, are truly progressive. Their analyses are both penetrating and deep. A lot of the “mainstream,” particularly from print (especially “Washington Post”) and online publications, blogs, and other sources, plus linear cable-television news (yes, MSNBC), want to protect the status quo for the wealthy. And that means they push for more neoliberal and neoconservative policies.

  21. Rustbelt Democrat May 1, 2017 12:10 pm

    Pragmatic – These videos and writers that D posts are known as emoprogs. They are liberals or progressives who have libertarian leanings and their political orientation is to be constantly dissatisfied.

    As for D’s constant claim that the primaries were being rigged, that is a conspiracy theory and it has been extensively debunked. The Nation, which is a very reliable source, despite what D claims, explains: https://www.thenation.com/article/the-democratic-primary-wasnt-rigged/

  22. Princess Leia May 1, 2017 12:47 pm

    That girl yelling CNN F****s at his rally Saturday night is a perfect example of one of the deplorables amongst his base.

  23. Rational Lefty May 1, 2017 1:18 pm

    Makes me wonder if D is like some of the others we have seen here in the past, claiming that left and right are opposite in Europe than the US.

  24. Paul Doyle May 1, 2017 3:09 pm

    Rasmussen pointed out that there are 3,088 counties in the U.S. and only 206 of them voted for the winner in each of the last three presidential elections. These counties have had an outsized impact on the election results despite casting only 5% of the national vote last year, they accounted for 51% of the popular vote shift toward Republicans. Over half are in the midwest (31 in Iowa, 22 in Wisconsin; 19 in Minnesota; 12 in Michigan; 12 in Illinois; nine in Ohio and five in Indiana.

    These counties are a good place to study changing political landscapes. These are truly the swing counties that swing with the national mood. A lot of them have tradionally leaned Democratic during Republican victories in ’98, ’00, ’04. Only a few voted Republican during the ’92 and ’96 Democratic victories.

    To me, 2016 will be seen as a fluke election. My eyes will be watching the Rasmussen data to explore the political winds of the cultural, technological and political trends of these pivot counties.

  25. Ronald May 1, 2017 3:15 pm

    Great point and analysis, Paul! Thanks!

    Clearly, the Midwest is, as always, the battleground of the nation politically!

  26. D May 1, 2017 5:22 pm

    Southern Liberal writes, “LOL! Observer.com is founded by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law.”

    I don’t think it is funny.

    I do not dismiss a source outright because I, or someone else, may not like where it comes from.

    If I was immediately dismissive, I would trust nothing from ABC News (Disney), CBS (CBS Corporation, split from Viacom), CNN (Time Warner), CNBC/CNBC World/MSNBC/NBC News (NBCUniversal, whose parent company is Comcast, a much-hated U.S. company @ http://www.pcmag.com/news/350979/comcast-is-americas-most-hated-company ), and Fox/Fox Business Network/Fox News Channel (21st Century, formed and split from NewsCorp; Rupert Murdoch). I would also not trust anything from “New York Times” (which recently hired a person who denies climate change, Bret Stephens, and employs Paul Krugman, the economist who labored throughout 2016 to smear Bernie Sanders, smear economists who supported Bernie Sanders for nomination and the presidency, and prop up Hillary Clinton as if a job was awaiting Krugman in a Hillary Clinton administration). And I would not trust “Washington Post” (owned by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, whose ownership of that publication is not good: @ http://trofire.com/2017/03/19/jeff-bezos-using-washington-post-protect-cia/ ; “Post” ran over 10 online hit pieces, within a 24-hour period, on Bernie Sanders during the 2016 primaries: @ http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/03/08/washington-post-ran-16-negative-stories-bernie-sanders-16-hours ).

    I understand concerns.

    Here is a recent report:

    DNC: We Can Legally Choose Candidate Over Cigars In Back Room

    By Jordan Chariton
    May 1, 2017 | http://medium.com/theyoungturks/dnc-we-can-legally-choose-candidate-over-cigars-in-back-room-e3026730e252

    In a courtroom in South Florida last week, a DNC lawyer said openly that if the party wanted to do things like the old days and pick a candidate over cigars in back rooms, it would be within their legal rights to do so.

    “We could have voluntarily decided that, ‘Look, we’re gonna go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way,’” Brad Spiva, lawyer for the DNC, said during a court hearing in Carol Wilding, et al. v. DNC Services Corp., according to court filings exclusively obtained by TYT Politics.

  27. Pragmatic Progressive May 1, 2017 6:26 pm

    We’re more trusting of all the ones you listed except for the Fox channels.

  28. D May 1, 2017 7:52 pm

    Pragmatic Progressive,

    Just to let you—and other—people know: I have not been posting here, at “The Progressive Professor,” and since 2011, to be in a “we” club.

    I am here because I appreciate Ronald’s “The Progressive Professor.”

  29. Pragmatic Progressive May 1, 2017 8:12 pm

    Thanks for that encouraging news Leia.

  30. Pragmatic Progressive May 1, 2017 8:34 pm

    Yet again, another example of why the 25th amendment needs to be used ASAP.

  31. Pragmatic Progressive May 1, 2017 8:37 pm

    D – Me and my family came here because of the Professor as well. We love history and enjoy reading the historical information he posts.

  32. Ronald May 1, 2017 8:59 pm

    I want to thank all of you for your kind words tonight.

    I really appreciate the remarks, and your support.

  33. Pragmatic Progressive May 4, 2017 4:39 pm

    In addition to the GOP defunding Planned Parenthood, their God-King’s latest executive order authorizes discrimination in the name of “religious liberty”. 


    That’s why I considered the 2016 election as being a choice between choosing to live in 2050 or live in 1950. Apparently, some voters chose 1950 and the rest of us now have to suffer for their choices.

  34. Ronald May 8, 2017 8:45 am

    Yes, Southern Liberal, it made me so happy to see Obama, a great man, a true statesman, a principled leader, receive this award, also given in earlier years to George H W Bush and Gerald Ford.

    One can be certain Donald Trump will NEVER receive this award!

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