John Adams

Presidential Concession Speeches An Endorsement Of American Democracy!

The story of American democracy over two centuries and more has been graceful concession speeches by the losers of Presidential elections. Despite vehement and emotional feelings on both sides of an election, being a “good sport” and conceding in a proper manner is an American tradition!

The only time there was, in effect, no concession speeches was when South Carolina, and eventually ten other Southern states, eventually refused to accept that Abraham Lincoln had won the Presidency in 1860, and began the civil insurrection known to history as the American Civil War!

Other than that one time, losers of Presidential elections have always been gracious and patriotic in their acceptance of the victory of their rivals, until 2020 when Donald Trump refused to concede and provoked the US Capitol Insurrection of January 6, 2021!

Some elections have been very close, as in 1876, when Rutherford B. Hayes defeated Samuel Tilden, in an election which dragged on to final determination until just before Inauguration Day in 1877, with Tilden accepting his loss.

The same situation occurred in 1884, when the Republican Party lost the Presidency for the first time in a generation to Democrat Grover Cleveland by very small margins, but James G. Blaine accepted defeat graciously.

In 1916, we had the second closest Electoral Vote margin after 1876, until later in the year 2000, with loser Charles Evans Hughes being gracious in defeat to President Woodrow Wilson.

The upset election victory of President Harry Truman over New York Governor Thomas E. Dewey in 1948 was accepted in a proper way by Dewey. And later, Truman had Dewey visit the White House!

Richard Nixon in 1960 had advisers suggest he challenge John F. Kennedy over the close Illinois vote, but Nixon, outgoing Vice President, refused to drag out the matter, and accepted defeat in a gracious manner.

President Gerald Ford was heartbroken in 1976, when he lost to Jimmy Carter, but was very gracious in concession, read by his wife Betty Ford, because the President had developed laryngitis. And the Fords and the Carters became fast friends in later years, a closer friendship than anyone since John Adams and Thomas Jefferson!

Michael Dukakis was way ahead of George H. W. Bush at one point of the 1988 Presidential campaign, but was very appropriate in his concession speech.

President George H.W. Bush was devastated by his loss to Bill Clinton in 1992, as was Bob Dole in 1996, but both were proper in their concessions.

Al Gore fought the good fight in 2000, contesting the result for 36 days, but then conceding, when the Supreme Court intervened, and as outgoing Vice President, rejected any further battle over the Electoral College vote count on January 6, 2001.

Senator John McCain was totally decent and proper in his gracious concession speech, congratulating the nation in 2008, on the election of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

Mitt Romney had the same decency when he lost to Obama in 2012, and Hillary Clinton conceded the morning after the 2016 election to Donald Trump, although totally stunned by the loss.

So there was no excuse, and still there is none today, for any candidate for the Presidency who loses the election to refuse to concede, and instead to cause chaos, disarray, and literal violence, as that provoked by Donald Trump against Joe Biden’s victory in 2020.

So the time has come for Donald Trump to pay the price for the bloodshed and violence he provoked, and to be convicted and sentenced to federal prison.

And his decision to continue to provoke violence and what he calls “retribution” should lead to his incarceration BEFORE trial, as an example to the American people what happens, when anyone, even a former President, chooses to promote undermining of American democracy and the rule of law!

C-Span Presidential Historians Survey 2021 Announced Today!

For all Presidential followers, including scholars and specialists in the American Presidency and Presidential history, today is a great day, as C-Span announced its Presidential Historians Survey results for 2021!

It will take time to analyze the results, but a few points stand out:

Barack Obama went up from 12th to 10th in the overall listings.

Donald Trump ended up tied for 42nd out of 44, with Franklin Pierce, with only James Buchanan at 44 and Andrew Johnson at 43 below him.

Woodrow Wilson slipped from 11th to 13th as he continues to decline in overall rankings.

Andrew Jackson slipped dramatically from 18th to 22nd, and is now just in the middle of the overall rankings.

James K. Polk slipped from 14th to 18th, a continued decline in overall rankings.

John Adams and John Quincy Adams both rose four points from earlier rankings.

Bill Clinton dropped from 15th to 19th, a dramatic decline after having risen in earlier rankings.

Jimmy Carter ended up tied with James A. Garfield at 26th, and in the “battle” of Gerald Ford vs Carter, Carter came out ahead for the third time in the four C-Span surveys, in 2000, 2008 along with 2021, with Ford ahead in 2017.

Joe Biden Victory Looking More Impressive As Vote Count Has Reached 99 Percent!

Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in the Presidential Election of 2020 looks more impressive by the day, and now, 99 percent of the vote is in, and Biden has 80.1 million votes to Trump’s 73.9 million votes, so a lead in popular votes of 6.2 million!

Assuming the same division of votes in the remaining one percent not yet tabulated, the final vote should be 80.9 million votes for Biden, and 74.6 million votes for Trump, a margin of 6.3 million votes.

This is nearly two and a half times the popular vote lead of 2.85 million that Hillary Clinton had over Donald Trump in 2016, and it makes Trump on the losing side of the popular vote in the two elections by a total of 9.1 million!

So Trump in the popular vote was twice a massive loser, with George W. Bush the loser in 2000 by 540,000; Rutherford Hayes in 1876 the loser by about 250,000; Benjamin Harrison the loser in 1888 by about 90,000; and John Quincy Adams the loser in 1824 by about 38,000.

And Joe Biden won the Sun Belt states of Arizona and Georgia, and retook the Midwest states that Hillary Clinton lost by small margins in 2016—Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin!

When Donald Trump won in 2016, he declared it a landslide with 306-232 in the Electoral College, but now that Joe Biden has accomplished the same electoral vote by taking five states from Biden, suddenly it is sore loser behavior, very infantile, on the part of Donald Trump, but the plans for the inauguration and setting up of the government over the next 53 days will continue to move forward!

Trump may never concede, but it does not matter, and only makes him look terrible in the eyes of history. And he may not show up at the Inauguration, which only John Adams in 1801, John Quincy Adams in 1829, and Andrew Johnson in 1869 failed to do!

And let us be honest, who cares if Trump shows up or acts civil, since that is NOT his nature, and his presence would actually besmirch the festivities, as we finally have dignity, decency, competence, knowledge, compassion and empathy back in the White House, which is sorely needed after the nightmare disaster of the corrupt Trump regime!

Joe Biden The Sixth Vice President To Be Elected President

Joe Biden is the sixth Vice President to be elected President.

Four of the six were elected from the Vice Presidency:

John Adams after George Washington 1796
Thomas Jefferson after John Adams 1800
Martin Van Buren after Andrew Jackson 1836
George H. W. Bush after Ronald Reagan 1988

Richard Nixon was elected eight years after losing the Presidency in 1960, and was the first Vice President to be elected President in 132 years.

And now, Joe Biden was elected President four years after leaving the Vice Presidency, not attempting to run due to the death of his son, Beau Biden.

Many have speculated that had Beau Biden not passed away, that Joe Biden would have competed with Hillary Clinton for the 2016 nomination, and might have defeated her, and gone on to win over Donald Trump.

Sadly, if that had happened, the nation would have avoided the horrible tragedy of Donald Trump and the damage he has perpetrated.

But at least, now, Joe Biden can right much of the wrong of Donald Trump, and he will carry on the Barack Obama tradition!

Additionally, four of the nine Vice Presidents who succeeded to the Presidency due to the demise of the President, went on to be elected to a full term—Theodore Roosevelt in 1904, Calvin Coolidge in 1924, Harry Truman in 1948, and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964.

The other five Vice Presidents who succeeded to the Presidency were not elected on their own—John Tyler, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester Alan Arthur, and Gerald Ford, who succeeded Richard Nixon after his resignation, and was the only Vice President not elected to either the Vice Presidency or the Presidency, as he lost to Jimmy Carter for a full term in 1976.

The Tradition Of Gracious Losers Of Presidential Elections Not Being Accepted By Donald Trump!

The tradition in Presidential elections is for the loser to concede with grace and statesmanship.

One can forget about that with President Donald Trump, who is promoting conspiracy theories, and according to some sources, has every intention of refusing to cooperate on the transition, and staying in the White House on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2021, refusing to leave the building or attend the inauguration of his successor.

Other Presidents have refused to attend the inauguration of their successor, including John Adams when Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated in 1801; John Quincy Adams when Andrew Jackson was inaugurated in 1829; and Andrew Johnson when Ulysses S. Grant was inaugurated in 1869.

We have seen in modern times all of the Presidential losers concede graciously—Richard Nixon in 1960, Barry Goldwater in 1964, Hubert Humphrey in 1968, George McGovern in 1972, Gerald Ford in 1976, Jimmy Carter in 1980, Walter Mondale in 1984, Michael Dukakis in 1988, George H. W. Bush in 1992, Bob Dole in 1996, Al Gore in 2000, John Kerry in 2004, John McCain in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012, and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Donald Trump is acting like a spoiled child, a privileged character, a prima donna, who clearly would love to be an authoritarian dictator and has been a threat for four years, but the American people have clearly made him aware that his “employment” in the White House for four more years is not desired, and that he has, effectively, been “fired” by a vast margin of about 5-6 million popular votes by the time all of the votes are counted!

The Vice Presidency More Crucial Than Ever Before In The Presidential Election Of 2020

The office of the Vice Presidency has become an office of real substance and significance since the time of Richard Nixon as Vice President under Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953-1961.

Before that, the Vice Presidency was an office ignored and forgotten, except when a President died in office.

Only three Vice Presidents, all early on in American history (John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren) had been elevated to the Presidency by election, rather than succession due to death of the President.

Only when George H. W. Bush succeeded Ronald Reagan by election in 1988, did we again have a Vice President elected directly to the Presidency.

However, we did have Nixon lose the Presidency after Eisenhower, only to win it eight years later in 1968. And we did have Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, and Al Gore run for President and lose.

Now, we have former Vice President Joe Biden having a good chance to be the Presidential nominee of his party in 2020.

But in many ways, even more significant now than the Presidential race, is the reality that the odds of a future Vice President succeeding during the term is magnified by the fact that all four leading individuals who might be President in 2021 are old men–Donald Trump at 74, Joe Biden at 78, Michael Bloomberg at 78, and Bernie Sanders at 79, when the term begins in January 2021.

All except Bloomberg have known health issues–Trump both mentally and physically, Biden mentally, and Sanders physically. Bloomberg at this point seems free of any mental or physical health issues.

But the reality that the three Democrats will reach 80 in either the first or second year of the next term is alarming and worrisome, and magnifies the importance of choosing the right Vice Presidential choice, with the odds growing that whoever it is, he or she is likely to occupy the Oval Office before January 2025.

It is a sobering thought, but one must face reality, so the choice of a running mate is more crucial than ever before.

Eleven Presidents With Compassion And Empathy, And Eleven Presidents Who Had Neither

Since today is Presidents Day, this author and blogger is posting two entries after the one yesterday, to commemorate the holiday.

So here is the second entry today, and the third and last entry to celebrate Presidents Day!

The most important traits that any President should have, but many do not, is compassion and empathy.

There are Presidents who have compassion and empathy as very clear parts of their personalities, and there are those who have absolutely no such compassion or empathy, making them uncaring and harsh in personality.

A list of eleven Presidents WITH compassion and empathy would include the following in chronological order:

John Quincy Adams

Abraham Lincoln

James A. Garfield

Theodore Roosevelt

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Harry Truman

John F. Kennedy

Lyndon B. Johnson

Jimmy Carter

Bill Clinton

Barack Obama

Those eleven Presidents who most lacked compassion and empathy chronologically would include:

John Adams

Thomas Jefferson

Andrew Jackson

John Tyler

Andrew Johnson

Woodrow Wilson

Herbert Hoover

Richard Nixon

Ronald Reagan

George W. Bush

Donald Trump

Debate and discussion on this and the earlier two entries is welcome!

The Twelve Smartest and Twelve Dumbest Presidents In American History

America has been fortunate in having a large number of smart, intelligent Presidents in its history.

This author would judge the twelve smartest Presidents, chronologically, to be as follows:

John Adams

Thomas Jefferson

John Quincy Adams

Abraham Lincoln

James A. Garfield

Theodore Roosevelt

Woodrow Wilson

John F. Kennedy

Richard Nixon

Jimmy Carter

Bill Clinton

Barack Obama

Who would be the smartest of all? Probably a tie between Jefferson and John Quincy Adams!

And who are the 12 dumbest Presidents in chronological order?

Andrew Jackson

William Henry Harrison

Zachary Taylor

Franklin Pierce

James Buchanan

Andrew Johnson

Ulysses S. Grant

Benjamin Harrison

Warren G. Harding

Calvin Coolidge

George W. Bush

Donald Trump

And who is the dumbest President in American history? Probably a three way tie among Harding, George W. Bush, and Trump!

Vice Presidency Has Led To Presidential Nominations Multiple Times Since The 1960s

The Vice Presidency was never good breeding ground for Presidential nominations since the Civil War.

Only John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren and John C. Breckinridge were nominated for President before the Civil War, with all winning the Presidency, except for Breckinridge, who had been Vice President under James Buchanan from 1857-1861, and then nominated by Southern Democrats who refused to accept the official Democratic nominee, Stephen Douglas in 1860.

The only Vice President from 1860 to 1960 who was nominated for President was Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third term Vice President, Henry A. Wallace, who ran as the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1948 against his own successor in the Vice Presidency, President Harry Truman.

But since 1960, six Vice Presidents have run as Presidential candidates, including;

Richard Nixon in 1960 and 1968

Hubert Humphrey in 1968

Gerald Ford in 1976 (who had succeeded Richard Nixon under the 25th Amendment)

Walter Mondale in 1984

George H. W. Bush in 1988

Al Gore in 2000

Nixon and Bush won the Presidency, while Ford lost a full term after finishing the partial term he succeeded to, and Gore won the popular vote, but failed to win the Electoral College.

The point is that Joe Biden would be the 7th Vice President who ran for President after serving as Number 2 in the executive branch.

And Nixon the first time, Mondale, Bush, and Gore all had a jump start on the nomination of their party for the Presidency, with only Humphrey and Ford having major challengers.

So at least by recent history in the past half century plus, being a Vice President gives a leap forward to those who wish to run for President.

Barack Obama Fortunate For History That He Is Between George W. Bush And Donald Trump In The Order Of Presidents In Office

In the long run of history, where a President is in the order of attaining the Presidency really matters.

So, for instance, John Adams is between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, and while Adams ranks around the middle in ranking of Presidents by historians and political scientists, he is rated much lower than the two Presidents before and after him, who are in the top ten of any listing.

The same goes for William Howard Taft, who is between Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, both of whom are in the top quarter of Presidents, while Taft is rated in the mid 20s.

And the same is true for George H. W. Bush, who is between Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, both of whom are rated higher than Bush, who is rated in the later teens as President.

On the other hand, Abraham Lincoln comes between the two men usually rated the two worst Presidents, James Buchanan before him and Andrew Johnson after him.

And it is now clear that Barack Obama, rated 11th in one poll, 8th in another poll, and 17th in a third poll, all within the two years he has been out of the Presidency, is fortunate to have George W. Bush, rated in the 30s, and Donald Trump rated either at the bottom under Buchanan and Andrew Johnson, or at most just above them, insuring he will, like Lincoln, always be rated much better.