Sunday, May 29, 2011

U.S. Presidency & Vice Presidency: History, Electability, Patterns, etc.

Ever since I was in the 4th grade, I've always been a bit of a Presidential Historian. I also know patterns. Things that have repeated themselves. Things like the 0 year Presidential curse, the curse of being a U.S. Presidential Candidate who is a son or grandson of a Former U.S. President, Vice Presidents elected or re-elected in an 08 year - in which, political bias aside, I hope Joe Biden doesn't have to go through. I have seen some of these curses broken though, so hopefully he'll be alright.

For example, there have been 7 - and nearly 8 or 9 - U.S. Presidents who have died under the 0 year Presidential Curse. Thanks to Tecumseh who said that every 20 years, the great chief will die. And it all ended up happening in years ending in 1, 3, or 5.

1840: Former Senator William Henry Harrison elected President. Dies after 1 month in office in 1841.

1860: Former Congressman Abraham Lincoln elected President, re-elected 4 years later and dies after about a month into his 2nd term.

1880, Congressman (also the then-Republican Floor Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives - back then, equal to Minority Leader - for his party - at that time, at least) and simultaneously Senator-elect James Garfield elected President. Was shot in early July, 1881, Doctors operated on him for 2 and a half months looking for the bullet. By the time they found it, he had gotten infected from the knives and stuff they used to operate on him with (since back then, Doctors didn't really sterilize the needles and all that stuff like they do now) by the time they found the bullet, they found out that it was protected in a cist and he probably would've been fine if the left him alone, but he died in mid-September of 1881 from some type of infection that he received from the surgeries he had.

1900 - President William McKinley re-elected to a 2nd term, with NY Gov. Teddy Roosevelt as his running mate. (William McKinley's 1st Vice President, Garret Hobart - previously the NJ State Senate President- died after a few years into his Vice Presidency), after about 6 months into his second term, William McKinley was assassinated.

1920 - Sen. Warren G. Harding was elected, and died after 2 years into his term.

1940 - President Franklin Roosevelt elected to his 3rd term, but died after a few months into his 4th term, in 1945. (His 1st term was the shortest, as he was inaugurated on March 4th, 1933, but from his 2nd inauguration in 1937 and all U.S. Presidential inaugurations beyond that, the Presidents were inaugurated on January 20th)

1960 - Sen. John Kennedy elected President over Vice President (and future President) Richard Nixon. Died after 2 years - almost 3 - into his term.

1980 - Former Gov. Ronald Reagan elected President. After approximately 5 or 6 weeks into his first term, Ronald Reagan was shot in the back, and nearly did die then, but, he survived. Perhaps the curse has been broken? Still caused him to get shot, he just didn't die from it. Just like how James Garfield could've probably survived from his gunshot wound, but it was actually the Doctors fault for continuously operating on him - or you can blame medical research for not being advanced at the time - I'll personally put the blame on the assassin - the Doctors at least meant well.

2000 - Gov. George W. Bush elected President. 9/11/2001 - 'Nuff said.

HOWEVER, if you look up and do some research on the title of Acting President of the United States, you'll see that, sure, some Vice Presidents, and even one "U.S. Senate President pro tempore" (David Rice Atchison in March, 1849), and one First Lady (Woodrow Wilson's 2nd wife/his second First Lady, later in his second term) have performed Presidential duties in the absence of a President for one reason or another - it only lists 2 Vice Presidents who have officially been designated as "Acting President of the United States". George H.W. Bush, and Dick Cheney. Both of these men have served in U.S. Congress, and served in a few Presidential Cabinets. Both were elected Vice President in a year ending in 0, and re-elected in a year ending in 4. (1980, & 1984, and 2000, & 2004) as the number 2 man on a ticket along with a man whose most recent political position was being elected twice the Governor of one of the largest U.S. States. Ronald Reagan served 2 full terms as California Governor from 1967 to 1975, George W. Bush was twice elected Governor of Texas, in 1994, and 1998, but being the President-elect, he resigned from being Governor of Texas in December, 2000.


3 of the 4 men elected President of the United States, without winning the popular vote, were either a son or grandson of a Former U.S. President.

1824 - U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, son of John Adams (President from 1797 - 1801, Vice President from 1789 - 1797) lost both the popular vote AND the electoral vote to Senator Andrew Jackson, but because Jackson won only a plurality of the electoral vote, the option was thrown in to the U.S. House of Representatives.

By the way, it still exists like that today, as well. There are only 538 electoral votes. It IS possible for both candidates to each win 269, and then the House of Representatives would have to decide - whether that be the outgoing or incoming Congress, I'm not entirely sure..... because the electors all have to meet and OFFICIALLY declare a President-elect by around December 18th, BUT, like with electing a Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, sure, after the Congressional elections which occur every 2 years, between the time of the elections and when the new Congress is inaugurated, they designate or redesignate a Speaker, as well as the Majority Leader and Minority Leader, and those other positions..... but it isn't until on that day they take office, usually on or a few days after January 3rd, following the elections. ANYWAY, I'm not sure if it's the old Congress or the new one which would have to elect the President.

BUT, in 1824, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams convinced Speaker of the House Henry Clay to convince the other members to cast their votes for John Quincy Adams - John Quincy Adams had promised Henry Clay a position in his Cabinet if he did that. Henry Clay agreed, and also took the position of Secretary of State in John Quincy Adams' cabinet. 4 years later, then-Former Senator Jackson defeated President Adams in the Presidential election. BUT, oddly enough, John C. Calhoun - who was elected with John Quincy Adams in 1824 - was running with Jackson in 1828 - and won a second term as Vice President - 2nd and final time that happened, since George Clinton - which I'll get to later in this blog entry - for another reason.

1876 - Gov. Rutherford B. Hayes - the only 1 of the 4 who wasn't a son or grandson of another former President. He won the electoral vote VS. Gov. Samuel J. Tilden by like one point, but this is also I think the only time where the losing Presidential candidate had won a majority of the popular vote.

1888- Former Indiana Senator Benjamin Harrison (grandson of William Henry Harrison, President for 1 month in 1841) had defeated incumbent President Grover Cleveland - in the electoral vote, but NOT the popular vote. Former President Grover Cleveland then beat President Benjamin Harrison in 1892.

2000 - Texas Gov. George W. Bush beat U.S. Vice President Al Gore in the electoral vote, but lost the popular vote. 2004 is the only time that one of those men who was elected that way - had ever won a second term as President, and with a majority of the popular vote, too, against Senator John Kerry.


This one has to do with the Vice Presidents.

1804 & 1808 - Former NY Gov. George Clinton - who served two separate nonconsecutive times as Governor from 1777 - 1795, and again from 1801 - 1804, was elected Vice President of the United States in 1804 as President Thomas Jefferson sought and won his second term, and re-elected to a second term as Vice President in 1808 as U.S. Secretary of State James Madison sought and won his term (of two terms) as President of the United States. But, on April 20th, 1812, he died of a heart attack.

1908 - U.S. Congressman (Also from New York) James Sherman - who had on two separate occasions served as a U.S. Congressman, from 1887 to 1891 - then again from 1893 t0 1909 - was elected Vice President in 1908, along with War Secretary William Howard Taft, then he (James Sherman) died in October 30th, 1912, after suffering an illness from gallstones and Bright's disease.

While Joe Biden was elected Vice President of the United States in 2008 - he also wasn't from New York like the other two, and he was a Senator but also unlike the other two, he only served in his previous office once all the way through for just over 36 years from January 3rd, 1973 until January 15th, 2009.


1800- Aaron Burr elected Vice President of the United States.

Anyone ever hear about the duel on July 11th, 1804, where U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr shot former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel, mortally wounding him? Here's a link:

1900- Teddy Roosevelt elected Vice President of the United States.

2000- Dick Cheney elected Vice President of the United States.

February 11th, 2006, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot his friend Harry Whittington, a 78 year old Texas Attorney, during a hunting incident. Here's a link about that:


Let's take a look at recent elections since 1964 with an incumbent President involved. See if you notice any obvious patterns here.

2004- President Bush defeats Senator Kerry
1996- President Clinton defeats Senator Dole
1984- President Reagan defeats Former Vice President Mondale (and yes, Walter Mondale was previously a U.S. Senator)
1972- President Nixon defeats Senator George McGovern
1964- President Johnson defeats Senator Barry Goldwater

BUT, also look at THIS...

1992- Gov. Clinton defeats President Bush
1980- Former Gov. Reagan defeats President Carter
1976- Former Gov. Carter defeats President Ford

See any patterns yet?.....Haha! Yeah, I thought you would.

Just a little history lesson for ya'll.