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After an extremely unconventional, often ugly and increasingly divisive campaign, Donald J. Trump, a New York real estate baron and reality TV star, defeated former first lady, New York Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States.
In what many political analysts considered a stunning upset, Trump, with his populist, nationalist campaign, won the Electoral College, scoring 304 votes to Clinton's 227. When the dust settled, Clinton won the popular vote with 65,853,516 votes (48.5 percent) to Trump's 62,984,825 (46.4 percent), the widest margin of victory ever by a losing candidate and making her the fifth presidential candidate in U.S. history to win the popular vote but lose the election.
With 17 hopefuls originally vying for the Republican nomination, Trump was quick to criticize and even mock the rest of the crowded Republican field, which included Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, businesswoman Carlie Fiorina, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Governor John Kasich.
After securing the nomination, Trump chose Mike Pence, then governor of Indiana, as his running mate for vice president.
Clinton faced her toughest competition from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, and, after winning enough delegates to clinch the nomination, named Tim Kaine, U.S. Senator for the state of Virginia, as her vice presidential running mate.
Third-party candidates on the ballot included Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein, who won 3.28 and 1.07 percent of the popular vote, respectively.
In an election unlike any other, 2016 included a number of firsts. For her part, Clinton became the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major party. Trump, meanwhile, became the first president in more than 60 years with no experience serving in Congress or as a governor (the only others were Dwight Eisenhower and Herbert Hoover). At the age of 70, Trump also became the oldest president in U.S. history (Ronald Reagan was 69 when he was sworn in).
The Clinton and Trump Campaigns
The top two voting issues for Americans, according to Pew Research Center, were the economy and terrorism, followed by foreign policy, health care, gun policy and immigration. During his campaign, Trump called for building a wall at the Mexican border, draining “the swamp” (meaning ending corruption in Washington, D.C.) and opposing free trade deals. Clinton’s campaign centered on health care, rights for women, minorities and LGBT and fair taxes.
But in a battle of slogans—"I'm With Her" vs. "Make America Great Again”—both campaigns were fraught with scandals and negative attacks.
Trump opponents were fueled by reports of sexual misconduct, including a leaked "Access Hollywood" recording of him bragging about groping women. Opponents also focused on Trump’s controversial comments and Tweets on immigrants, race and more, his attacks on the news media and violent protesters who lobbied for his election.
Clinton opponents, meanwhile, rallied around chants of "Lock her up," citing an ongoing FBI investigation into possible improper use of her personal email server during her time as secretary of state. The FBI concluded in July 2016 that no charges should be made in the case, but on October 28, then-FBI Director James Comey informed Congress the FBI was investigating more Clinton emails. On November 6, two days before the election, Comey reported to Congress that the additional emails did not change the agency’s prior report.
Going into election night, Clinton led in nearly all final polls. According to The New York Times and based on exit polls, Trump's win was attributed to his ability to not only consolidate the support of white voters (especially those without college degrees), but with minority and lower-income groups, as well.
In January 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a report concluding that the Russians interfered with the election to "undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”
After Trump fired Comey for “this Russia thing,” former FBI director Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to investigate possible collusion between Russia and Trump’s campaign. After a 2-year investigation, Mueller submitted his findings to the Justice Department in March 2019. His team found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, but concluded Russian interference occurred "in sweeping and systematic fashion." Thirty-four individuals and three companies were indicted in the investigation, several of whom were Trump associates or campaign officials.
"Presidential Election Results: Donald J. Trump Wins," August 9, 2017, The New York Times
"How Trump Won the Election According to Exit Polls," November 8, 2016, The New York Times
"US election 2016: Six Reasons It Will Make History," July 29, 2016, BBC
"Top Voting Issues in 2016 Election," July 7, 2016, The Pew Charitable Trust
"Election Results 2016," CNN
“Intelligence Report on US Hacking,” June, 1, 2017, The New York Times
“Timeline of Mueller Probe of Trump Campaign and Russia,” April 10, 2018, Reuters
"The Mueller Report, annotated," July 23, 2019, The Washington Post.
United States Presidential Election of 2016
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United States Presidential Election of 2016, American presidential election held on November 8, 2016, in which Republican Donald Trump lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton by more than 2.8 million votes but won 30 states and the decisive electoral college with 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227 and thus became the 45th president of the United States.
The tumultuous, abrasive 2016 campaign defied established political norms. Clinton’s campaign featured superior organization and fund-raising—and almost every election-eve poll pointed to a comfortable victory for her—but Trump’s anti-Washington appeal to white working-class voters outside major cities in pivotal manufacturing states proved to be the key factor in what several publications called “the most stunning upset in American history.” The election of an outsider with no political job experience represented a major repudiation of business as usual by both parties in Washington, D.C.
At various times Trump blamed party establishments for costly intervention in foreign conflicts, the widening gap between the rich and the poor, stagnant real wages, excessive political correctness, and failure to enforce immigration laws. Bypassing traditional information sources by use of social media, including his personal Twitter account, Trump often set the agenda for coverage of his campaign. He frequently communicated spontaneously and instinctively—not to mention emotionally—without apparent benefit of in-depth calculation or staff advice, and he often later modified or even contradicted previous positions without being penalized by supporters.
The U.S. presidential election: 2020 is not 2016
Donald Trump, Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton (Getty Images/ Salon)
This article originally appeared on The Globalist.
With the nominating conventions over, the U.S. Presidential Election Race has begun in earnest.
Donald Trump trails in the ten most recent national polls by an average of 7%. Races in some key battleground states are closer, but most show former Vice President Biden in the lead.
If this sounds familiar, it should. Hillary Clinton had similar poll numbers in the run-up to the 2016 election. She lost the general election, nonetheless.
Things are different now
But 2020 is different than 2016 in many respects. The 2020 poll numbers are driven by a wholly different set of factors, which could lead to an entirely different result.
Looking back to 2016, one finds that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 2,868,686, giving her a 2.2% margin of victory. This was well below the average of national polls leading up to the election.
Importantly, Clinton lost in the two key swing states of Florida and Ohio by margins of 1.2% and 8% respectively.
More importantly, Clinton lost to Trump in three additional swing states that were thought to be in the Clinton column prior to the election. Clinton lost Wisconsin by 22,748 votes or 0.77%. She lost Michigan by 10,704 votes or 0.3%. And she lost Pennsylvania by 44,292 votes or 0.71%.
In these three states, Clinton lost to Trump by a mere 77,420 out of 13,233,376 total votes cast!
There were a number of reasons for this outcome and looking at those reasons provides a strong indication that the outcome will be different in 2020 than it was in 2016.
Joe is not Hillary
First and foremost, Joe Biden is not Hillary Clinton. While neither Biden nor Clinton are particularly appealing candidates, Biden is seen as far more benign than Hillary.
In 2016, many swing voters were turned off by Hillary, whose nomination was widely seen as a coronation.
Her maintaining a private e-mail server when she was U.S. Secretary of State bred mistrust. More importantly, the server issue underscored a sense of entitlement that screamed "the rules don't apply to the Clintons."
Moreover, her accomplishments in the U.S. Senate were nearly non-existent and it was impossible to identify any tangible foreign policy achievements while she was Secretary of State.
Her vote to give President Bush authorization to invade Iraq and her orchestration of the removal of Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi were seen as sell-outs to a foreign policy establishment that Trump had already vilified back then as the "deep state."
And her insistence that people should vote for her simply because she is a woman failed to energize the party in any predictable way. If fact, it turned off many voters, including women.
And then Trump — in one of the few truths he actually ran on — was able to tag the Clintons as the chief culprits behind the mass incarceration of African Americans.
Biden gets a pass
While Biden shares some of this baggage, most notably the Iraq War vote and the Clinton crime bill, he is further removed from those realities than Hillary was four years ago. Importantly, there is no real taint of scandal attached to Biden.
In fact, the purported scandal involving Hunter Biden and Ukraine backfired on Trump and nearly got him impeached.
Of course, Joe Biden will be vilified more and more by the Trump campaign as the election approaches. But this vilification is likely to be confined to the inside of the right-wing echo chamber. There, outrage, deceit and conspiracy theories are the coin of the realm.
While this realm accounts for a stunning 40% of the total U.S. electorate, it also has hard limits. This fact significantly restricts the impact of the vilification strategy to the Trump base. It is not sufficient to get the current President re-elected.
The "other": Trump and his scapegoat machinations
A second consideration in this election is the concept of "the other," a classic Trump ploy.
In 2016, "the other" took the form of Mexican immigrants who were entering the United States illegally. In the 2020 election, "the other" is inner city blacks, as well as protesters and rioters organized around the Black Lives Matter movement.
There is a big difference between making illegal immigrants "the other" and putting that tag on African Americans.
Importantly, there was an economic element in making illegal immigrants "the other" in 2016. When combined with jobs flowing overseas, "the other" created a broad-based will to change the status quo. Simply put, "the (Mexican) other" was seen as taking jobs away from both natural born and naturalized American citizens.
While the smugly inept Clinton campaign responded to this by calling it racism, the majority of Americans, including large numbers of Latino immigrants and African Americans, saw the Trump charge as completely rational.
They could see with their own eyes' jobs being taken away by foreigners, either through illegal immigration or ineffectual trade pacts.
And those who perceived this as an economic and rational threat resented being called racist. It bred a sense of outrage, even among many of those who would ordinarily have supported Clinton.
No ambiguity in Trump's racism
In 2020, there is no ambiguity in the racism embedded in Trump's "other" strategy. And it is not resonating outside a portion of the Trump base. It fails to resonate especially among the college educated and women.
Importantly, Trump's tagging of African Americans as "the (bad) other" creates an imperative among African Americans to vote the President out of office. Anti-Trump sentiment among black voters might bring turnout back to levels seen in 2012.
Furthermore, Trump's race-based rhetoric threatens greater civil strife and does nothing to tamp down the anger that permeates both sides of the conflict. He comes down squarely on one side of the debate, a side that appeals only to a narrow segment of his most ardent supporters.
Many of President Trump's most ardent supporters constitute the dark underbelly of American society. They strike fear into the hearts of more moderate Americans of all political affiliations.
Trump is no mystery
A third important consideration in the 2020 election is that Donald J. Trump is now an open book. And the book is poorly written.
His antics during the coronavirus briefings provided Americans over a period of six weeks an overwhelming display of incompetence. Trump lacked compassion, made science up as he went along and at times engaged in outright buffoonery.
In 2016, many voters hoped and expected Trump to rise to the occasion of the Presidency. They liked his stances of immigration, trade and foreign entanglements. Accordingly, they were willing to overlook his many flaws and give him a chance to prove himself.
However, he failed miserably in becoming a focused and inclusive President. On Inauguration Day, he laid out a dark and frightening vision of America, describing a carnage that was nowhere in sight. Today, after four years of Trump, American carnage is on display everywhere.
Since the inauguration, Trump has been relentlessly skewered in books and interviews not so much by Democrats or "the left" — but by family members, former staffers, military leaders and legions of government bureaucrats. He has been disparaged on a personal level more than any U.S. President in recent history.
And these disparagements, reported from behind the scenes, ring true to many Americans because they are consistent among all of his detractors and mirror his public behavior.
These three factors constitute major differences between the 2016 and 2020 elections. And they show up in various demographic breakdowns.
Trump continues to lead among male voters, but by a mere 2%. Among women, he is underwater by 16%. This constitutes one of the largest gender gaps in the history of U.S. politics.
Trump's lead among voters with only high school education or less remains strong, at roughly 6%. But the lead quickly evaporates as you go up the educational scale.
Trump is down by 4% among registered voters with some college experience, down 28% among college graduates and down a whopping 40% among voters with post-graduate degrees.
Trump leads among voters over the age of 65 by 6%, but that lead narrows to 2% among voters between 50 and 64 years of age. Below that age level, the President's support literally falls off a cliff. He is down by 22% among the 30 to 49 cohort and down 40% among those registered voters between 18 and 29 years of age.
Turnout among younger voters will be a key determinant in the 2020 election. In 2016, many younger Democratic voters were apathetic toward a Clinton presidency, having already expressed their preference for Bernie Sanders.
This is not the case in 2020, when antipathy toward Trump will be the overarching — and unifying — motivational factor.
Among African American voters, Trump barely shows up in the polling, with Biden showing an 82% lead. As with younger voters, turnout among black voters will be a key determinant.
After a summer of Black Lives Matter protests and with Trump coming down squarely on the side of the police brutality, it seems likely that black voters will be motivated to vote.
In 2016, apathy among a segment of black voters resulted in an 8% decline in turnout compared to the 2012 election. In 2020, that 8% may be the determining factor in Michigan and Wisconsin.
Hispanic voters also come down heavily in favor of Biden, giving Biden a 34% lead. Trump's treatment of illegal immigrants has been seen as unnecessarily cruel and racially tinged.
His rejection of a path toward citizenship for the DACA recipients is also widely seen as callous and inhuman. These factors could affect the outcome in the key swing state of Florida.
All of this should provide some degree of succor to anxious Democrats, disaffected Republicans and Moderates alike. But beware!
At the risk of trotting out one of the most hackneyed expressions in American politics, anything can happen in the two months until Election Day.
This article is republished from The Globalist : On a daily basis, we rethink globalization and how the world really hangs together. Thought-provoking cross-country comparisons and insights from contributors from all continents. Exploring what unites and what divides us in politics and culture. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter . And sign up for our highlights email here.
An American Tragedy
The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.
There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court an emboldened right-wing Congress a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other. The most hopeful way to look at this grievous event—and it’s a stretch—is that this election and the years to follow will be a test of the strength, or the fragility, of American institutions. It will be a test of our seriousness and resolve.
Early on Election Day, the polls held out cause for concern, but they provided sufficiently promising news for Democrats in states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, and even Florida that there was every reason to think about celebrating the fulfillment of Seneca Falls, the election of the first woman to the White House. Potential victories in states like Georgia disappeared, little more than a week ago, with the F.B.I. director’s heedless and damaging letter to Congress about reopening his investigation and the reappearance of damaging buzzwords like “e-mails,” “Anthony Weiner,” and “fifteen-year-old girl.” But the odds were still with Hillary Clinton.
All along, Trump seemed like a twisted caricature of every rotten reflex of the radical right. That he has prevailed, that he has won this election, is a crushing blow to the spirit it is an event that will likely cast the country into a period of economic, political, and social uncertainty that we cannot yet imagine. That the electorate has, in its plurality, decided to live in Trump’s world of vanity, hate, arrogance, untruth, and recklessness, his disdain for democratic norms, is a fact that will lead, inevitably, to all manner of national decline and suffering.
In the coming days, commentators will attempt to normalize this event. They will try to soothe their readers and viewers with thoughts about the “innate wisdom” and “essential decency” of the American people. They will downplay the virulence of the nationalism displayed, the cruel decision to elevate a man who rides in a gold-plated airliner but who has staked his claim with the populist rhetoric of blood and soil. George Orwell, the most fearless of commentators, was right to point out that public opinion is no more innately wise than humans are innately kind. People can behave foolishly, recklessly, self-destructively in the aggregate just as they can individually. Sometimes all they require is a leader of cunning, a demagogue who reads the waves of resentment and rides them to a popular victory. “The point is that the relative freedom which we enjoy depends of public opinion,” Orwell wrote in his essay “Freedom of the Park.” “The law is no protection. Governments make laws, but whether they are carried out, and how the police behave, depends on the general temper in the country. If large numbers of people are interested in freedom of speech, there will be freedom of speech, even if the law forbids it if public opinion is sluggish, inconvenient minorities will be persecuted, even if laws exist to protect them.”
Trump ran his campaign sensing the feeling of dispossession and anxiety among millions of voters—white voters, in the main. And many of those voters—not all, but many—followed Trump because they saw that this slick performer, once a relative cipher when it came to politics, a marginal self-promoting buffoon in the jokescape of eighties and nineties New York, was more than willing to assume their resentments, their fury, their sense of a new world that conspired against their interests. That he was a billionaire of low repute did not dissuade them any more than pro-Brexit voters in Britain were dissuaded by the cynicism of Boris Johnson and so many others. The Democratic electorate might have taken comfort in the fact that the nation had recovered substantially, if unevenly, from the Great Recession in many ways—unemployment is down to 4.9 per cent—but it led them, it led us, to grossly underestimate reality. The Democratic electorate also believed that, with the election of an African-American President and the rise of marriage equality and other such markers, the culture wars were coming to a close. Trump began his campaign declaring Mexican immigrants to be “rapists” he closed it with an anti-Semitic ad evoking “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” his own behavior made a mockery of the dignity of women and women’s bodies. And, when criticized for any of it, he batted it all away as “political correctness.” Surely such a cruel and retrograde figure could succeed among some voters, but how could he win? Surely, Breitbart News, a site of vile conspiracies, could not become for millions a source of news and mainstream opinion. And yet Trump, who may have set out on his campaign merely as a branding exercise, sooner or later recognized that he could embody and manipulate these dark forces. The fact that “traditional” Republicans, from George H. W. Bush to Mitt Romney, announced their distaste for Trump only seemed to deepen his emotional support.
The commentators, in their attempt to normalize this tragedy, will also find ways to discount the bumbling and destructive behavior of the F.B.I., the malign interference of Russian intelligence, the free pass—the hours of uninterrupted, unmediated coverage of his rallies—provided to Trump by cable television, particularly in the early months of his campaign. We will be asked to count on the stability of American institutions, the tendency of even the most radical politicians to rein themselves in when admitted to office. Liberals will be admonished as smug, disconnected from suffering, as if so many Democratic voters were unacquainted with poverty, struggle, and misfortune. There is no reason to believe this palaver. There is no reason to believe that Trump and his band of associates—Chris Christie, Rudolph Giuliani, Mike Pence, and, yes, Paul Ryan—are in any mood to govern as Republicans within the traditional boundaries of decency. Trump was not elected on a platform of decency, fairness, moderation, compromise, and the rule of law he was elected, in the main, on a platform of resentment. Fascism is not our future—it cannot be we cannot allow it to be so—but this is surely the way fascism can begin.
Hillary Clinton was a flawed candidate but a resilient, intelligent, and competent leader, who never overcame her image among millions of voters as untrustworthy and entitled. Some of this was the result of her ingrown instinct for suspicion, developed over the years after one bogus “scandal” after another. And yet, somehow, no matter how long and committed her earnest public service, she was less trusted than Trump, a flim-flam man who cheated his customers, investors, and contractors a hollow man whose countless statements and behavior reflect a human being of dismal qualities—greedy, mendacious, and bigoted. His level of egotism is rarely exhibited outside of a clinical environment.
The Most 'Unprecedented' Election Ever? 65 Ways It Has Been
Hillary Clinton, heartened by her supporters' reception, after voting on the June 7th, the night it became clear she would be the first woman nominee of a major-party ticket. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption
Hillary Clinton, heartened by her supporters' reception, after voting on the June 7th, the night it became clear she would be the first woman nominee of a major-party ticket.
Every presidential election manages to feel new somehow. Even amid the wall-to-wall cable coverage and poll frenzies and day-before-the-election, man-on-the-street interviews with still-undecided voters and shock (shock!) when a candidate flip-flops, every four years, there's a sense that this time — this time — is different. (Remember that whole recount thing?)
So much of this election feels so entirely off the map — "unprecedented," as it is called in one story after another. So we wondered just how unprecedented it is. A few Nexis searches later, the answer is: very.
Trump fields a question during the first Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News. That debate pulled in 24 million viewers, the largest ever for a presidential primary debate. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption
Trump fields a question during the first Republican presidential debate hosted by Fox News. That debate pulled in 24 million viewers, the largest ever for a presidential primary debate.
We've assembled a rundown of ways in which 2016 presidential election could be called "unprecedented." You can pull a few lessons from the following list — maybe simply that we journalists could occasionally use a thesaurus. But it's also a story of how Trump blew up the whole election season. Back in 2014, the potential for yet another Bush to enter the White House seemed like big news. That seems quaint at this point.
In addition, the list is an entertaining (if abridged) history of the most memorable bits of Campaign 2016, as well as a reminder that this election cycle just might deserve its own, surreal chapter in our kids' American History textbooks.
1. Clinton's early, organized support — "Each group's early efforts are unprecedented — especially considering Clinton has yet to announce her presidential intentions — causing some senior Democrats to worry that focusing on 2016 is taking Democrats' focus off the 2014 midterms with the balance of power in the Senate at stake." — Feb. 26, 2014, CNN, "Groups Unite to Back Hillary Clinton"
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2. Iowa GOP pledges to remain neutral — "The move is 'unprecedented and is intended to send a clear signal to potential presidential candidates: All are welcome in Iowa, and the caucus process will be a fair and impartial one,'" a news release said Wednesday. — Dec. 3, 2014, Des Moines Register.
3. A potentially growing Bush dynasty — "Former governor Jeb Bush of Florida announced Tuesday that he is exploring a run for president, a move that could dramatically reshape the Republican primary and put his family in line for an unprecedented third member in the White House." — Dec. 17, 2014, Boston Globe.
4. Clinton's early endorsement primary lead — "Hillary Clinton had a commanding lead in endorsements even before launching her campaign — to an extent that's unprecedented for a non-incumbent Democrat." — FiveThirtyEight
5. Clinton's experience — "She boasts an unprecedented resume — former first lady, New York senator, secretary of State — and enjoys universal name recognition after more than two decades of near-constant presence on the national stage." — April 11, 2015, Los Angeles Times
6. The massive GOP field — "'This event is unprecedented,' said Steve Duprey, a Republican national committeeman from New Hampshire. 'There are so many presidential candidates because this time it is an open seat, and there is no heir apparent.'" — April 18, 2015, Boston Globe (Many outlets were careful to stress it was the biggest field in the "modern" political era.)
Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, raked in more money at an earlier point than any Republican candidate. Andrew Harnik/AP hide caption
Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, raked in more money at an earlier point than any Republican candidate.
7. Bush's incredible fundraising — "Jeb Bush's team announced that he had raised $114 million - an extraordinary and unprecedented haul this early in a presidential campaign and one more signal of a candidate who is building for the long haul." — July 12, 2015, Washington Post
8. The dominance of outside spending — "The 2016 elections are now poised to mark a tipping point: the first time outside groups outstrip the clout and resources of many campaigns. 'It's pretty clear that the superPACs are playing an unprecedented role,' said Michael Malbin, executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, which tracks political contributions." — July 16, 2015, Washington Post
9. Clinton's early Latino outreach — "Clinton's massive Latino outreach machine is unprecedented for this stage in a primary campaign. Most Latinos don't even know the name of Clinton's closest challenger for the Democratic nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, according a new Univision poll." — July 19, 2015, Los Angeles Times
10. The tiny but powerful community of political donors — "Fewer than 400 families are responsible for almost half the money raised in the 2016 presidential campaign, a concentration of political donors that is unprecedented in the modern era." — Aug. 1, 2015, New York Times
11. Fox News debate viewership — "Trump has been a huge benefit to Republicans in some ways, bringing an unprecedented amount of attention to the first presidential primary debate last week. Some 24 million Americans tuned in to watch, more than most big-time sporting events, demonstrating a clear curiosity about Trump's campaign but also giving the other candidates an opportunity to showcase their own views." — Aug. 9, 2015, Boston Globe
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12. A social-media-heavy election — "Early campaigning on social media has never been so intense, with candidates turning to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to engage supporters who are getting unprecedented access to White House hopefuls. 'Now, candidates have a presence on a whole breadth of platforms with custom content to target that audience, and they are producing unprecedented levels of content — the sheer volume is impressive,' said Marie Ewald Danzig, head of creative and delivery at Blue State Digital." — Sept. 13, 2015, AdWeek
13. Hispanic conservatives meet to talk about what to do about Trump — "Months since Donald Trump sparked outrage with his comments about Mexican immigrants, about two dozen of the nation's top Hispanic conservative activists are joining forces to respond and issue a warning to the Republican Party. The activists plan to meet on Oct. 27 in Boulder, Colo., the day before GOP presidential candidates meet in the same city for a debate hosted by CNBC. Plans for the 'unprecedented gathering' have been in the works for several weeks. " – Oct. 22, 2015, Washington Post
14. Trump's call for a Muslim ban — "A prohibition of Muslims — an unprecedented proposal by a leading American presidential candidate, and an idea more typically associated with hate groups — reflects a progression of mistrust that is rooted in ideology as much as politics." — Dec. 10, 2015, New York Times (However, as the Times also pointed out: "While Muslims have not been the targets of such policies in the United States, the sentiment of keeping certain kinds of people out of the country is not unprecedented in American history.")
15. Polling mania — "Polling of Republicans in the early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina has reached unprecedented levels, fueled by the number of candidates in the hunt and an obsession with the horse race rather than a meaningful debate over policy, a new Boston Globe study says." — Dec. 31, 2015, New York Times
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-V.t, right, speaks as Hillary Clinton looks on during an April Democratic debate in New York. Seth Wenig/AP hide caption
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-V.t, right, speaks as Hillary Clinton looks on during an April Democratic debate in New York.
16. Planned Parenthood's early Clinton endorsement — "Planned Parenthood will make unprecedented primary endorsement of Hillary Clinton. . The endorsement marks the first time in the organization's 100-year history that Planned Parenthood Action Fund has endorsed a candidate in a primary." — Jan. 7, 2016, Washington Post
17. The splintered GOP — "Dirksen Congressional Leadership Research Center Archivist Frank Mackaman, a lifelong student of government, says the presidential race America is witnessing right now is 'virtually unprecedented.' 'I suppose you would have to go back to the Bull Moose (Progressive) Party, Teddy Roosevelt's splinter from the Republican Party in the early 20th Century, to get something that resembles what we're going through now — especially on the Republican side.'" — Jan. 25, 2016, Pekin Daily Times
18. Trump refusing to debate unless Fox host is removed -- "Trump, of course, decided to pull out after the network refused to capitulate to his unprecedented demand that Megyn Kelly be removed as moderator." – Jan. 27, 2016, Vanity Fair
19. Latino outreach in Iowa — "Advocacy groups have launched unprecedented voter registration efforts aimed at the state's small but rapidly growing Latino population." — Jan. 27, 2016, Los Angeles Times
20. The lack of GOP party leadership support for a potential nominee: "[I]t's astonishing that the real estate developer and reality TV star could be so far ahead in the polls this close to voting, yet still so far behind presidential rivals like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in the congressional endorsement competition. 'The gap between Trump's standing and at least his elite support is unprecedented,' University of Maryland Professor David Karol told HuffPost on Tuesday. Karol is a co-author of The Party Decides, which in part studies the power of endorsements before and after the party electing reforms of the 1970s." — Jan. 27, 2016, Huffington Post
Fox News' Megyn Kelly in New York in May, weeks before Trump would appear on her show. That appearance was something of a detente after Trump had demanded she be removed from moderating a debate. Victoria Will/Victoria Will/Invision/AP hide caption
Fox News' Megyn Kelly in New York in May, weeks before Trump would appear on her show. That appearance was something of a detente after Trump had demanded she be removed from moderating a debate.
Victoria Will/Victoria Will/Invision/AP
21. Religious Republicans' embrace of Trump — "Sixty-one percent of GOP and GOP-leaning voters who say it's important to have a president who shares their religious beliefs say that Trump would be a good or great president, compared with 46 percent of GOP voters who say the religiosity of the president isn't as important. The share of Republican voters who think that Trump would be a good president is the same among churchgoing and less-churchgoing Republicans. The findings about Trump are unprecedented, say Pew pollsters and other experts." — Jan. 28, 2016, Washington Post
22. Trump's reenactment of Ben Carson's youth stabbing story — "Mr. Carson's bootstrapping story and brief lead in the Iowa polls last year produced a squabble almost certainly unprecedented in modern politics: Mr. Trump insisting, through public re-enactment, that Mr. Carson could not possibly have stabbed a peer in his youth. Mr. Carson was guilty, his rival insisted, of being innocent." — Feb. 2, 2016, New York Times
23. Youth engagement — "A new survey that captures the attitudes of 2015 college freshmen shows unprecedented levels of interest in both political engagement and student activism, underscoring the youth vote's potential to reshape the electoral landscape." — Feb. 11, 2016, FiveThirtyEight
Inside Trump's Closed-Door Meeting, Held To Reassure 'The Evangelicals'
As Trump Defies Expectations Of Faith, Might We Be Entering A New Era?
24. Donald Trump vs. the Pope — "When two of the most visible figures on the international stage, Pope Francis and Donald Trump, exchanged sharp words over immigration Thursday, an extraordinary election year took another dramatic twist. The long-distance volley, impelled, like so much of the campaign, by Trump's language on Mexican immigration, created a moment that actually merited the overused label 'unprecedented.'" — Feb. 18, 2016, Los Angeles Times
25. GOP turnout in many Super Tuesday states — "Republicans voted in unprecedented numbers on Super Tuesday, setting record numbers in contests throughout different regions of the country." — March 2, 2016, CNN
26. Romney's attacks against Trump — "Romney's remarks are unprecedented in the way he — the party's most recent presidential nominee — attacks the man who seems on track to secure this year's GOP nomination." — NPR, March 3, 2016
27. Republicans' unease with Democrats — "Such uneasiness motivated two longtime Clinton confidants, pollster Stan Greenberg and strategist James Carville, to take a deep dive into the zeitgeist fueling Trump's rise. They released poll findings last week that suggested the Republican electorate has unprecedented anger with the Democratic Party, with nearly 90 percent feeling its policies are so misguided that they threaten the nation's well-being." — March 2, 2016, Los Angeles Times
28. The debate discussion of Trump's manhood — "Trump's remarks, likely unprecedented in a US presidential debate, appeared as the nadir of a campaign season already notable for its unruly, coarse tone." — March 4, 2016, AFP (It may be new in debates, but as Joseph Cummins wrote at Politico earlier this year, sexual innuendo has long been a part of presidential campaigns.)
29. John Oliver's anti-Trump rant — "Front-runner Donald Trump was recently the target of a harsh, unprecedented 22-minute monologue by HBO's John Oliver, who uncovered Trump's ancestral name and urged viewers to 'Make Donald Drumpf Again'." — March 8, 2016, Washington Post
30. Trump's potential conflicts of interest — "'This is certainly going to present an unprecedented ethical dilemma if Trump wins,' said Kenneth Gross, a partner at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, who provided legal assistance to several presidential candidates during their campaigns. 'He can't just get amnesia. He's stuck with the knowledge of what he owns.'" — March 16, 2016, CNN Wires
31. Trump's access to the airwaves — "Two network sources also confirmed the unprecedented control the television networks have surrendered to Trump in a series of private negotiations, allowing him to dictate specific details about placement of cameras at his event, to ensure coverage consists primarily of a single shot of his face." — March 18, 2016, Buzzfeed
Campaign Finance Report: Trump Does A Lot Of Mixing Business With Politics
Report: Partisan Bad Blood Highest In Decades
32. AIPAC's reaction to Trump's speech — "AIPAC's Apology For Trump Speech Is Unprecedented' — March 22, 2016, Washington Post
33. Voter registration in New York — "More than 20,000 first-time voters have registered with New York state in what state officials are calling an 'unprecedented surge' of voter interest ahead of the state's April 19 presidential primary." — March 22, 2016, AP
34. Utah voter turnout — "Utah residents are turning out in unprecedented numbers at presidential caucuses, creating major delays for voters and even leading some sites to run out of ballots." — March 22, 2016, AP
35. Rubio's decision to hold onto his delegates — "Marco Rubio's Unprecedented Plan To Stop Donald Trump: Keep His Delegates" — March 30, 2016, USA Today
36. The potential fallout from Trump's border wall — "Donald Trump says he would force Mexico to pay for a border wall as president by threatening to cut off the flow of billions of dollars in payments that immigrants send home to the country, an idea that could decimate the Mexican economy and set up an unprecedented showdown between the United States and a key regional ally." — April 5, 2016, Washington Post
37. Anti-Trump advertising — "'What is unusual and unprecedented is the array of advertisers who are out there flogging Trump on the air,' said Elizabeth Wilner, a senior vice president at Kantar Media/CMAG." — April 12, 2016, New York Times
38. Outreach to Asian-American voters — "'It's going to be close, and I think the candidates know that. That's why they have this sort of unprecedented outreach to communities like the Asian-American community,' said [Jerry] Vattamala [who runs the country's largest exit poll of Asian-American voters for the Asian-American Legal Defense and Education Fund]. — April 18, 2016, NPR
39. Two super-unpopular candidates — "'This is unprecedented,' said Democratic pollster Mark Mellman. 'It will be the first time in the history of polling that we'll have both major party candidates disliked by a majority of the American people going into the election.'" — April 19, 2016, Washington Post
40. The Kasich-Cruz pact — "The Texas senator and Ohio governor announced an unprecedented deal in which Kasich will not contest Indiana while Cruz will steer clear of Oregon and New Mexico to maximize chances to beating Trump in each state and denying him the 1,237 delegates he needs to secure the Republican nomination that he seems sure to lose if he can't claim it on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in July." — April 24, 2016, Washington Examiner
41. Cruz picks Fiorina as his running mate — "He acknowledged his decision to name a running mate now was an unorthodox and unprecedented move, but that 'all of us can acknowledge that this race, if anything, is unusual.'" — April 27, 2016, NPR
42. Clinton fundraising vehicle — "In the days before Hillary Clinton launched an unprecedented big-money fundraising vehicle with state parties last summer, she vowed 'to rebuild our party from the ground up,' proclaiming 'when our state parties are strong, we win. That's what will happen.' But less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by that effort has stayed in the state parties' coffers. " — May 2, 2016, Politico
43. Trump's potential effect on down-ballot races — "'We can say it makes it harder for Republicans, but we can also say that this kind of election is unprecedented,' Ms. Duffy said. 'Nothing that we have known about politics has been true this cycle.'" — May 5, 2016, Wall Street Journal
Closest presidential elections from U.S. history
With the 2020 presidential election quickly approaching, there’s no doubt that it will be among the monumental historical events of the 21st century and in United States history as a whole. But will it be a close election? It’s too soon to tell, but throughout U.S. history, there have surely been a number of close presidential races.
Take the 2016 election, for example. Obviously the freshest in Americans’ minds, it also happened to be the fifth and most recent election in U.S. history in which the winning candidate, Republican Donald Trump, won the Electoral College, but lost the national popular vote. It was also the 13th-closest election in history so far.
However, out of the 58 presidential elections that have taken place in the country thus far, what have been the closest presidential elections in history? Going off of that, which presidential elections were won by the biggest landslides?
Incorporating 1789-2016 presidential election data from 270toWin, Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Elections, and United States Election Project, Stacker ranked how close the electoral vote between the winning presidential candidate and the runner-up candidate was in each of the 58 elections in American history.
Each slide in this article lists the winning candidate and political affiliation, the runner-up candidate and political affiliation, the number of popular votes and electoral votes received by each candidate, and the voter turnout for each election. The elections of 1820, 1792, and 1789 had the winning presidents run unopposed, so those years do not have information on runner-up presidential candidates. Also, most states did not conduct a popular vote before the election of 1824, so the voter turnout and popular vote data for those elections is scarce.
So, as you spend the coming weeks making a voting plan and checking in with your friends and family members about theirs, take a moment to look back at some of the closest presidential elections to draw parallels to the upcoming 2020 election.
Tariq Rahman produced this episode of AnthroPod. Special thanks to the American Ethnological Society and the Society for the Anthropology of North America for organizing this panel, the American Anthropological Association for recording the panel and making it available to us to broadcast, and to Executive Producer Rupa Pillai for invaluable guidance.
AnthroPod features interviews with current anthropologists about their work, current events, and their experiences in the field. To pitch your own episode ideas or to offer feedback, email us at [email protected]
You can find AnthroPod at SoundCloud, subscribe to it on iTunes, or use our RSS feed. If you have any thoughts on this episode or on AnthroPod more broadly, please leave us a comment to the right or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter.
The History of Violence on Presidential Campaign Trails
Donald Trump isn't the first candidate to witness violent outbursts at events.
ARCHIVAL VIDEO: Protests Turn Violent at the 1968 Democratic National Convention
-- The violence surrounding protesters that has been seen at several Donald Trump rallies in recent days has raised concerns about potential dangers at campaign events and in the electoral process in general.
On Friday night, Trump's campaign called off the rally out amid what they said were safety concerns. The next day, footage shows police in St. Louis, Missouri, using pepper spray to control protesters outside one of his events.
In spite of Trump’s assertions today that his events are “love-fests” without violence, the frequency of protesters being detained, removed or arrested appears to be increasing and the level of physical confrontations between protesters and supporters appears to be escalating as well.
Not the First Time Political Events Ended in Clashes
Though much of the conversation about political violence focuses on the recent past, Erica Chenoweth, an international relations professor at the University of Denver, points out that clashes were much more common at the turn of the century.
"It was pretty routine in American politics up until the Post-War period,” Chenoweth told ABC News. “The major clashes were between industrial and financial sector supporters and labor union supporter types.”
Clashes became quite frequent during the 1896 election, when Republican William McKinley was running against Democratic candidate William Jennings Bryan. The election came after a period of economic depression that some say ran from 1876 until 1896, and is sometimes referred to as the Long Depression.
"President McKinley’s election, which was right after the [Long] Depression, there were lots of clashes with populists that supported the farm workers and the farming industry and people that supported more financial sector and trade,” she said.
What Happened in 1968
Friday night wasn't the first time that a political event in Chicago ended in violence. The city hosted the Democratic National Convention in 1968, where riots broke out and police had widely reported physical confrontations with protesters both inside and outside the convention hall.
One of those who experience the violence firsthand was then-CBS reporter Dan Rather, who later recalled being pushed to the ground.
The 1968 campaign is widely regarded as the most violent of recent presidential campaigns, as it came during a volatile time for the country as a whole. In April of that year, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was killed in Memphis, and two months later, presidential candidate and Sen. Robert Kennedy Jr. was assassinated after a victory speech following his primary win in California.
The violence wasn’t limited to Democrats, however -- it also marked an event for controversial third party candidate George Wallace.
A Chicago Tribune article from just days before the 1968 election reports that there were a "flurry of fist fights that broke out. as Wallace supporters and some of several thousand hecklers clashed."
Wallace "clipped a speech short tonight as wild, chair-swinging violence erupted at a rally" in Detroit, the article states.
Mass Arrests at 2004 Republican Convention
In 2004, when the Republicans held their convention in New York City, there were heightened security concerns given the nature of hosting such a large-scale event in New York three years after the Sept. 11 attacks.
The New York Civil Liberties Union noted in a 2005 review of the convention that there had been about 1,500 arrests, which led to criminal proceedings over the next year.
The report notes that 90 percent of the cases were dismissed or ended in acquittals.
What’s Happening Now
Beyond the clashes that have been caught on camera at Trump campaign events, some point to Trump’s rhetoric as confusing and concerning.
At a Las Vegas rally back in Feb. 22, Trump said: "You know what I hate? There's a guy -- totally disruptive, throwing punches. We're not allowed to punch back anymore. I love the old days. You know what they used to do guys like that in a place like this? They would be carried out in a stretcher, folks. True."
Trump has also said on occasions that he does not condone violence.
Georgetown University associate professor Hans Noel told ABC News that nowadays, police and protesters have something of an understanding that protesters may be arrested, but they will not be 'roughed up' for the most part.
"I think most people would view that as progress, that we don’t knock heads," Noel said. "We've sort of evolved as a society."
"It's notable that at least some of what’s happening now, it’s not police knocking the heads of protesters but other supporters," he said.
What it Means in the Long-term
Chenoweth noted that political violence is “pretty rare” in the United States but “actually pretty common in lots of other emerging democracies,” citing Kenya and India as two examples.
On the macro level, she said such violence happens when countries don’t have a longstanding trust in their civil institutions, such as elections and judicial systems.
When hearing about the violence during this election, Chenoweth pointed out that it may be a sign of a larger problem.
“I became very concerned when I watched it mostly because I became concerned that people in the United States no longer see institutions as a way to resolve our conflicts peacefully,” she said.
Epic Fails of U.S. Presidential History
Jeb Bush isn’t the only one who was supposed to win and didn’t.
Josh Zeitz has taught American history and politics at Cambridge University and Princeton University and is the author of Lincoln’s Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln's Image. He is currently writing a book on the making of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. Follow him @joshuamzeitz.
Jeb Bush’s rise and fall are now complete. The once “inevitable” “front-runner” with the “rock star name” is doomed to watch from the sidelines as his golden(ish)-haired debate nemesis and his upstart “protégé” trade barbs and compete for votes.
The bad news: Jeb! doesn’t win the White House—thus preventing his family from becoming America’s first triple-crown White House winner. The good news: Jeb! now joins a small but distinguished club of illustrious political losers: those who could have won the presidency, should have won the presidency—but didn’t. Aside from the losing-the-presidency part, this list really isn’t bad company, as far as history is concerned.
Here are seven of the most epic fails in American presidential history, with the decline of Jeb Bush now ranked among them.
1. Thomas Dewey, 1948: By all rights, the 1948 presidential election belonged to Republican Thomas Dewey. A former crime-busting district attorney of Manhattan and current governor of New York, in 1944 Dewey accepted the thankless task of running against Franklin Roosevelt and came the closest of any candidate to unseating him. Four years later, he was the consensus nominee of his party. Running against Democratic incumbent Harry Truman, whose party was fracturing and whose presidency had been marred by economic troubles, allegations of cronyism and crippling industrial strikes, Dewey was the undisputed favorite to win.
To win, Truman needed to pitch a perfect game. And he did.
Truman’s advisers brilliantly conceived of the electorate as a collection of diverse building blocks. The trick, they observed, was to court and assemble the right collection of blocks (organized labor, the farm belt, African-Americans, Jews) to get to 50 percent plus one.
Truman, meanwhile, knowing he was the underdog, ran like a man possessed. He barnstormed the country by train and made bold moves, supporting civil rights (and betting that the South would ultimately reject the Dixiecrat challenge), recognizing the new state of Israel and uniting the old farmer-labor alliance.
Dewey—a placid and uninspiring character whom Alice Roosevelt Longworth once mocked as “the little man on the wedding cake”—put up an admirable fight, but his stiff demeanor and conventional, cautious, lackluster campaign was no match for Truman’s spirited yet disciplined run. In the closing weeks of the race, the president unleashed a fury of attacks on his Republican opponent, raising the specter that he would dismantle many popular elements of the New Deal that Americans had come to expect. Firm in his belief that he was destined to win, Dewey refused to counterattack.
Truman’s win was so unexpected that the Chicago Daily Tribune prematurely ran with the headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.” History recorded otherwise.
Dewey went on to serve a third term as governor and later build a lucrative law practice in Manhattan. Disturbed by his party’s sharp rightward turn, he declined to attend the 1964 Republican convention that nominated Sen. Barry Goldwater.
2. Henry Clay, 1844: The most unfortunate of political parties, the American Whigs captured the presidency in 1840, only to see their candidate, William Harrison, die within 30 days of taking office. His vice president, John Tyler, a nominal member of the party, quickly went turncoat and allied himself with the opposition Democrats, thereby leaving national Whigs in an all-too-familiar place: on the outside looking in. But 1844 would be different. The Whig nominee that year was Henry Clay—the star of the West. Standing over six feet tall, with strong features and a stentorian voice, Clay, along with Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun, was one-third of the “great triumvirate” that overshadowed the United States Senate from the 1820s through the early 1850s.
A former House speaker and secretary of state, Clay had tried twice before—and failed—to win the presidency. This time, most Whigs (and not a few Democrats) agreed, it was Harry’s year. Champion of internal improvements, a national banking system and a mixed economy comprised of both farms and factories, he represented the millions of Americans who believed that progress should be measured by what the country did with its vast human and natural resources, rather than how much land it conquered. Abraham Lincoln later spoke for many Whigs when he observed that Clay was his “beau-ideal of a statesman, the man for whom I fought all my humble life.”
Clay expected to face off against former President Martin Van Buren, a master political operator and onetime consigliere to Andrew Jackson. But when no Democratic candidate was able to secure the requisite number of delegates to win nomination, the convention turned to a compromise choice: James K. Polk, a former House speaker who subsequently served one term as governor of Tennessee before being denied re-election. He struck most political observers as a non-entity. “Who is James K. Polk?” went the popular Whig taunt that summer.
By late fall, the Whigs weren’t laughing.
Polk’s improbable presidential victory stemmed from multiple sources: an expanding population of foreign-born voters, many of them Catholic, who felt alienated by Whig nativism a popular thirst for territorial expansion, best embodied by cries to annex the Republic of Texas, which Polk vigorously supported and Clay steadfastly opposed a growing urban electorate that tended to support the Democratic economic platform and—not least of all—slavery.
Clay was a critic of slavery, but not an immediate abolitionist instead, he maintained a lifelong interest in both voluntary, compensated emancipation and colonization of ex-slaves in Africa. As a Southern Democrat, Polk was a more stalwart defender of the peculiar institution. Despite their differences on the issue, the small but determined antislavery movement viewed both candidates and both parties as equally complicit in a great sin. That year, the activists coalesced around James G. Birney, a former Kentucky state legislator who ran as the candidate of the Liberty Party. As expected, Birney performed poorly, garnering just 2.3 percent of the national vote. But in New York State, he proved a spoiler. Of more than 485,000 ballots cast, Clay lost to Polk by a razor-thin margin of 5,107. Over three times that number of Empire State voters supported Birney.
In the absence of his third-party challenge, most of Birney’s support would undoubtedly have flowed to the moderate antislavery Whig. Of course, that’s not how it happened. Clay lost New York, and with it, the presidency. He went onto several more years of distinguished service in the Senate and died shortly before his beloved Whig party dissolved over the growing sectional conflict.
3. William Henry Seward, 1860: New York politics has long been a byzantine affair, and those who excelled at it have been formidable characters—few so much as William Henry Seward, a two-term Whig governor who went on to serve 12 years in the United States Senate, where he emerged as one of the leading congressional opponents of slavery.
In late 1859, Seward was the presumptive nominee of the still relatively new Republican Party. He enjoyed the backing of powerful political machines, widespread name recognition and national stature. But his reputation for radicalism, and his complacent assumption that he enjoyed a clear path to the nomination proved fatal. So confident was he in his position that, rather than launch an early campaign, he embarked on a long trip abroad in late 1859. In his absence, a hungrier candidate lay waiting in the wings.
In January 1860, just as Seward returned home, Abraham Lincoln—a former one-term congressman and twice-failed Senate candidate—visited New York City at the invitation of leading Republican boosters, where he defied the expectations of his eastern audience, many of whom expected “something weird, rough, and uncultivated,” by delivering a powerful antislavery broadside. On the heels of his success, Lincoln worked a speaking circuit through New England. He was again received by enthusiastic crowds who were intrigued by the rough-hewn Illinois politician who spoke so mightily, yet in a strange Kentucky-Indiana tongue. By spring, he was a credible contender.
Lincoln’s strategy going into the convention was simple: “I am not the first choice of a very great many,” he conceded. “Our policy, then, is to give no offense to others—leave them in a mood to come to us, if they shall be compelled to give up their first love.” On the first ballot, Seward won 173½ votes to Lincoln’s 102, with other candidates trailing far behind. No candidate came close to the magic number—233. Lincoln’s aide, John Nicolay, remembered the “groundswell of suppressed excitement which pervaded the hall,” as Lincoln supporters, sensing that momentum was on their side, cried out, “Call the roll!” On the next ballot, Seward won 184½ votes to Lincoln’s 181. “The third ballot,” reported Nicolay, “was begun amid a breathless suspense hundreds of pencils kept pace with the roll-call, and nervously marked the changes on their tally sheets.” When the chairman announced the totals, Lincoln was ahead with 231½ votes—just one and a half shy of the nomination—with Seward trailing far behind at 180. “A profound silence suddenly fell upon the wigwam the men ceased to talk and the ladies to flutter their fans one could distinctly hear the scratching of pencils and the ticking of telegraph instruments on the reporters’ tables. … While every one was leaning forward in intense expectancy, David K. Cartter sprang upon his chair and reported a change of four Ohio votes from Chase to Lincoln. There was a moment’s pause—a teller waved his tally-sheet towards the skylight and shouted a name—and then the boom of a cannon on the roof of the wigwam announced the nomination to the crowds in the streets, where shouts and salutes took up and spread the news. In the convention the Lincoln river now became an inundation. Amid the wildest hurrahs, delegation after delegation changed its vote to the victor.”