Archive for the ‘Presidential Election’ Tag

Choosing A President: 1824   1 comment

John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States, after losing the popular vote and losing the electoral college vote.

John Quincy Adams, 6th President of the United States, after losing the popular vote and losing the electoral college vote.

It was chaos.

In our 10th Presidential election, no candidate won a majority of the electoral college vote. In such a situation, the 12th Amendment to the Constitution governs what happens next: when no single candidate gets a majority of the electoral college vote, the election of the President is thrown into the House of Representative, who choose from the top 3 electoral candidates in a single vote. That’s exactly what happened 192 years ago.

We think today’s politics are crazy? Here is what happened in 1824:

The # 2 political party, the Federalist Party, had effectively dissolved, leaving only the Democratic-Republican Party standing. The Democratic-Republican Party had in fact won the last 6 elections for President. Unfortunately, in 1824 the Party could not agree on a single candidate, so they fielded what were essentially 4 regional candidates: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, William H Crawford & Henry Clay.

Andrew Jackson was the popular favorite, and his group would eventually become what we know today as the Democratic Party. John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay represented a group that would become the National Republican Party (which is not the same thing as today’s G.O.P.).

Andrew Jackson “won” the popular vote – though in this era, not all states even had a popular vote. Rather, some states simply empowered their state legislature to decide how their state’s electoral votes should be cast for President!  Jackson did win 99 of the 261 Electoral College votes. That was the largest number won (with John Q Adams 2nd with 84) … so neither of them won a majority of the electoral votes. In this election, they would have had to have 131 votes to win the Presidency outright.

But they didn’t.

Andrew Jackson, the popular vote winner in 1824, but not President until he won again in 1828.

Andrew Jackson, the popular vote winner in 1824, but not President until he won again in 1828.

So, it was up the the House of Representatives to choose the 6th President of the United States. The Speaker of the House was Henry Clay, who finished 4th in the Electoral College vote and thus was excluded from the Top 3 that the House would choose from. Clay endorsed Adams, and that helped to swing the vote to Adams. The final House tally was Adams 87, Jackson 71 and Crawford 54. Adams was the new President, by a margin of 16 votes in the House.

Adams later appointed Clay to become Secretary of State, which was a rumored deal when Clay first endorsed Adams. Neither Adams nor Clay ever confirmed such a deal existed, but the alleged deal became known as the “Corrupt Bargain” in the press. Jackson railed against this supposed backroom deal throughout Adams’ term, and then unseated him as President in the election of 1828.

John Quincy Adams thus joined his father as the only one-term Presidents in the then-short history of our Republic.

History Repeating In 2016?

Let’s pretend the current front runners, Donald Trump & Hillary Clinton, win their parties’ nominations. However, since they both have very large negative ratings, a movement happens to bring another candidate onto the Presidential ballot in November … let’s nominate the most popular Republican senator, Susan Collins of Maine (liked by 78% of her constituents!). Collins promises to nominate prominent politicians into her cabinet, perhaps choosing popular Ohio Governor John Kasich or California Governor Jerry Brown as Vice President. Trump & Clinton run a dead heat of a race, and neither wins 270 electoral votes. If Ms. Collins just won her state’s electoral votes – finishing # 3 overall in the electoral vote of the Presidential race – then the House could choose to elect her over both Trump and Clinton.

That’s not my prediction, mind you, but it could happen!

More

Huffington Post: Doomsday Savior?

Wikipedia: United States Presidential Election, 1824

270ToWin:Presidential Election Of 1824

Portrait: John Quincy Adams

Liars vs. Winners vs. Me   3 comments

I don’t believe people should lie.  It’s what my momma taught me.

I am fascinated by a line of thought I’m seeing in the media that we WANT our President to lie.  I mean, what???  Didn’t President Clinton get in a speck of trouble over that?  Didn’t President Nixon actually get booted after he lied to the American people?

Perhaps the world’s most famous liar, Pinocchio.

And yet.

The Worst Lies Ever

An article in Monday’s New York Times by Kevin Kruse, a professor of history from Princeton, espoused the belief that the lies in this Presidential campaign were the worst ever … here is his conclusion:

To be sure, the Obama campaign has certainly had its own share of dissembling and distortion, including about Mr. Romney’s positions on abortion and foreign aid. But nothing in it — or in past campaigns, for that matter — has equaled the efforts of the Romney campaign in this realm. Its fundamental disdain for facts is something wholly new.

I don’t want to get into a political tit for tat on who lied the most in the campaign.  It’s over, it’s done, and who wants to go back?  However, it’s certainly true that both President Obama and Governor Romney stated things directly — and approved ads to run — that stretched the truth beyond the breaking point.  Websites are devoted to tracking statements and evaluating their truthfulness.

“Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire” is the category used by the fact checkers for what they consider the most egregious lies in the campaign.

We need professionals for that, apparently.

Now, we have factcheck.org and Politifact.com, who tell us what they think is true and false.  Many other websites do this, but some have obvious, slanted agendas, like MoveOn.org and Newsmax.com.  Soon, you have spin doctors telling their version of a truth that is based on the implication of the other candidate’s statement after it is taken out of context, rotated and mutilated.

Walter Cronkite was called “The Most Trusted Man in America” as he anchored the CBS Evening News, 1962 – 1981. He ended his broadcasts with “And that’s the way it is….”

Journalism, I mourn for thee.  We used to trust Walter Cronkite to tell us what was right, and he didn’t let us down.  Those days are gone, unfortunately.

Today, we have Presidential debates where both candidates confront each other, saying things like, “That is simply not true!”  In the tightly formatted debates, however, there is no one moderating to require either candidate to respond directly to such basic allegations.  Truth has become a matter of perspective, not a matter of being correct.  And since we now know both sides lie … who cares?  Everyone is doing it.

The Governor did it.  The President did it.

An article in Tuesday’s Reason.com postulates that we expect our politicians to lie, in that we expect them to do any reasonable thing to win so that they can represent our shared interests.

Here’s how Johnny Schad, my co-worker and the Democratic Committee Chair for Iowa’s Palo Alto County explained it:

“We the people have to be willing to take some responsibility for our government. Politicians (Republican or Democrat) don’t lie because they want to; they lie because we demand that they do.

For example, Gov. Romney had a 59 point economic plan that few people would even consider until he cut it down to a simple 5 point plan. That means over-simplifying to such a ridiculous level that the result cannot be entirely true.”

The Awful Truth

Thomas Jefferson said “The government you elect is government you deserve.”

This scares me to death.

I certainly hope that we do not deserve a government that lies.  I absolutely expect our President to tell us the truth.  Don’t you?

And, finally, I certainly hope that our elected officials learn that telling the truth is better than the alternative … because we need to teach them exactly that!

President Obama’s Victory Speech   1 comment

U.S. President Barack Obama waves to supporters after his victory speech at McCormick Place on election night November 6, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Obama’s victory speech last night was great.  The man is a wonderful orator, and his ability to communicate on the world’s largest stages is one of his greatest strengths (which he needs to use more, I would think).  Read the complete text of his remarks here. 

After the obligatory thanks to his supporters (and a very nice nod to the Romney family), he really hit his stride in the middle of the speech.  Here are some key passages that resonated with me:

“And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth. The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America….”

Posted November 7, 2012 by henrymowry in POTUS

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