There is an old saying that decrees that you shouldn’t talk about politics, religion, or money. That is if you intend to keep conversations civil. It might be impossible to discuss these topics from time to time, there is still some truth to that guidance.
Every election year seems to be wilder than the last. It doesn’t even matter who you are voting for. If you keep up with politics and the news, you are bound to catch some crazy, unexpected and outlandish drama. To say the least It’s virtually the only guarantee there is in the wild world of politics.
It seems that every side of the debate has their own two cents. Every little word that a candidate utters is picked apart and scrutinized by the media. Still, some politicians go out of their way to make waves. Throughout society through publicity stunts, inflammatory rhetoric, and bizarre attacks on their opponents.
If you think that this year’s election is bizarre, then you should take a gander at some of the wacky, sensational, off-the-wall highlights of Presidential elections from times past. It certainly isn’t a new phenomenon and the pattern will assuredly repeat itself in the future as well.
Facts Verse Presents: The Wildest Moments in Presidential Elections
Before we once again dust off our history books and peer through the sands of time, make sure you remember to give this video and subscribe to our channel. Tap the bell icon to turn on notifications so you can keep up with all of our latest facts-filled videos.
George Washington Had A Taste For The Strong Stuff
Election fundraising brings in staggering amounts of cash. It’s been reported that President Trump has raised 426 million dollars for his reelection campaign and his opponent Joe Biden has taken in 328 million dollars for his campaign. Those numbers are inconceivable to the average individual.
There are many noble, ethical, and practical ways for a candidate to spend their campaign finances. Apparently one of the founding fathers didn’t get the memo.
George Washington – as inspirational of a man as he was – reportedly once spent his entire campaign budget on 160 gallons on liquor to serve to his potential voters.
With the budgets of modern-day presidential candidates, can you imagine if Joe or The Donald were to spend their entire piggy banks on booze? That likely would result in enough alcohol to get every last American drunk as a skunk.
Thomas Jefferson Once Gave His Opponent John Adams A Slanderous Jab In The Press
The year was 1800 and it was an election year. Jefferson hired a writer in secret by the name of James Callender to publish disparaging comments about his political adversary. Callender referred to Adams in print as a ‘hermaphroditical character’ who lacked the ‘force of a man’ or the ‘gentleness of a woman”.
Talk about a scathing blow!
That wasn’t the end of James Callender’s historical notoriety, however. He was thrown in jail for insurrection a few years later.
Everyone Has A Voice?
We’ve come a long way since the founding of the nation in terms of voting rights. Of course, it’s well known that women and people of color have historically had to fight for the right to vote, but there is one other qualifying factor that is sometimes overlooked that impeded people’s ability to have their voices be heard.
Up until 1856, it was a requirement to own property if you wanted to cast your ballot. Still yet, that only granted white men the ability to vote, but it was still a step in the right direction when this requirement was lifted. North Carolina was the last state to require property ownership as a requirement for voting.
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Non-White Men Given Voting Rights
In 1870, congress gave non-white men and African Americans the right to vote by means of the 15th amendment. This was a momentous victory for equality in America.
Of course, the constitutional amendment wouldn’t suddenly give everyone universal equal treatment. States still had the right to decide who could vote in their elections. It wasn’t until the abolishing of Jim Crow laws in the 1960s that African American’s voting rights were no longer contest by much of the South and parts of the North that had made it virtually impossible for black people to have their votes counted.
The First Female To Run For President In The US
Victoria Woodhull ran for president in 1872. She was a member of the Equal Rights Party. Her running mate was abolitionist Frederick Douglass and he was the first African American to run for vice president.
Granted, few in the world of politics or in the media took their campaigns seriously and Woodhull was also under 35 when she ran – which disqualifies for eligibility even under today’s requirements. As such, many historians don’t consider her to be the first woman to legitimately run for president.
It is, however, notable that she ran for president 50 years before the 19th Amendment was signed giving women the right to vote in presidential elections.
Grant Ran Against A Dead Man
Ulysses S. Grant’s opponent was Horace Greeley – who was a member of the Liberal Republican Party. Incidentally, he also helped coin the term Republican.
Greeley’s wife passed away while he was on the campaign trail and he became very depressed and sickly because of his grief. He himself passed away just 5 days before the Electoral College met to finalize the results of the election.
In terms of the popular vote, Grant had already won by a landslide anyway.
Andrew Jackson Won The Popular Vote In 1824
But Andrew Jackson still lost the election because he received less than 50 percent of the electoral votes. John Quincy Adams ended up winning the presidency that year. Jackson actually received 42.3 % of the votes in contrast with Adams 31.6%.
This issue has repeated itself several times throughout election history – most recently playing out in the 2016 election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – leading many to express vocal support for eliminating the electoral college – which obviously is a wildly polarizing issue on its own.
In total, the presidential election has been decided by the Electoral College 4 times when the popular vote sided with another candidate.
Native American Voting Rights
Native people won citizenship and thus were granted the federal right to vote in 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge signed the Indian Citizenship Act which was also known as the Snyder Act.
This might sound like a victory for Native people, but it really wasn’t. The Act was designed to break apart the Native Nations and forcibly assimilate them into American society.
Native Americans as a whole wouldn’t be granted universal voting rights in every state until the 1960s.
Voting From Space
If you thought the whole voting-by-mail thing here down on Earth was confusing, can you imagine how it feels to vote from space on the International Space Station?
Americans on board are able to vote via secure email.
The Tilden Controversy
In 1876, in one of the biggest election upsets in history, not only did Samuel Tilden win the popular vote, but he also had a majority of the votes and not just a plurality.
That didn’t matter because Rutherford B. Hayes beat him by 1 electoral vote. That was the closest and arguable the most contentious election in American History.
Bush Verse Gore
On Election night in 2000, news networks initially reported that Gore had won Florida with it’s 25 electoral votes. They then retracted that in favor of Bush only to retract that projection as well.
Florida Secretary Of State Katherine Harris than to certified the Florida count which inevitably led to a recount that proceeded to play to out over the course of the next several weeks.
The recount was the subject of the supreme court case Bush Vs. Gore where the matter was finally settled. The court ruled that the recount was unconstitutional. The state of Florida’s electoral votes were then given to Bush resulting in his count being 271 – 1 higher than the threshold required to win the electoral college. Gore had received 266 votes and subsequently made his concession speech.
Kennedy Vs. Nixon
There have been accusations for decades about the 1960 election. It’s almost an accepted fact in some circles that Kennedy stole the election from Nixon.
The conspiracy theory states that Kennedy had operatives in Texas and Illinois fix the tallies somehow and that in an effort to keep the unity of the nation, Nixon opted not to question the results.
The irony is that if there was any truth to the idea then it would put Kennedy who was widely beloved by the masses in the position of being a crook – foreshadowing the crimes that Nixon would later commit with the Watergate scandal, not too many years in the future.
What we do know is that the race was indeed a close one. In fact, It was the closest election in the 20th century in terms of the popular vote. Kennedy received only 113,000 more votes than his opponent – Nixon.
J. Edgar Hoover firmly believed that Nixon was the rightful winner of the election and so did a whole slew of conservative journalists, politicians, and commentators at the time.
Nixon however was the most prominent believer of election fraud being the reason for his loss. It’s reported that at a 1960 Christmas party, he greeted all of his guests by saying “We won but they stole it from us.”
Controversial Voting Machines
People have a historic aversion to change – especially when that change involves some kind of new technology.
Despite what you might have suspected though, the first voting machine was used in an election in 1892. The machine itself had been invented years earlier as well.
The first European nation to implement women’s suffrage was Finland in 1906. Women in the united states were awarded the valuable right to vote in 1920 when the 19th amendment was added to the constitution.
The first woman to be nominated by a major political party for President was Hillary Clinton in 2016 although she would go on to lose in yet another contentious and divisive election in 2016.
There is a good chance that you are getting pretty tired of hearing about the election. But this upcoming one is certainly looking to be one of the most polarizing and controversial ones in modern history. Despite all of the partisan divisiveness, just remember that your neighbors are people just like you. And despite the outcome of the election, take solace in the fact that it’s not the first time that it’s felt more like a circus than a political process.
Now it’s time to hear from you.
Some say that elections should be decided by the popular vote, while others see the electoral college as a means for rural America and smaller states to still have their voices be heard on a Federal lever. Do you like the electoral college or would you like to see it done away with? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
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