Thursday, November 08, 2007

Presidents Elected on November 8

Under the plan for a standard popular vote for the presidency, the ballot is the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, meaning a range from November 2nd to the 8th. Supposedly Monday lost out as a polling day because in some cases, voters would have had to leave home on Sunday, the Lord's Day, to reach a polling place by the end of the next day, considering the poor state of roads and transit in the early 19th century.

The first November 8 election -- in the northern states only -- saw Lincoln beating McClellan. In some sense, these presidential elections are the most remarkable in US history, not for the outcome, but for the fact that there were held at all in the midst of a bloody civil war. In 1892, things were a little less dramatic, but those elections did return Cleveland to the White House. The 22nd and 24th President of the United States remains the only man to lose the office and get it back again.

The 1904 election wasn't much of a contest: Teddy Roosevelt carried every part of the country against Alton Parker (pictured), except the Solid South, which in those days always went Democratic. In 1932, the Depression put Franklin Roosevelt into office. The November 8 presidential election of 1960 saw Kennedy edging out Nixon by a narrow margin, and in 1988 George HW Bush outpolled Michael Dukakis but a considerably larger margin. The next such late-as-possible election won't be until 2016.

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