People might want to talk you out of voting for a third party. There’s Democrat and Republican. Any other vote is a waste, right? When Abraham Lincoln ran for president, the parties were Democrat, Southern Democrat, Constitutional Union Party, and Republican. Abraham Lincoln was the first president to win as a Republican, the third party at the time.
In 1828, Andrew Jackson was running for president. His critics called him a Jackass. So he went with it and the donkey became the symbol for the Democratic Party.
In 1872, Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for president under the Equal Rights Party. A controversial figure, she stirred things up in the name of activism for Women’s Suffrage. But, the rumors also flew about affairs she supposedly had. Nice to know the dirt throwing in campaigns isn’t anything new.
The myth that has alluded many is that women were never denied the right to vote in the Constitution. That was a state issue. The 19th Amendment was actually ratified to take away the State’s ability to deny anyone the right to vote based on sex.
Why We Vote On Tuesday
This goes back to when many Americans were farmers and most of America went to church. Wednesday was the day farmers went to market. Sunday was the day of worship. So, they chose Tuesday as the voting day so that farmers could travel on Monday to the voting booths, vote on Tuesday, and make it back in time to go to market on Wednesday. Obviously, Saturday would not have worked.
Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren has the distinction of being the first president to be born in America. All other presidents were born subjects of England. By the time Van Buren came along, we had fought and won our independence.
The only U.S. President to be elected by unanimous vote was George Washington. In 1789, John Adams ran against him but he did not receive one vote. Washington ran unopposed in 1792. But, the electoral college still had to do their jobs and they cast their ballots unanimously.
First Presidential Debate
There had been other presidential debates before 1960. But, people came to attend or they read it about in the news. John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon marked the first televised debate before JFK would go on to become our 35th president.
We have established that there are more parties than two. But in order to get into the debates, a third party candidate has to have at least 15% in the polls. In 1992, Ross Perot was able to do that and he participated in the debates along with President George Bush Sr. and then Governor of Arkansas Bill Clinton.
When we cast our vote, they don’t add them up across the nation and let us know who won the seat. Those votes go to decide what way members of the Electoral College will cast their vote. Each state gets Electoral College votes based on the population of the state. It’s supposed to be mathematically equivalent. But, there have been discrepancies.
It’s expected that when a state votes Republican or Democrat, the members of the Electoral College will vote that way in Washington. But, a member of the Electoral College is not required to vote according to their state’s decision. They are just EXPECTED to vote that way. When a member doesn’t vote the way the state voted, they are called a Faithless Elector and that has changed the outcome of several elections.
Not Enough Votes
The magic number is 270 because there are only 538 votes available. If it’s a split decision or a third party candidate gets some votes and no one reaches 270, Congress has to make the decision. Each state gets one representative and the House of Representatives chooses the President while the Senate chooses the Vice President.
A few states are on the extreme range of who can vote if they’ve been in trouble before. Florida, Kentucky, and Iowa won’t allow Felons to vote. In Vermont and Maine, they don’t care. All the other states have their own way of seeing things based on what crime you committed and whether you’re on parole or not.
George W. Bush
We’ve discussed the difference between popular vote and the Electoral College. There are a few presidents who had less votes across the country, but won by the Electoral votes. In 1824, John Quincy Adams did. Rutherford B. Hayes did in 1876. In 1888, Benjamin Harrison won and then in 2000, George W. Bush took the seat.
This is why everyone should vote. In 2012, Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney by about 5 million in the popular votes. That’s a sizable margin. But, what happens when you take into account that 90 million qualified voters didn’t even show up? Every vote counts.