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Sun Oct 6, 2019, 02:05 PM

A Common Thread in Recent U.S. Presidential Elections Where the Popular Vote Winner Didn't Win

There have been five Presidential elections in U.S. history where the popular vote winner failed to win the election. Because that was the case in two of our last five elections (2000 and 2016), this has spurred a good deal of interest in abolishing the Electoral College. I don’t disagree with abolishing the Electoral College. However, the Electoral College seems to have been the main culprit in only one of the five discordant Presidential elections. There is another issue, connected with the most recent two discordant elections, which appears to be far more important than the Electoral College in undermining our democracy. Whether or not the Electoral College gets abolished anytime soon, I fear that failure to address that issue very soon could be catastrophic for our country, with Trump winning re-election in 2020.


Election of 1824 – Decided by U.S. House of Representatives

The Presidential election of 1824 was ultimately decided by neither the popular vote nor the Electoral College. The ultimate winner of that election, John Quincy Adams, won only 31% of the popular vote, while Andrew Jackson won 41% of the popular vote and also won more Electoral Votes than any of the other three candidates. But since no candidate won a majority of Electoral Votes, the election was thrown into the House of Representatives, as required by our Constitution, and Adams prevailed. I have great admiration for John Quincy Adams, because after losing his bid for re-election four years later (to Jackson), he won election to Congress two years after that, where he soon became the strongest anti-slavery voice in Congress until he died 17 years later, at his desk in Congress. But surely he didn’t deserve to win the 1824 Presidential election based on the election results.


Election of 1876 – Decided by special “Electoral Commission”

Likewise, the initial results in the election of 1876 showed alignment between the popular vote and the Electoral College. That election was decided almost four months after Election Day 1876, by a special “Electoral Commission” that was convened because of allegations of foul play – specifically voter suppression of African American voters – by three Southern states (FL, LA, and SC). The Democratic candidate, Samuel Tilden, won the initial popular vote by 51% to 48%, and also won the Electoral College by 19 Electoral Votes, with an additional 20 Electoral votes that Tilden preliminarily won being disputed (19 of the 20 disputed votes were disputed because of alleged voter suppression). Following much negotiation and deliberation, the Electoral Commission eventually gave all 20 disputed Electoral Votes to the Republican candidate, Rutherford B. Hayes, who thereby won the election by one Electoral Vote. The decision of the Commission was in large part determined by a deal that ended the Reconstruction Era, thereby terminating the federal protection that the freed slaves had enjoyed following their liberation during and soon after the end of the Civil War. The ending of Reconstruction inaugurated a very long era of eradication of voting rights and violent terrorism against the freed Southern slaves and their descendants.


Election of 1888 – Decided by Electoral College

The election of 1888 was the first Presidential election, and the only one ever that was not marred by judicial interference (See discussion of the 2000 and 2016 elections below), with discordant results between the popular vote and the Electoral College results. The incumbent Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland, won the popular vote by 0.8% but lost in the Electoral College to the Republican, Benjamin Harrison. Cleveland ran against Harrison again in 1892, and that time won both the popular vote and the Electoral College.


Election of 2000 – Decided by the U.S. Supreme Court

As with the Election of 1876, the Election of 2000, although technically determined by the Electoral College, was actually determined by the decision of a judicial body – in this case the U.S. Supreme Court. In what is widely considered one of the three worst and unjustified (not to mention corrupt) Supreme Court decisions in U.S. history, the Florida recount of the vote was stopped cold by the Supreme Court, thereby handing the Presidency to George W. Bush. The Democratic candidate, Al Gore, had won the U.S. popular vote by 0.5%, but the Supreme Court decision gave Florida and its 25 Electoral votes to Bush by the narrowest margin ever (537 votes) in a state that determined the winner of a Presidential election, giving Bush a four vote Electoral College victory. The cheating in this election was too widespread and complex to discuss here, but suffice it to say that future analyses showed beyond a reasonable doubt that Gore would have won if the counting hadn’t been stopped prematurely by the corrupt Supreme Court decision.


Election of 2016 – Trump campaign squelches recount of highly suspicious vote counts in five states

That brings us to the most recent Presidential election with a discrepancy between the popular vote and the election winner. That is the most important part of my discussion in this post, because if we fail to learn from it and fail to take corrective action, I fear that the results will be repeated in 2020. I have heard a good deal of argument that the Presidential Election of 2016 shows why the Electoral College must be abolished. As I noted above, I don’t disagree that the Electoral College should be abolished. But I doubt very much that that will happen prior to the 2020 election, and there is another, more important lesson that we can learn from the 2016 fiasco, which could allow us to take successful preventive action in time to prevent a repeat of 2016.

As in 1876 and 2000, judicial decisions likely played a critically important role in 2016. Based on pre-election polls, Trump won five states in 2016 that he was widely expected to lose (FL, NC, MI, PA, WI). More important, exit polls showed Clinton winning four of those states (FL, NC, PA, WI) and in a virtual tie with Trump in Michigan. In three of those states (NC, PA, WI), the differences between the exit polls and the official results were beyond the statistical margin of error. In summary, Clinton won the U.S. popular vote by 2.1%, while losing 5 states she was expected to win, by very small margins, with exit polls showing she should have won at least 4 of those states. The margin of the Trump victory was less than 1% in three of those states (MI, PA, WI), a very rare occurrence in U.S. history. Winning any three of the states with suspicious results, or even various combinations of just two of those states would have given Clinton an Electoral College victory.

Because of these highly suspicious circumstances, one of the 2016 losing Presidential candidates, Jill Stein, citing “compelling evidence of voting anomalies” and data analysis indicating “significant discrepancies in vote totals”, and urged by tens or hundreds of thousands of American citizens, attempted to raise money for vote recounts in all 5 states with suspicious results. She quickly raised $4.5 million for the recounts, but it was only enough money for recounts in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

The Trump campaign then fought her efforts to obtain recounts in those three states. The end result was that state courts in Pennsylvania and Michigan supported the Trump campaign’s effort to block the recounts, while a Wisconsin court agreed to a recount, but specified that individual counties could elect to simply “recount” votes by re-running the same machines that provided the original count, rather than do hand recounts of paper ballots. This invalidated the whole recount because any serious errors that might have occurred in the machines were likely limited to those counties that elected to recount the votes by machine – which was the case in about one half of the Wisconsin counties.


What went wrong in 2016, and how can we prevent a repeat?

I have a critically important question about all this. Why didn’t our intelligence agencies get involved in this to demand or at least to strongly advise hand recounts in the 5 suspicious states? Our intelligence agencies had already determined that Russia had conspired to interfere in this election in favor of Trump. They also knew that, in accordance with that, Russia had hacked into our electronic voting databases in many if not all 50 states. And surely they knew that our electronic voting system is widely known to be highly vulnerable to hacking.

They did not know how successful, or what the specific results were of the Russian hacking into our state electronic voting databases. They did claim that they found no evidence that the hacking into our electronic voting databases altered the ultimate results of the election. But neither did they provide any evidence that the election results were not altered through electronic manipulation of our vote. When I hear this issue discussed by our national news media, they often seem more concerned about causing a loss of confidence in our Election system than in an actual altering of our election results. It’s as if electronic manipulation of national election results is a taboo subject.

By far the easiest and most accurate way to determine whether Russian (or other) manipulation of our electronic voting altered the results of the 2016 election would have been to simply recount the paper ballots for the suspicious states. Why didn’t our intelligence agencies demand this? This is an issue of such great importance that it shouldn’t fall to private citizens to raise huge sums of money to recount highly suspicious elections. This responsibility should fall to our federal government, and we should have laws that make this a high priority – not to be blocked by court decisions sponsored by the “winning” candidate. Yet apparent electronic manipulation of our vote has occurred several times in national elections in the 21st Century (with the more conservative candidate always the beneficiary) – with no meaningful hand recount of paper ballots invoked to dispel widespread suspicion. The circumstances surrounding the 2016 Presidential election SCREAMED to have our votes recounted, and yet our country sat by and allowed Donald Trump to block efforts to get to the bottom of this.

There is a fair amount of talk in our country about the need for all of our voting machines to be associated with a paper trail. (As of April 2019, twelve U.S. states still used paperless electronic machines as the primary voting machines in at least some jurisdictions.) However, I have never heard our mainstream news media even mention the fact that, even when paper trails are available they are rarely if ever used in a valid manner to conduct recounts in suspicious national elections, except when the margin of victory is extremely thin, as specified by law in some states. As noted by the Brennan Center for Justice, “Paper records of votes have limited value against a cyberattack if they are not used to check the accuracy of the software-generated total to confirm the veracity of election results”.

It is astounding and deeply disturbing to me that this was not done in the 2016 Presidential election, despite the highly suspicious circumstances AND the findings of our intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered in that election in behalf of Donald Trump and also had access to some unknown numbers of our state electronic voting databases. What kind of country is it that allows such things to occur and won’t even conduct recounts of paper ballots in an attempt ascertain the status of the integrity of our Presidential elections?

We’d better be prepared for a repeat of 2016, with plans for an aggressive response, including a mandatory recount of paper ballots in states with suspicious results, if we want to reduce the likelihood of another election catastrophe in 2020.

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Reply A Common Thread in Recent U.S. Presidential Elections Where the Popular Vote Winner Didn't Win (Original post)
Time for change Oct 2019 OP
DavidDvorkin Oct 2019 #1
Time for change Oct 2019 #2
I_UndergroundPanther Oct 2019 #3
Time for change Oct 2019 #4
Polybius Oct 2019 #8
Time for change Oct 2019 #9
chowder66 Oct 2019 #5
Time for change Oct 2019 #6
chowder66 Oct 2019 #7

Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 02:13 PM

1. Without the Electoral College, Gore would have won in 2000 regardless of the Court decision.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 02:43 PM

2. Probably yes

Or alternatively, they might have found a way to manipulate the popular vote in Bush's favor.

Anyhow, like I said, I don't disagree that the EC should be abolished. But I think that rigging of our electronic vote is a more basic and greater threat to our democracy, and one that maybe we can do something about prior to the 2020 election.

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 03:15 PM

3. And how many times has the popular vote

Was override to install a fuckface republican?

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Response to I_UndergroundPanther (Reply #3)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 03:41 PM

4. 2000 and 2016 for sure

There is also a great deal of evidence that it was done in 2004, although the official tally gave the popular vote to Bush:

https://www.amazon.com/Was-2004-Presidential-Election-Stolen/dp/1583226877

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Response to Time for change (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 11:08 PM

8. That year the EC almost saved us

Take away Ohio, and Bush loses the EC, but still wins the popular vote.

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Response to Polybius (Reply #8)

Mon Oct 7, 2019, 09:38 AM

9. Actually, there is a good deal of evidence that Kerry won Ohio, the EC, and the popular vote

It's discussed in the book I linked to above, as well as in many other sources. I also discussed in a good deal of detail in my book:
https://www.amazon.com/Democracy-Undone-Dale-Tavris-ebook/dp/B009KR7MCI

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Response to Time for change (Original post)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 07:35 PM

5. I hope you send this to Pelosi and others who might take this into account. nt

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Response to chowder66 (Reply #5)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 10:49 PM

6. I've sent something similar to several members of Congress and to several journalists

No response from anyone

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Response to Time for change (Reply #6)

Sun Oct 6, 2019, 10:50 PM

7. grrrr. Let us know if you hear back! nt

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