Hillary Clinton won the popular vote on Tuesday’s U.S. Presidential Election, and yet Donald Trump was elected the next president of the United States. Not only is this possible, it has happened four times before:
In 1824, John Quincy Adams was elected president despite not winning either the popular vote or the electoral vote. Andrew Jackson was the winner in both categories. Jackson received 38,000 more popular votes than Adams, and beat him in the electoral vote 99 to 84. Despite his victories, Jackson didn’t reach the majority 131 votes needed in the Electoral College to be declared president. In fact, neither candidate did. The decision went to the House of Representatives, which voted Adams into the White House.
In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes won the election (by a margin of one electoral vote), but he lost the popular vote by more than 250,000 ballots to Samuel J. Tilden.
In 1888, Benjamin Harrison received 233 electoral votes to Grover Cleveland’s 168, winning the presidency. But Harrison lost the popular vote by more than 90,000 votes.
Most notably in 2000, George W. Bush was declared the winner of the general election and became the 43rd president, but he didn’t win the popular vote either. Al Gore holds that distinction, garnering about 540,000 more votes than Bush. However, Bush won the electoral vote, 271 to 266.
Born in Co Carlow, Pierce Butler is recognised as one of the United States’ Founding Fathers. He represented South Carolina in the Continental Congress, the 1787 Constitutional Convention, and the U.S. Senate.
Pierce Butler was instrumental in forming the government of the United States of America. He is credited with the creation of the Electoral College Election Process, a way to protect the electoral process against corruption and foreign intrigue. The Electoral College is a process, not a place. The founding fathers established it in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens. The Electoral College process consists of the selection of the electors, the meeting of the electors where they vote for President and Vice President, and the counting of the electoral votes by Congress. The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Each state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for each Senators.
Butler believed the average citizen too gullible – that their votes could too easily be manipulated. Butler wasn’t alone in this sentiment. Part of the reason Butler and others thought the average citizen gullible was simply the lack of information available on presidential candidates and their positions. Or more to the point, the lack of access to reliable information. Newspapers were available if you lived in and around large cities, but people in rural areas of the country never received up-to-date news of national issues. His motivation for this was to avoid in-groups of powerful politicians skewing matters to favour their own candidates. Popular elections of presidents, especially in the late eighteenth century, was simply impractical and imprudent.
Author, Margaret Mitchell, chose the Butler name along with another well-known South Carolina last name, Rhett, for her famous character Rhett Butler in ‘Gone with the Wind’.
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