5 Presidents Who Lost the Popular Vote But Won the Election

5 Presidents Who Lost the Popular Vote But Won the Election

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Of the 58 presidential elections in the history of the United States, 53 of the winners took both the Electoral College and the popular vote. But in five incredibly close elections—including those for two of the past three presidents—the winner of the Electoral College was in fact the loser of the popular vote.

Here's how that can happen: The U.S. president and vice president aren’t elected by direct popular vote. Instead, Article II, section I of the Constitution provides for the indirect election of the nation’s highest offices by a group of state-appointed “electors.” Collectively, this group is known as the Electoral College.

READ MORE: What Is the Electoral College and Why Was It Created?

To win a modern presidential election, a candidate needs to capture 270 of the 538 total electoral votes. States are allotted electoral votes based on the number of representatives they have in the House plus their two senators. Electors are apportioned according to the population of each state, but even the least populous states are constitutionally guaranteed a minimum of three electors (one representative and two senators).

This guaranteed minimum means that states with smaller populations end up having greater representation in the Electoral College per capita. Wyoming, for example, has one House representative for all of its roughly 570,000 residents. California, a much more populous state, has 53 representatives in the House, but each of those congressmen and women represent more than 700,000 Californians.

Since most states (48 plus Washington, D.C.) award all of their electoral votes to the person who wins the statewide popular vote, it’s mathematically possible to win more electoral votes while still losing the popular vote. For example, if one candidate wins by large percentages in a handful of very populous states, for example, they’ll probably win the popular vote. But if their opponent wins a bunch of smaller states by tight margins, he or she could still win the Electoral College. That’s basically what happened in 2016.

Take a look at all five times a president won the White House while losing the popular vote.

John Quincy Adams (1824)

This is the first of two occasions when the man ultimately elected president first lost both the popular vote and the electoral vote.

Back in 1824, there were four contenders for the presidency, all members of the same Democratic-Republican party: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, William Crawford and Henry Clay.

When the votes were tallied, Andrew Jackson won a plurality of both the popular vote and the Electoral College. But to win the presidency, you need more than a plurality (the most electoral votes), you need a majority (more than half), and Jackson was 32 electoral votes shy of the mark.

In cases where no presidential candidate wins a majority of electoral votes, the Constitution sends the vote to the House of Representatives. According to the 12th Amendment, the House can only vote on the top three vote-getters, which eliminated Clay from the running, but that didn’t stop Clay from allegedly wielding his influence as Speaker of the House.

The House voted to make Adams president, even though Jackson had beaten Adams by 99 electoral votes to 84. Adams turned around and appointed Clay as his Secretary of State, infuriating Jackson, who accused his opponents of stealing the election in a corrupt bargain.

“[T]he Judas of the West has closed the contract and will receive the thirty pieces of silver,” said Jackson. “Was there ever witnessed such a bare faced corruption in any country before?”

WATCH: 'The Founding Fathers' on HISTORY Vault

Rutherford B. Hayes (1876)

Similar to 1824, the election of 1876 wasn’t decided by the voters, but by Congress. This time, though, the Constitution didn’t have an answer to the electoral crisis at hand.

The race was an ugly one between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel Tilden, and when the votes were counted, Tilden won 184 electoral votes, exactly one vote shy of the majority needed at the time to win the presidency. Hayes only won 165, but 20 more electoral votes were still in dispute.

The Republicans objected to the results from Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina, since both parties claimed their candidate had won the states. What now? The Constitution had a backup plan if no candidate won a majority of electoral votes, but there was no such process for resolving a dispute.

So Congress created a bipartisan Federal Electoral Commission composed of House representatives, senators and Supreme Court justices. The Commission voted to give all 20 disputed electoral votes to Hayes, who won the election by the thinnest of margins: 185 to 184.

Why did the Commission decide to hand the election to Hayes, who had lost both the popular and electoral vote? Most historians believe there was a deal brokered between the two parties. The Democrats, whose stronghold was the South, agreed to let Hayes be president in return for the Republicans promising to pull all federal troops from former Confederate states. That’s one of the main reasons why Reconstruction was abandoned in 1877.

READ MORE: How the 1876 Election Effectively Ended Reconstruction

Benjamin Harrison (1888)

The 1888 race between incumbent Democratic President Grover Cleveland and Republican challenger Benjamin Harrison was riddled with corruption. Both parties accused the other of paying citizens to vote for their candidate. So-called “floaters” were voters with no party loyalty who could be sold to the highest bidder.

In Indiana, a letter surfaced that allegedly showed Republicans plotting to buy up voters and to disrupt the opposition’s own bribery efforts. Meanwhile, Southern Democrats did everything in their power to suppress the Black vote, most of whom aligned with the Republicans, the “party of Lincoln.”

When the nasty race was finally over, Cleveland and the Democrats took the entire South while Republican Harrison won the North and West, including Cleveland’s home state of Indiana by a slim margin. By sweeping the South, Cleveland won the popular vote by more than 90,000 votes, but he still lost the electoral vote 233 to 168.

Four years later, Cleveland came back and beat Harrison, becoming the first and only U.S. president to serve two non-consecutive terms.

George W. Bush (2000)

VIDEO: How the U.S. Supreme Court Decided the Presidential Election of 2000

For the next 112 years, election results were back to normal with the winner of the Electoral College also taking the popular vote. Then came the hotly contested presidential election of 2000 that made it all the way to the Supreme Court.

The candidates were Republican George W. Bush, son of the former president, and Democrat Al Gore, who served as vice president under President Bill Clinton. On election night, the results were too close to call in three states: Oregon, New Mexico and Florida. Gore ended up winning Oregon and New Mexico by the slimmest of margins (just 366 votes in New Mexico), which left Florida to decide the presidency.

The race in Florida was so close that state law required a recount. When Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris certified Bush as the winner by 537 votes, Gore sued, arguing that not all ballots had been counted. There were still piles of punch cards that had been set aside because of voter errors resulting in anomalies called “hanging chads,” “pregnant chads” and “dimpled chads.”

The Florida Supreme Court sided with Gore, but Bush appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ultimately voted 5 to 4 to reverse the Florida court’s decision and halt the recount. With Florida in hand, Bush won the Electoral College 271 to 266, while Gore ended up getting 500,000 more votes in the popular vote.

READ MORE: How the 2000 Election Came Down to a Supreme Court Decision

Donald Trump (2016)

VIDEO: America 101: What is a Contested Election?

In a surprise victory that defied most pre-election polling, outsider Republican candidate Donald Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton, wife of the former president, Bill Clinton, despite the fact that Hillary Clinton received 2.8 million more votes in the popular vote—the largest such disparity yet.

Clinton performed very well in big cities and populous states like California and New York, where she beat Trump by 30 percentage points and 22.5 percentage points respectively. But Trump saw narrow victories in battleground states like Wisconsin (0.8 percent), Pennsylvania (0.7 percent) and Michigan (0.2 percent).

In the end, Trump may have lost the popular vote by millions, but he won the Electoral College convincingly with 304 electoral votes to Clinton’s 227.

Is Donald Trump the only POTUS to lose popular vote twice? Here are presidents who lost the vote in the past

(Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is being dubbed “a sore loser”. Declaring a “premature” and “false” victory, the 74-year-old spoke to about 150 maskless supporters inside the East Room of the White House and said, “We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election.” The shocking speech triggered much fury online and many social media users — even Republicans — lambasted him for wrongly declaring himself the winner of the election and demanding the vote counting to stop.

The final results of the presidential election are still uncertain. One thing is clear: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has swept more votes than any candidate for president in the history of the US, beating former president Barack Obama too — and that, with millions more still to be counted. Meanwhile, Trump has almost certainly lost the popular vote. Again.

Donald Trump and Joe Biden (Getty Images)

Five times in US history, candidates have lost the popular vote but won the presidency — most recently in 2016. It was Trump back then. Could he do it again? Previously, John Quincy Adams in 1824, Rutherford B Hayes in 1876, Benjamin Harrison in 1888 and George W Bush in 2000 are among the five presidents apart from Trump who lost the popular vote but won the elections. However, Trump joins Adams and Harrison to lose the popular vote TWICE!

No sooner than the news surfaced online, people took to criticize Trump, and blatantly said that he was not loved, but despised. “@realDonaldTrump Hey, you’re, like, three and a half MILLION votes behind in the popular vote AGAIN,” one tweet read and another said, “@realDonaldTrump Hey Donnie - did you see that you lost the popular vote by more than 3 MILLION votes? That’s even more than in 2016. You are not loved. We despise your racism, your ignorance, your misogyny, your bullying, your constant lying, and your very face. #BidenHarris.”

[email protected] Hey, you’re, like, three and a half MILLION votes behind in the popular vote AGAIN.

— Drew Acuff (@drewAcuff) November 5, 2020

@realDonaldTrump Hey Donnie - did you see that you lost the popular vote by more than 3 MILLION votes ? That’s even more than in 2016. You are not loved. We despise your racism, your ignorance, your misogyny, your bullying, your constant lying, and your very face. #BidenHarris

— cynthia (@cjgrocks) November 5, 2020

“Donald Trump is a one-term impeached President who's gonna lose a re-election bid in the middle of a crisis that lost the popular vote twice. Feels good, man,” one tweet read and another mocked him saying, “You should be congratulated! No president has ever LOST the popular vote TWICE (I assume)! That's an achievement in losing! "I can't win for losing" does NOT apply to you! You're the most accomplished loser in US presidential history. Congratulations!”

A third Twitter user wrote, “Sore losers make for sore winners and worse sore leaders. Leave. Quit the sue and shred charade. Historically the only way DJT has ever achieved his abusive father's expectations was through litigation following his absolute failure.”

Donald Trump is a one term impeached President who's gonna lose a re-election bid in the middle of a crisis that lost the popular vote twice.

Feels good, man.

— Quinton Miles (@QuintonMiles) November 5, 2020

You should be congratulated! No president has ever LOST the popular vote TWICE (I assume)! That's an achievement in losing! "I can't win for losing" does NOT apply to you! You're the most accomplished loser in US presidential history. Congratulations!

— MMI (@mmisrael) November 5, 2020

@TeamTrump @realDonaldTrump @WhiteHouse Sore losers make for sore winners and worse sore leaders. Leave. Quit the sue and shred charade. Historically the only way DJT has ever achieved his abusive father's expectations was through litigation following his absolute failure.

— James Rancor (@JamesRancor) November 5, 2020

Now, despite that, if Trump wins, that would be a rare feat. Thanks to the Electoral College system, the Republican Party can win the closely fought elections without coming close to winning a majority of votes as races in several states are yet to be officially called.

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5 of 46 Presidents Came into Office Without Winning the National Popular Vote

State winner-take-all laws (that award all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who gets the most popular votes in each separate state) make it possible for a candidate to win the Presidency while losing the national popular votes.

In these "wrong-winner" elections, the candidate wins one (or a few) states by very small margins, while losing the rest of the country by a large margin.

5 of our 46 Presidents have come into office in this way.

In 2016, Donald Trump became President even though Hillary Clinton won the national popular vote by over 2,800,000 votes. Trump won because he carried Michigan by about 11,000 votes, Wisconsin by about 23,000 votes, and Pennsylvania by about 44,000 votes. Each of these 78,000 votes was 36 times more important than the 2,868,518 votes cast in other states.

In 2000, George W. Bush became President even though Al Gore won the national popular vote by 537,179 votes. Bush won because he carried Florida by 537 votes. Each of these 537 votes was 1,000 times more important than the 537,179 votes cast in other states.

The 1876 election was similar to the 2016 election in that small margins in three states enabled Rutherford B. Hayes to eke out a one-vote win in the Electoral College. Hayes led Samuel Tilden by 889 votes in South Carolina, 922 votes in Florida, and 4,807 votes in Louisiana -- for a total lead of 6,618 votes. Each of those 6,618 votes was 38 times more important than Tilden's nationwide lead of 254,694.

The 1888 election was similar to 2000 in that one state decided the Presidency. Benjamin Harrison became President by carrying New York by 14,373 votes -- even though Grover Cleveland won the national popular vote by 89,293. Each of those 14,373 votes was 6 times more important than Cleveland's nationwide lead of 89,293.

In 1824, John Quincy Adams became President even though Andrew Jackson received the most popular votes nationwide and even the most electoral votes. Because Jackson did not receive an absolute majority of the electoral votes required by the Constitution, the presidential election was thrown into the U.S. House of Representatives. Under this special procedure, each state had one vote, and John Quincy Adams emerged as President.

National popular vote winner

Popular votes received by the national popular vote winner

5 times in which a U.S. president was elected, but lost the popular vote

While the votes are still being tabulated for the presidential election between Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that whoever is elected could lose the popular vote.

Since the Electoral College was established as the means of electing a president, it hasn’t been often when a president won the election without winning the popular vote.

Time will tell in the coming days whether it will be the case again this year between Biden and Trump.

However, it has happened these five times:

1824 -- John Quincy Adams

For those who think this era was immune to political controversy and accusations, think again.

This election had to be decided by a vote in the House of Representatives after none of the four candidates received a majority of the electoral votes required.

The candidates were Adams, Andrew Jackson, William Crawford and Henry Clay.

Only the top three were eligible for the vote, so Clay was eliminated from consideration.

But Clay also happened to be the Speaker of the House, which turned out to be important, according to

Despite the fact that Jackson had more electoral votes and won the popular vote, the House voted Adams as President.

After being sworn in, Adams appointed Clay as his Secretary of State.

Needless to say, Jackson was none too pleased, and accused Adams and Clay of corrupting the election.

1876 -- Rutherford B. Hayes

In a race between Hayes and Democratic opponent Samuel Tilden, the 184 electoral votes collected by Hayes was one short of the majority needed to win. Hayes had 165 votes, but 20 votes came into dispute by both parties.

As a result, a bi-partisan commission composed of congressional members and Supreme Court justices was formed, and the Commission agreed to give Hayes the remaining 20 votes in dispute, and thus, the election.

Some historians believe the decision to give Hayes the presidency came down after a deal was struck between the Democrats and Republicans, according to

It’s theorized that the deal was for Democrats to let Hayes win the election in return for Republicans pulling federal troops from the Confederate states.

1888 -- Benjamin Harrison

Incumbent Democratic president Grover Cleveland took on the Republican nominee in Harrison, and this election was marred with bribery accusations.

Both parties accused the other of paying citizens to vote for their candidate, according to

Cleveland ended up winning the popular vote by more than 90,000 votes, but Harrison won the electoral vote, 233-168.

The two ended up going against each other in the 1892 election, with Cleveland this time prevailing to become the only president to ever serve two non-consecutive terms.

2000 -- George W. Bush

On the night of the election, it became clear that whoever won the state of Florida would win the presidency in the race between Al Gore and Bush.

The problem was figuring out who won Florida.

After TV stations initially declared Bush the winner, hours later, they retracted because the voting proved too close to call.

Eventually, the courts decided the election.

The Florida Supreme Court reversed a decision by Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, declaring Bush the winner by 537 votes, agreeing with Gore’s premise that not all ballots had been counted.

Bush then pulled out his big trump card, appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court, which had a 5-4 Republican majority.

By that expected 5-4 margin, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the decision from Florida’s state court and called Bush the winner of Florida.

That gave Bush a 271-266 win in the electoral vote, even though Gore won the popular vote by roughly 500,000 more votes.

2016 -- Donald Trump

The polls seemed to favor Hillary Clinton before Election Day, and so did the popular vote, once the votes were cast, since Clinton had 2.8 more million votes than Trump at the time.

But the electoral vote was a completely different matter, with Trump earning 304 votes to Clinton’s 227.

About the Author:

Keith Dunlap

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

Presidents Winning Without Popular Vote

The 2016 election was the most recent when the candidate who received the greatest number of electoral votes, and thus won the presidency, didn’t win the popular vote. But this scenario has played out in our nation’s history 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.

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.

In 2016, Donald Trump won the electoral vote by 304 to 227 over Hillary Clinton, but Trump lost the popular vote. Clinton received nearly 2.9 million more votes than Trump, according to an analysis by the Associated Press of the certified results in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Update, Dec. 23, 2016: We have updated this article to include the results of the 2016 election.


Office of the Federal Register, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Web site, 2000 Presidential Election: Electoral Vote Totals, 12 March 2008

Office of the Federal Register, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Web site, 2000 Presidential Election: Popular Vote Totals, 12 March 2008

Office of the Federal Register, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration Web site, Historical Election Results: 1789-2004 Presidential Elections, 12 March 2008

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The popular vote loser has won the U.S. presidency five times

There are various proposals to modify the system for electing presidents, including some that would not require constitutional amendments, such as the “National Popular Vote” compact.

Fun facts about the Electoral College, especially if you are a Republican.

So far in U.S. history, there have been five elections in which the popular vote loser has won the presidency via the Electoral College, two of them very recently.

The first of the five, in 1824, occurred before the emergence of the national two-party system.

Since 1824, all four were Republicans

Since then, and since the emergence of the Republicans in 1856 as one of those two parties, in all four cases it was the Republican who gained the presidency while losing the national popular vote.

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1876: Democrat Samuel Tilden got 51 percent of the national popular vote, compared to 48 percent for Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. This one, involving enormous voter fraud and theft, had to be decided by a special commission and involved a secret deal in which Republicans agreed, in exchange for allowing Hayes to be inaugurated, to remove federal troops from the post-Civil War south, which allowed white southerners to establish the post-slavery, post-Reconstruction system of Jim Crow laws and traditions that perpetuated “ slavery by another name .”

1888: Incumbent President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, narrowly won the popular vote but narrowly lost the electoral vote to Republican Benjamin Harrison. That election is not as famous for corruption as some others, but at least one key state was almost certainly stolen by Republican fraud . Four years later, Cleveland, a famous reformer, became the only president to come back from a defeat to win a second term four years later.

2000: This is the famous Bush v. Gore election in which Republican George W. Bush lost the national popular vote but narrowly won the Electoral College over Democrat Al Gore. As you may recall, this one came down to Florida, where enormous problems and irregularities led to an endless recount supervised by a corrupt Republican secretary of state and was finally decided by the Supreme Court on a 5-4 vote with no Democratic appointee to the Supreme Court voting with the majority.

2016: And then, of course, 2016, when Republican nominee Donald John Trump was chosen by a 77-electoral vote margin, which he likes to refer to as a “landslide,” despite having lost the popular vote by a 48-46 percent margin. There were many irregularities, plus foreign interference in this election, but it’s so recent and so controversial I won’t go into further details.

Proposals for change

There are various proposals to modify the system for electing presidents, including some that would not require constitutional amendments, such as the “National Popular Vote” compact that would guarantee that the candidate receiving the most votes wins the election. Aside from the obvious benefit of having the president actually be the popular vote winner, this would have several other benefits for our system, such as removing the incentive for presidential campaigns to focus on a few swing states while virtually ignoring the majority of the country.

Obviously, given the history I’ve described above, there are partisan reasons for Democrats to favor a change in the Electoral College system and Republicans to oppose it. And that’s the case. But the fact that there are partisan reasons to be for or against it doesn’t remove the basic fact that the idea of “democracy” relies fairly heavily on the assumption that whoever gets the most votes wins the election.

Pew Research Center has asked the question several times of whether the Constitution should be amended to guarantee that the popular vote winner should be president. In the three most recent such polls, in 2018 Democrats were more favorable to such an amendment to elect the president by popular vote than Republicans by 74 percent to 27 percent. The partisan gap favoring such a change was 75-32 in 2019 and 81-32 this year. ( Results viewable here .)

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One can view that as predictable considering partisan advantage, but also shameful in terms of respecting the most fundamental principle of a democracy, that the person who gets the most votes should win the election.

Reasoning for resistance

When I discuss this with Republican friends, they generally defend the Electoral College system with arguments that (according to me) make no sense. For example, they say such a system would incentivize campaigns to focus on the big population states. True. But why is that any worse than having them focus on whichever states are considered “swing states”?

Why is it better, in recent history, to have Ohio and Florida pick our presidents for us, or, in 2020, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania? I’d be interested in hearing someone make that argument and hereby explicitly ask anyone who wants to explain that to do so in the comment section under this post.

And anyway, in the age of the internet, twitter and even just national TV audiences, campaign messages reach the whole country pretty efficiently.

To me, the obvious real reason is that Republicans understand that Democrats have won the plurality of the popular vote in four of the last six elections, but won the presidency in only two of those elections. And perhaps, if they are history buffs, they know that the record of popular vote losers winning the presidency via the Electoral College is Republican 4, Democrats 0.

If I told you an incumbent president had 52 percent approval on Election Day and ended up winning 10 million more votes than during his first election, would you predict victory? What if 56 percent of voters felt they were better off since the president had entered office? What if you knew that the incumbent had a nearly 30 percent enthusiasm edge over his opponent, or that when asked for whom they thought their neighbors were voting, nearly 10 percent more Americans expected the president to be re-elected than to lose?

With those numbers in mind, wouldn’t you feel pretty confident that the sitting president had, indeed, been re-elected? Alternatively, wouldn’t you consider it an amazing feat if, instead, the president’s challenger was victorious? The improbability of that result should be newsworthy all on its own.

Donald Trump has majority approval. Nearly six in 10 Americans feel better off today than when Barack Obama was in office, and 15 percent more voters pulled the lever for his re-election than in his 2016 victory. These are not the numbers of a losing candidate, yet we’re told Joe Biden managed to prevail.

The media and pollsters, of course, predicted a Biden landslide, not a very narrow squeaker in which Democrats lost in almost every other avenue of government. Considering the following five facts about the election, it’s no wonder Biden failed to achieve a landslide victory.

How Many Times Has A Candidate Won The Popular Vote, But Lost The Election?

( Five times in American electoral history has a presidential candidate taken more votes nationally than the winning candidate. For those who do not understand how the Electoral College works, it may seem like it doesn’t make much sense…but it does!

The Electoral College was established by the United States Constitution. It ensures that no presidential candidate can ignore smaller states that have different concerns and smaller populations than bigger states. In the instances where the candidate who received fewer votes nationally won the election, that candidate spent more time campaigning on issues that attracted more states rather than more votes.

The system, therefore, stops mob rule and represents more groups of people nationally than elections chosen by the popular vote.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five times in American history that this has happened!

In 1824, John Quincy Adams was the first person to win the presidency without the popular vote. Andrew Jackson won 152,901 popular votes and Quincy Adams won 114,023. Henry Clay took 47,217 votes, and William H. Crawford achieved 46,979.

The Electoral College, however, gave Jackson 99 votes and Adams 84 electoral votes – meaning neither had sufficient numbers (131 votes) to win. That meant the House of Representatives decided the president, as outlined in the 12 th Amendment. Adams won.

In one of the most hotly debated and contentious elections in American history, Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden took 4,288,546 votes in the presidential election, and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes won 4,034,311 votes.

Hayes initially won 165 Electoral College votes and Tilden won 184. 20 votes were in dispute, which resulted in the formation of the Electoral Commission in January of the following year. Following the “Compromise of 1877,” all 20 of the disputed votes were awarded to Hayes. The Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South in return for the votes.

Incumbent Democratic President Grover Cleveland lost the Electoral College vote to challenger Benjamin Harrison. Harrison won 233 electoral votes but Cleveland only won 168, despite the economy doing well and the country being at peace.

The main issue that Harrison campaigned on was tariff policy. He sided with factory workers and industrialists who wanted to keep the tariffs high to ensure their jobs weren’t at risk, and it won him the election. That’s how the electoral college ensures the working class are presented in the highest office in the land.

In 2000, Republican George W. Bush won the Electoral College vote while Democrat Al Gore won 0.5% more in the popular vote. Gore lost with 266 electoral college votes to Bush’s 271 votes.

Ultimately, Florida was the state that decided the election. Bush won the state with just 537 votes, pushing him over the edge and putting him in the White House.

It just goes to show that every vote really does count!

Even though the Electoral College has been in place for centuries, and trusted to ensure every voice in America is heard, many Democrats argued after the 2016 election that the system should be replaced because Hillary Clinton lost.

Donald Trump won the election, even though Hillary Clinton successfully mobilized the vote in left-wing cities in California and New York.

The anger likely comes from the fact that some polls gave Clinton a 99% chance of winning the election, but Donald Trump’s appeal to the working class of America won him the election.


WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — There’s been quite a bit of talk about how Donald Trump could again lose the popular vote but still capture the presidency through the Electoral College.

If it happened again, it would mark the sixth time in United States history. And President Trump would be the first person to do it twice.

Here’s a look at the five times it’s happened:

John Quincy Adams, 1824

While Andrew Jackson won both the popular vote and Electoral College, he did not capture a majority. At that period of time, such a scenario would send the election to the House of Representatives. Through some politicking, John Quincy Adams won the vote.

Jackson quit the Senate out of protest and ran for president again in 1828. He won that race.

American politician John Quincy Adams (1767 – 1848), circa 1840. (Photo by Henry Guttmann/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Rutherford Hayes, 1876

While Democrat Samuel Tilden beat Republican Rutherford Hayes by 200,000 votes, he was not able to get to the threshold needed to win the Electoral College. Because votes in some states were disputed, Congress established a commission to decide the election. Hayes was named the winner just three days before the inauguration.

Benjamin Harris, 1888

Though Grover Cleveland won the popular votes, he lost the electoral vote to Republican Benjamin Harrison.

Cleveland ran again and won the presidency in the next race.

(from Benjamin Harris Presidential Site)

George W. Bush, 2000

More than a century after the last instance, George W. Bush made history by winning the electoral vote and losing the popular vote by some 500,000 votes. After some back-and-forth over voting in Florida, Bush won the electoral vote 271 to 266.

President George W. Bush poses for photographers after addressing the nation on the military and political situation in Iraq from the White House September 13, 2007 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Aude Guerrucci-Pool/Getty Images)

Donald Trump, 2016

Although Trump lost the popular vote by 2.8 million ballots, he earned 304 electoral votes to defeat Hillary Clinton.

Trump lost the popular vote by the greatest margin of anyone elected to the presidency.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – DECEMBER 9: President-elect Donald Trump looks on during a rally at the DeltaPlex Arena, December 9, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. President-elect Donald Trump is continuing his victory tour across the country. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

3. Benjamin Harrison (1888)

The 1888 election between the president pursuing re-election, the Democrat Grover Cleveland, and the Republican Benjamin Harrison (grandson of President William Henry Harrison) was especially tense, with allegations from both parties that they were buying independent voters and also with efforts to suppress the vote of African Americans in southern states.

The country was thus divided into two blocks: the south voted for Cleveland and the north and west for Harrison, and although the incumbent president won more popular votes, 90,500 more than Harrison, barely a 0.8% difference, he lost the Electoral College, where the Democrat got just 168 votes against the Republican's 233.

But Cleveland got his revenge. Four years later, in 1892, he ran again and this time defeated Harrison, making Cleveland the only president in US history to govern for two non-consecutive periods.

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