Posted BY: Harold Lowery

Credible allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election have resulted in profound misgivings among Americans. Many conservatives have become disillusioned with the Republican party, especially at the national level where the gap between rhetoric and results has grown enormously. However, the nation has experienced similar circumstances in the past. What lessons can we draw from the history of previous elections?

The 1960 election was a pivotal point in American politics. Given that only one in five current Americans were alive then, as well as the continuing decline in proficiency in history and civics, let us consider how this contest compares to our most recent presidential election.

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In 1960 the Republican candidate was the sitting vice president, Richard Nixon, serving in the Eisenhower administration. The Democrats’ candidate was John F. Kennedy, the senator from Massachusetts. In terms of the popular vote, this is considered the second-closest presidential election in the nation’s history. Kennedy won 49.72% of the votes cast versus the 49.55% won by Nixon. The presidency is determined, of course, not by the popular vote but rather by the votes cast in the electoral college. Per the Constitution of the United States, each state is allotted electors equal to the number of its members in the House of Representatives plus its two senators. Thus, the state of Georgia, for example, with its fourteen representatives plus two senators, currently has a total of sixteen electors. The larger a state’s population the more representatives it has, such that California has 55 electors while several states have only three. These numbers can vary over time as a state gains or lose representatives due to changes in population.

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