In America’s winner-take-all system, it’s easy to feel like your vote doesn’t matter, especially in deep red and deep blue states. However, these 14 elections show what a difference voting can make.
1: JFK vs Richard Nixon
In 1960, John F. Kennedy Jr. ran against Richard Nixon in an exceptionally tight race. Ultimately, Kennedy won the popular vote by less than 120,000, a small fraction of the over 68 million votes cast.
2: Bush vs Gore
The 2000 Bush vs. Gore election is the closest we’ve seen in the last few decades. Bush won by only 537 votes in the official tally after multiple Florida recounts.
3: Morton vs Everett
You might have missed this one in history class, but it certainly illustrates the importance of casting your ballot. In 1839, Marcus Morton beat out Edward Everett for governor of Massachusetts by a single vote.
4: Johnson vs Stevenson
Before becoming president, Lyndon B. Johnson won the 1948 Texas Democratic Senate seat over Governor Coke Stevenson by only 87 votes. The race was so close that many accused Johnson of ballot fraud.
5: Hayes vs Tilden
In one of our nation’s most contested elections, Rutherford B. Hayes beat Samuel Tildon for the presidency by one electoral college vote. The election took until March 2nd to decide after the Speaker of the House forced a completion of the vote count.
6: Wyman vs Durkin
The closest senate race of all time goes to the 1974 race between Louis Wyman and John Durkin. Duking it out for the New Hampshire seat, Durkin won by only two votes after eight months of recounts.
7: McCloskey vs McIntyre
Congress has seen a few close races, too. In 1984, Frank McCloskey beat Rick McIntyre in Indiana’s 8th Congressional District by only four votes.
8: Gregoire vs Rossi
In Washington State’s 2004 gubernatorial race, Christine Gregoire defeated Dino Rossi by a mere 133 votes. The election required a machine recount and then a manual recount before the tally was accepted.
9: Adams vs Jackson
In 1824, John Quincy Adams defeated Andrew Jackson and became our 6th president, but the election was remarkably close. Ultimately, the House of Representatives made the final decision, giving the win to Adams by one vote.
10: Kelly vs Kassel
2008 saw a tight race between Republican Mike Kelly and Democrat Karl Kassel for a seat in the Alaska House. After a recount, Kelly won by only a single vote.
11: Romney vs Santorum
The 2012 Iowa Republican caucus created quite a stir for candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. The initial count handed the race to Romney by only eight votes, but a recount put Santorum ahead by 34. Santorum later suspended his campaign, and we may never know who truly won.
12: Garfield vs Hancock
Garfield didn’t plan on running in the 1880 presidential election, but people kept writing his name in. Without his name officially on the ballot, he won the Republican nomination and later the presidency.
13: Jefferson vs Burr
In our nation’s earliest days, elections were a little bumpy, partly because the Presidential candidate did not choose his VP. The election of 1800 saw Thomas Jefferson running against his own vice president, Aaron Burr. The two men ended up in a dead tie, forcing the House of Representatives to step in and choose Jefferson.
14: Cleveland vs Blain
President Grover Cleveland needed New York’s electoral votes to win the White House in the 1884 election against John Blain. Winning New York was a close call, though. Cleveland only managed it by a slim 1,149 votes.
2024, Another Close Call
Much like some of the other elections on this list, the 2024 race is shaping up to be a close one. Should it come down to President Biden and former President Trump, polls suggest we may be in for another race where every vote counts.
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Taking Money Out of Politics
Senator Josh Hawley recently introduced legislation to reverse the controversial Citizens United decision and stop corporate campaign funding. While many Americans agree that money is the root of evil when it comes to politics, few are convinced that we could really separate them.
15 Most Purple Major US Cities
It’s pretty clear which US cities, and even states, lean Republican or Democrat. But some cities have a healthy balance of both in their population. Americans took to the internet to share the most “purple” major US cities.
Could Trump Have Won Pre-2016?
Given Trump’s incessant popularity, many are wondering whether Trump could have won the presidency before 2016. Was there something special about that year? Or could we have had President Trump sooner?
Voters Predict Who Would Run if Biden Wasn’t
President Biden is the likely Democratic nominee for the 2024 election, but what if he wasn’t? Here’s who Americans think would run for president if Biden wasn’t.