Tuesday, November 8, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 2123

ELECTIONS OF 1960 & 2016:  

Washington, D.C.  (JFK+50) Today, November 8, 2016, voters go to the polls to cast their ballots for their choice for the 45th President of the United States. Fifty-six years ago today, November 8, 1960, voters did the same for the 35th President of the United States.  Both elections are historic.  Let's compare them.

In 1960, the incumbent POTUS, Dwight D. Eisenhower, was completing his second term and was ineligible for re-election.  In 2016, the incumbent POTUS, Barack H. Obama, is completing his second term and is ineligible for re-election.

1960 saw the election of the youngest-elected president in history, John F. Kennedy, at age 43.*  2016 could see the election of the first woman president in history, Hillary R. Clinton.  If Secretary Clinton is elected, however, she would continue Democratic control of the Executive Branch for a third term, while JFK's election in 1960 changed control from the Republicans to the Democrats.

The Election of 1960 was the closest presidential contest of the 20th century. We shall have to wait until tonight or perhaps even into tomorrow morning to find out if the Election of 2016 will also be close.

In 1960, third party candidate Harry F. Byrd, a segregationist senator from Virginia,  won 15 electoral votes.  Although there are third and fourth party candidates in 2016, it is not expected that either will win any electoral votes.  

The two major party nominees of 1960 represented two different coasts of the United States.  Vice-President Nixon of California watched returns from his suite at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles while Senator Kennedy of Massachusetts watched them from the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port. 

The two major party nominees of 2016 represent not only the same coast but also the same state.  Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton are both New Yorkers.

As far as the electoral maps, the two elections are likely to have some different outcomes.  In 1960, the Republicans carried California, Oregon & Washington. In 2016, those three Western states will go to the Democrats.  In 1960, the Democrats won Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and South Carolina.  Those Southern states will switch to the Republicans in 2016.

The state of Ohio has chosen the winner in every presidential election since 1964, but in 1960 it went to the loser, Richard Nixon.  If pre-election polls are correct, Mr. Trump will win Ohio but lose the election.  That, of course, remains to be seen.

*John F. Kennedy, although the youngest elected POTUS, is not the youngest.  That distinction belongs to Theodore Roosevelt who was 42 years old when he assumed the presidency on the death of President William McKinley."