History Of Contested U.S. Elections

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The 2020 race is shaping up to be a controversial election, including President Trump’s campaign demanding a recount in Wisconsin, but it’s hardly the first time in U.S. history that an election’s outcome was contested. The Onion looks back at a history of contested elections in the U.S.

  • 1800: Many people think America always had a functional democracy, but the system actually broke after just two tries.
  • 1820: Election of James Monroe thrown into turmoil when voters realized they’d been thinking of James Madison the whole time.
  • 1824: John Quincy Adams accused of corruption for appointing rival Henry Clay to secretary of state in exchange for his support, a move that still serves as the basis for most Cabinet picks.
  • 1876: Republican Rutherford B. Hayes ultimately declared victor after agreeing to adopt Democratic Party’s platform of not giving a shit about Black people.
  • 1888: Grover Cleveland receives majority of America’s votes and loses because sometimes democracy is funny that way.
  • 1960: Richard Nixon believes John F. Kennedy stole the election from him but opted to concede for the good of the country, a thing people did back then.
  • 1984: This one was pretty uneventful, actually. Our bad.
  • 2000: Supreme Court grants its 29 electoral votes to George W. Bush.
  • 2016: No idea, man, it was a long time ago.