The Electoral Process
- Selecting a president & electoral college
- The evolution of the nomination process
- The modern nomination process
- The general election & electoral college
- Electoral college debate
Top Political Parties
The above parties, which are listed in alphabetical order, are the four parties that received over 250,000 votes in the 2020 presidential election.
Presidential Election History
Did You Know?
- Every U.S. President since 1852 has been either a Republican or a Democrat.
- Incumbents have run in 33 of the 59 presidential elections in U.S. history through 2020. The incumbents have won 21 times and lost 11 times.
- The 2024 election is only the third time in history a Vice President has run against the President with whom he served (in this case, Vice President Mike Pence against President Donald Trump). Vice President Thomas Jefferson ran and won against President John Adams in 1800¸ and Vice President John Nance Garner ran against and lost to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940 (though for much of Garner’s campaign, Roosevelt was not an active candidate; FDR put in his bid for the Democratic nomination late).
- The Constitution did not originally contain presidential term limits. The 22nd Amendment, ratified in 1951, restricted presidents to a maximum of two terms. Four-time president Franklin D. Roosevelt (1932, 1936, 1940, 1944) was the only candidate to be elected more than twice.
- Presidential elections take place on Election Day – the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. However, the President does not take office until noon on January 20 of the following year.
- Eight U.S. Presidents have died while in office. Four were assassinated (Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy) and four died of natural causes (William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren G. Harding, and Franklin D. Roosevelt).
- Of the 45 presidents, 32 have had college degrees and 13 have not. Eight presidents did not attend college; five attended college but did not earn a degree; 21 graduated college with undergraduate degrees only; and 11 earned graduate degrees.
- A presidential candidate has won the election despite losing the popular vote five times in U.S. history: 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016. In 1824, John Quincy Adams lost both the popular and the electoral vote, but the House of Representatives decided the outcome of the election because his opponent failed to secure a majority of electoral votes.
- Gerald Ford was the only person to serve as both President and Vice President without being elected to either office.
- There have been 538 electoral votes in each presidential election since 1960. A candidate must win a majority of those votes (270) to win the election.
- Democrats first used the donkey as a party symbol when Andrew Jackson ran for president in 1828. Thomas Nast, a famous political cartoonist, later popularized the symbol in an 1870 Harper’s Weekly political cartoon featuring the Democratic donkey kicking an elephant, which became the symbol of the Republican Party. Before the 2012 election campaign began, the Democratic Party released a new symbol – a blue “D” inside a circle.
- The Republican Party is known as the “GOP,” which stands for “Grand Old Party”; but in 1875, when the term was first used, GOP referenced “Gallant Old Party.”
- Throughout U.S. history many political parties have come and gone, including the Federalist Party and the Whig Party. In 1912 President Theodore Roosevelt left the Republican Party, formed the Progressive Party (Bull Moose Party), ran as a Progressive, and lost.
- The 2012 presidential election was the first election in U.S. history in which neither of the Democratic and Republican nominees, or their vice presidential candidates, were white Protestants.
- The first presidential election took place in 1789. There have been 59 presidential elections and 46 presidents in U.S. history.
- In the election of 1800, Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr both received 73 electoral votes. Since neither candidate had a majority, the election was turned over to the House of Representatives. Alexander Hamilton intervened in support of Jefferson to break a deadlock vote in the House. This action contributed to the famous duel between Burr and Hamilton that took place four years later, in which Hamilton was killed.
- The shortest presidency in the history of the office was served by William Henry Harrison, who died on Apr. 4, 1841, just 31 days into his term.
- Grover Cleveland was elected as the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, making him the only President to serve two nonconsecutive terms.
- Four re-elected incumbents served their first terms without being elected because their predecessors died in office (Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman, and Lyndon Johnson).
- 14 Vice Presidents have become President; 5 were elected, and 8 succeeded Presidents who died in office. Gerald Ford, who became president when Nixon resigned, was the only person to serve as both President and Vice President without being elected to either office. (He became Vice President in 1973 when then Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned after corruption charges from the U.S. Justice Department. Ford then became President after President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 as a result of the Watergate Scandal.)
- The House of Representatives has impeached 20 people since 1797: one senator, one associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 14 federal judges, one Secretary of War, and Presidents Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump (who was impeached twice). Eight of those 20 were removed from office following a Senate trial, eight were acquitted (Trump was acquitted twice), three resigned before or during the trial, and one had charges dismissed.