Electoral College landslide or squeaker?

 James Monroe and George Washington could claim a landslide.
James Monroe and George Washington could claim a landslide.
StudyHall.Rocks illustration from presidential portraits.
In Donald Trump’s way of thinking, his Electoral College victory was a “landslide.”

    For some time, the presumptive president elect has characterized his Electoral College win as overwhelming. On Fox News Sunday, he put it this way: "We had a massive landslide victory, as you know, in the Electoral College. I guess the final numbers are now at 306." 
    Trump, who lost the popular vote to Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton, won enough states to get 306 electoral votes or roughly 56 percent of the Electoral College. (The Electoral College hasn’t yet voted. That will happen Dec. 19.)
    But in a comparison of past elections, the results show Trump on the lower end among Electoral College finishers. In 45 our of 58 Electoral College results, the victorious candidate won a higher percentage of electoral votes than Trump did, according to John J. Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College and co-author of After Hope and Change: The 2012 Elections and American Politics (Rowman and Littlefield; 2013).  
    To understand a true Electoral College landslide, we used Pitney's list, along with  The Complete Book of Presidents, by William A. DeGregorio and Sandra Lee Stuart, (Barricade Books; 2013). Here are 10 Electoral College victories in which presidents won more than 90 percent of the Electoral College vote:
  • George Washington: 100 percent in 1789.  
  • George Washington: 100 percent in and 1792. 
  • James Monroe: 99 percent in 1820. 
  • Franklin Roosevelt: 98 percent in 1936. 
  • Ronald Reagan: 97 percent in 1984. 
  • Richard Nixon: 96 percent in 1972. 
  • Thomas Jefferson: 92 percent in 1804. 
  • Abraham Lincoln: 90.99 percent in 1864. 
  • Ronald Reagan: 90.89 percent in 1980. 
  • Lyndon Johnson: 90.33 percent in 1964. 


    Hamilton essay: What it takes to be president

    The role of the Electoral College

    Why was inauguration day changed?

    Counting heads: An election lexicon  

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