How Many Times Has A Candidate Won The Popular Vote, But Lost The Election?

( Five times in American electoral history has a presidential candidate taken more votes nationally than the winning candidate. For those who do not understand how the Electoral College works, it may seem like it doesn’t make much sense…but it does!

The Electoral College was established by the United States Constitution. It ensures that no presidential candidate can ignore smaller states that have different concerns and smaller populations than bigger states. In the instances where the candidate who received fewer votes nationally won the election, that candidate spent more time campaigning on issues that attracted more states rather than more votes.

The system, therefore, stops mob rule and represents more groups of people nationally than elections chosen by the popular vote.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the five times in American history that this has happened!

1. 1824, John Quincy Adams Wins

In 1824, John Quincy Adams was the first person to win the presidency without the popular vote. Andrew Jackson won 152,901 popular votes and Quincy Adams won 114,023. Henry Clay took 47,217 votes, and William H. Crawford achieved 46,979.

The Electoral College, however, gave Jackson 99 votes and Adams 84 electoral votes – meaning neither had sufficient numbers (131 votes) to win. That meant the House of Representatives decided the president, as outlined in the 12th Amendment. Adams won.

2. 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes Wins

In one of the most hotly debated and contentious elections in American history, Democratic candidate Samuel Tilden took 4,288,546 votes in the presidential election, and Republican Rutherford B. Hayes won 4,034,311 votes.

Hayes initially won 165 Electoral College votes and Tilden won 184. 20 votes were in dispute, which resulted in the formation of the Electoral Commission in January of the following year. Following the “Compromise of 1877,” all 20 of the disputed votes were awarded to Hayes. The Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South in return for the votes.

3. 1888, Benjamin Harrison Wins

Incumbent Democratic President Grover Cleveland lost the Electoral College vote to challenger Benjamin Harrison. Harrison won 233 electoral votes but Cleveland only won 168, despite the economy doing well and the country being at peace.

The main issue that Harrison campaigned on was tariff policy. He sided with factory workers and industrialists who wanted to keep the tariffs high to ensure their jobs weren’t at risk, and it won him the election. That’s how the electoral college ensures the working class are presented in the highest office in the land.

4. 2000, George W. Bush Wins

In 2000, Republican George W. Bush won the Electoral College vote while Democrat Al Gore won 0.5% more in the popular vote. Gore lost with 266 electoral college votes to Bush’s 271 votes.

Ultimately, Florida was the state that decided the election. Bush won the state with just 537 votes, pushing him over the edge and putting him in the White House.

It just goes to show that every vote really does count!

5. 2016, Donald Trump Wins

Even though the Electoral College has been in place for centuries, and trusted to ensure every voice in America is heard, many Democrats argued after the 2016 election that the system should be replaced because Hillary Clinton lost.

Donald Trump won the election, even though Hillary Clinton successfully mobilized the vote in left-wing cities in California and New York.

The anger likely comes from the fact that some polls gave Clinton a 99% chance of winning the election, but Donald Trump’s appeal to the working class of America won him the election.