15 October 2008

It Was 1960

The electoral map from yesterday's "Which Election Was It?" post is from the election of 1960 in which Sen. John Kennedy (Democrat-MA) took on the sitting two-term Republican Vice-President Richard Nixon.

Kennedy argued that under Eisenhower and the Republicans, America was falling behind the Soviet Union in the Cold War, both militarily and economically, and that as President he would "get America moving again." Nixon called Kennedy young and inexperienced and then touted the "peace and prosperity" Eisenhower had brought the nation.

Kennedy won a paper-thin popular vote plurality (112,827 votes more than Nixon) and a rather wobbly Electoral College victory. He won 20 states worth 297 electoral votes. Although the Democrats won the state of Mississippi, all 8 of the state's electors cast ballots for segregationist Harry Byrd when they met in December (even though Byrd's name didn't appear on a ballot). Six of Alabama's 11 Democratic electors joined Mississippi, as did one of Oklahoma's Republicans.

In the end Kennedy received 303 electoral votes, Nixon received 219, and Byrd tallied 15.