The Controversial 1960 Presidential Election: Popular Vote vs. Electoral College

TLDR The 1960 presidential election saw a discrepancy between the popular vote and the Electoral College, with the candidate who received the most popular votes losing. Alabama's unique system and the split among Democratic electors played a significant role in this outcome, potentially altering the national popular vote in favor of Nixon.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 The 1960 presidential election is argued to be a sixth election where the winner of the popular vote did not win in the Electoral College.
01:32 The 1960 election outcome would not have been changed by the discussion in this episode, which focuses on the popular vote vs. the Electoral College.
02:57 The 1960 election is unique because it was decided by the House of Representatives, and it is one of five elections in which the candidate who received the most popular votes lost in the Electoral College.
04:44 In the 1960 election, Alabama had a different system where unpledged delegates were able to swing the election and get concessions for their support, and in Louisiana and Mississippi, the unpledged delegates were separate from the Democrat and Republican delegates.
06:13 In Alabama, the 1960 election was complicated because voters had to individually vote for electors, and the Democratic electors were split between unpledged segregationists and loyalists who would vote for Kennedy.
07:43 The top unpledged delegate in Alabama received more votes than Kennedy, creating a paradoxical result in the popular vote, which could have resulted in Nixon winning if Alabama had separate electors.
09:14 Adjusting the Alabama popular vote to reflect the way the electors actually voted and popular preference would result in Nixon winning the national popular vote by about 60,000 votes, which was the actual result reported by many news sources after the 1960 election.
Categories: History Education

Browse more History