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OPINION
November 12, 2012
By a fairly solid margin, Tuesday's presidential election spared Americans the hand-wringing that would have accompanied a split decision like that of 2000. George W. Bush, of course, won the electoral college that year but fell just short in the popular vote. This year, Barack Obama cruised to victory in the electoral college and won the electorate by about 3 million votes. When a presidential candidate wins the electoral college but loses the popular vote - as Bush, Benjamin Harrison and Rutherford B. Hayes did - it does not diminish the legitimacy of the election.
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NEWS
September 25, 2013 | By Doyle McManus
Does Hillary Clinton -- or any Democratic candidate -- really face an uphill battle in the presidential election of 2016? In my Wednesday column , I noted that in the six most recent presidential elections with no incumbent in the race, if one party has been in the White House for eight years, it almost always loses. Examples include the Republican loss in 2008 after eight years of George W. Bush and the Democratic loss of 2000 after eight years of Bill Clinton. Political scientist Larry Bartels of Vanderbilt University calls this phenomenon “incumbent party fatigue.” In his statistical model for presidential elections, he calculates that the incumbent party loses almost 1 percentage point of the popular vote for every additional year it holds the White House.
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OPINION
May 1, 2011
What do presidents Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford B. Hayes and George W. Bush have in common? All were elected president even though their opponents received more votes. Each of those campaigns was thus a spectacular controversy, and after more than a century of such sporadic but unsettling political results, at last there is a real chance for change. Bush's victory in 2000 over Al Gore is obviously the freshest and rawest of these electoral aberrations, which grow out of the nation's unusual presidential selection process.
OPINION
June 29, 2013
Re "Prop. 8 deserved a defense," Opinion, June 28 Those who would defend Proposition 8 in the U.S. Supreme Court - whether special attorneys appointed by the state, the California attorney general or those who sponsored the initiative itself - have no standing, as I see it. Proposition 8 provided for a ban on same-sex marriage. None of its defenders was able to demonstrate just how same-sex marriage hurts them. The best they could do was "you can't redefine marriage. " If proponents of Proposition 8 disapprove of same-sex marriage for what they deem religious or moral reasons, they can vow to marry a person of the opposite sex and urge others to do the same.
OPINION
November 13, 2012
Re “ President, by popular vote ,” Editorial, Nov. 12 Your editorial argues for a national popular vote system as a democratic reform. However, this would actually undermine rather than enhance the perceived legitimacy of whoever won a close election. There would always be plausible claims that close races were stolen because fraud or cheating anywhere could swing such an election. Imagine the Bush-Gore controversy in Florida, played out nationwide. A national popular vote is really about expanding the Democratic Party's power, not reform.
NEWS
December 15, 2012 | By David Lauter
More than five weeks after election day, almost all the presidential votes have been counted. Here's what the near-final tally reveals: The election really wasn't close. On election night, President Obama's victory margin seemed fairly narrow - just slightly more than 2 percentage points. White House aides anxiously waited to see if Obama would surpass the 2.46-percentage-point margin by which President George W. Bush defeated Sen. John F. Kerry in 2004. They needn't have worried.
OPINION
July 16, 2011
Though it is rare, the occasional American presidential election goes to the loser of the popular vote, an outcome that undermines basic notions of fairness and democracy and is an artifact of the nation's ancient electoral system. Advocates of a popular vote system have persuaded both houses of the California Legislature to adopt a measure that would lend California's support to that idea. Gov. Jerry Brown should sign it. In drafting the U.S. Constitution, the framers created a two-tiered system for electing presidents.
NATIONAL
August 22, 2007 | Dan Morain, Times Staff Writer
Democrats on Tuesday proposed putting on a 2008 ballot an initiative aimed at having California join the movement to elect presidents by popular vote. The initiative, if successful, also would head off a Republican effort to get some of California's electoral votes. GOP consultants have proposed a separate initiative to change California's winner-take-all system of awarding its 55 electoral votes.
OPINION
December 19, 2002
I can't believe that Al Gore has decided not to take on George W. Bush again in 2004 (Dec. 16). If history repeats itself, he definitely has a chance. In 1888, Democrat Grover Cleveland won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote to Republican Benjamin Harrison. Four years later, Cleveland reclaimed the White House after winning the election over Harrison and Populist Party candidate James B. Weaver. If it could happen then, it should have a chance of happening in 2004. If history has no chance of repeating itself, much of the blame lies with members of the media who have labeled Gore a loser, despite the fact that he won the popular vote in 2000.
NEWS
November 3, 2000 | RONALD BROWNSTEIN, TIMES POLITICAL WRITER
Diverging trends in national and state polls are adding another level of uncertainty to the closest presidential race in decades--and inspiring speculation that Al Gore might lose the popular vote yet still win an electoral college majority that places him in the White House. Over the last several days, national polls have largely converged, providing Republican George W. Bush a small but steady lead of 1 to 5 percentage points.
NEWS
January 30, 2013 | By Michael McGough
Republicans in the Virginia Legislature have failed in their audacious attempt to change the allocation of the state's 13 electoral votes from winner-take-all to a system in which the votes would be based on the outcome in congressional districts. Had the change been in effect in November, President Obama, who won 51.1% of the popular vote in Virginia, would have received only four electoral votes while Mitt Romney would have been awarded nine. That fuzzy math would have been made possible by the magic of gerrymandering.
NATIONAL
January 26, 2013 | By Paul West, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - A concerted Republican effort to alter the balance of power in presidential elections by changing the rules for the electoral college is facing significant hurdles - including from some GOP officials in the affected states. All but two states currently award electoral votes under a winner-take-all system. Plans to replace that with a proportional system are under consideration in half a dozen states, including Pennsylvania, Virginia and Michigan. All were presidential battlegrounds that President Obama carried last fall.
NEWS
January 23, 2013 | By Brian Bennett
WASHINGTON - A significant number of Latino voters could be convinced to vote for Republican candidates if the GOP changed its tack on immigration, according to an analysis of election results and polling data by a Seattle-based polling firm that extensively surveys Latino voters. “Immigration is causing Republicans to leave votes on the table,” said Stanford University professor Gary Segura, one of the principals of the Latino Decisions polling firm, speaking with reporters by telephone Wednesday.
OPINION
January 22, 2013
Re "Second time is historic in its own right," Column, Jan. 20 Since it has been 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation and nearly 50 years since the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we are painfully reminded of the reality of Sandy Banks' observation "that we can't undo the damage of generations of injustice simply by passing a law. " But each of us, while realizing it is not easy, can contribute to progress by accepting and...
OPINION
December 23, 2012
Re "Obama officially wins in electoral vote landslide," Dec. 18 The article notes that many lawmakers complain that the present winner-take-all allocation of electoral votes is less reflective of the popular will than allocation by congressional district. The obvious question: Why use congressional districts rather than the national vote tally? The answer is probably quite simple: Republicans, who lost a few seats, will still easily retain control of the House, although President Obama won both the national popular vote and the electoral vote.
NATIONAL
December 17, 2012 | By Michael A. Memoli, Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - In the end, it wasn't close. Despite predictions that the presidential election could end in an electoral vote tie, or that the winner of the popular vote could again be denied the White House by the electoral college, President Obama won his anticipated 126-vote landslide Monday as the 538 electors officially voted in statehouses. Twelve years after Al Gore's defeat prompted some Democrats to call for a fix to the constitutionally prescribed method of choosing the president, Republicans are now mounting efforts in key states to end the winner-take-all method that most states employ.
NEWS
March 16, 1988 | DOUGLAS JEHL, Times Staff Writer
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, the second-place finisher in the Illinois primary, sought to draw attention Tuesday to his new lead among Democratic presidential contenders in popular votes cast so far in the primary season. But it was also apparent that the loss to Illinois Sen. Paul Simon here was not in line with his other finishes in the sense that it was more of a setback than a boost.
NEWS
December 15, 2012 | By David Lauter
More than five weeks after election day, almost all the presidential votes have been counted. Here's what the near-final tally reveals: The election really wasn't close. On election night, President Obama's victory margin seemed fairly narrow - just slightly more than 2 percentage points. White House aides anxiously waited to see if Obama would surpass the 2.46-percentage-point margin by which President George W. Bush defeated Sen. John F. Kerry in 2004. They needn't have worried.
NEWS
December 2, 2012 | By Mark Z. Barabak
For most Americans, interest in the results of the 2012 presidential campaign ended somewhere around the first election night projections for President Obama and the brief, stunned concession speech delivered by a gobsmacked Mitt Romney. But for a small group of obsessives, the political equivalent of those who devour box scores for breakfast, a fascinating and welcome service has come from David Wasserman, a youthful and whip-smart campaign analyst with the Cook Political Report, who has become a one-man clearinghouse for presidential tabulations across the country.
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