According to CNN, the final result of the vote in the U.S. electoral college on the 14th local time was that Biden received 306 votes and Trump received 232 votes. According to the United States Constitution and constitutional amendments, presidential candidates can be elected with more than half of the electoral votes, or 270 votes.
It is an unwritten tradition for the U.S. presidential election to admit defeat and congratulate your opponents. Trump has become a traditional saboteur again.
Before the results of the Electoral College vote came out, a reporter asked him whether he would leave the White House if Biden won. Trump responded in the affirmative, but said that he still did not admit defeat because of the “fraud” in this election.
His refusal to admit defeat made the discussion around the presidential election unexpectedly develop a branch – how to admit defeat gracefully. Those presidential candidates who failed in the final confrontation, regarded as Trump’s example, have returned to the public eye again.
Who have been running for the presidency since the 20th century?
From 1900 to now, the United States has held 31 presidential elections at a frequency every four years. If you count only the contenders of the two major parties, including Trump and Biden, there are 28 losers and 20 winners. There are many recurring names in this list, some of whom have rotated roles.
Only four people chose to run again after losing the election. William Jennings Bryan is the most courageous one. Although he only appeared twice in the list above, he also participated in the final match as the Democratic presidential candidate in 1896, but failed.
Since the 20th century, only Nixon has been the only one who has run for election again and won after losing the election. He not only turned defeat into victory, but also won re-election, but his second term was not satisfactory: because of the exposure of the “Watergate incident”, he voluntarily resigned, thus becoming the only president in American history to resign and step down during his term. Gerald Ford, who was vice president, succeeded Nixon. After his term, he expected to continue to serve as president through elections, but unfortunately failed.
In addition to Nixon and Ford, five other losers have served as president – Taft, Hoover, Carter, Bush Sr. and Trump, but they all failed in seeking re-election.
The cruelty of luck can be clearly perceived from the comparison of the number of people on both sides of victory or defeat. The number of people who restart the challenge after failure is not equal to those who have won a double streak, and those who have only participated in the competition once are the candidates who dominate.
The reason why most candidates only participate in one election is first related to the competition mechanism of the presidential election. The prerequisite for entering the final competition is to win the party’s primary election, and winning this step is not easy. For example, George McGovern, a Democratic candidate for the 1972 presidential election, intended to run again in 1984, but lost in the party’s primary election. Gerald Ford also failed in 1980 when he tried to run for the Republican presidential nomination.
Age is another obstacle. Elections not only test seniority and mental strength, but also test physical strength. All the defeated candidates are over 40 years old, more than three-quarters of them over 50, and a quarter of them are over 60 years old. For many old candidates, it is obvious that the time cost of waiting four years (or more) to fight after failure is obviously too high.
I have to admit that failure is really uncomfortable. This is especially true for these individuals who have long been high in power and are used to winning. All the defeated candidates except Wendell Wilkie have held important elected or senior appointment positions.
The pain of losing the election will last for a long time. George McGovern suffered a disastrous defeat in 1972 against Nixon, and Nixon won the electoral votes of all states except Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. McGovern and his wife once wanted to leave the sad place of the United States and move to England. More than ten years later—when he was back in American politics—he was asked how long it took him to recover from defeat, and his response was: “When I get there, I will tell you.”
After losing the 2008 election, John McCain flirted with sleeping like a baby.” Sleep for two hours, wake up, cry,” he said, adding: “Sleep for two hours, wake up, cry.”
McGovern also learned this trick a year after losing the election. When talking about that election, he laughed at himself: “For many years, I have been trying to run for president in the worst way – I did last year.”
After losing the election, what did they mainly do?
Losing the election can indeed be regarded as the end of a political career.
Statistics on the main causes that candidates have devoted themselves to after losing the election, it can be found that not more than half of them continue to hold public office. Some candidates have publicly said that they will not run for public office in the future, and even declined the appointment of senior positions. But it is difficult for almost everyone to get out of touch with “politics”.
After losing to Trump, Hillary also said that she did not intend to seek public office again, and then launched the political group Forwards Together on Twitter, which is dedicated to “promoting the progressive vision of winning 66 million votes in the last election”. .
When major social events occur, these losers will still play the role of opinion leaders, speak out to the public, and use their influence to promote the development of events. After losing the election, Bush Sr. lived a living a simple retirement life and rarely appeared in public. After the tsunami in Indonesia and Hurricane Katrina, he appeared in a TV commercial with his former competitor Bill Clinton, calling for assistance to victims.
Those life experiences that are decoupled from political power are also quite interesting.
Although Bob Dole lost the 1996 election, his sense of humor in the election brought him many new opportunities. He became a popular political star and was invited to shoot many commercials. In a Pepsi commercial, he appeared with singer Britney Spears.
Barry Goldwater has a strong interest in UFOs while seriously developing his photography hobby. He believes in the existence of aliens and has repeatedly asked his friend Curtis Limé, a former chief of staff of the United States Air Force, whether there are hidden UFOs at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Secret.
At that time, there was a popular rumor that the air force base contained flying saucer wreckage and alien bodies. Goldwater was curious about this and also told Curtis Limé that he hoped that he would be allowed to enter the relevant warehouse to check. Curtis Limé was finally annoyed and responded rudely: “Not only can you not go in, but don’t mention it to me again!”
Jimmy Carter, who lost re-election, and Al Gore, who almost became president, devoted their energy to human rights and environmental issues respectively, and later won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Losing the election is undoubtedly a life regret, but it has not been seen much worse.
What do people think of this group of “losers”?
Gallup, a famous American polling agency, has compared the changes in people’s favorable opinion of the defeated candidate before and after the election. Although only the 1992 election and subsequent losers are concerned (Kerry’s data is missing), we can still find something in common: almost everyone’s goodwill has increased in the hearts of the public.
Almost everyone, except Hillary. But this may not represent any substantive issues. The public or history books have always fluctuated their evaluation of celebrities.
For example, Hoover, who was tied to the “Great Depression”, and Nixon, who was blamed by the “Watergate Incident”, did not make life dull because of the failure of his political career.
In fact, by 1940, Hoover’s reputation within the Republican Party had gradually recovered, and he was even listed as one of the party candidates in that election. After World War II, he was appointed by then President Truman to visit West Germany and promoted the Hoover Diet plan, providing food supplies to 3.5 million German children.
After 1975, Nixon gradually returned to the public eye. He began to write Nixon’s Memoirs, participated in the interview program of David Frost, a famous British current affairs program, and set an audience rating record. He was also invited by Mao Zedong to visit China again.
He gave a speech on the Watergate incident at the Oxford Debate: “Some people say that I mishandled this matter, and they are right. I screwed it up. This is my ‘mistake’. But my tenure of merits and demerits, when you must still be alive in 2000, you will know what people think of my merits and demerits.
Although Nixon’s comments are still mixed, the perspective of time he talks about provides a feasible way to talk about the “how elegantly admit defeat” at the beginning of the article: expanding our vision to a broader timeline may be more calm to accept failure.