This US President Had the Biggest Electoral College Win Ever, Much Bigger Than Biden’s
Joe Biden will win the U.S. Electoral College vote by 306 to 232, so he will take 57% of the total. While impressive, it is not close to the performance of the largest winner ever. Franklin D. Roosevelt received 98% of the Electoral College votes in 1936, or 523 votes. Rival Republican Alf Landon received eight. (George Washington took 100% of the total in his two terms, but ran without competition.)
The Roosevelt victory over Landon was equally impressive in terms of popular votes. Roosevelt got 27,747,636 votes, which was 61% of the total. He carried 46 of the 48 states. He lost only Maine and Vermont.
The 1936 election gave Roosevelt his second term. He took the presidency in 1932 over incumbent Hubert Hoover. Roosevelt had 57% of the popular vote that year. He won the Electoral College by 472 to 59. His margins were nearly as large in 1940 and 1944. Roosevelt died in office shortly after the 1945 inauguration.
Roosevelt’s 1936 win happened over seven years after the start of the Great Depression.
Part of the reason for Roosevelt’s huge margin was likely the early benefits of his Social Security and unemployment benefits programs. More than 20% of the U.S. workforce were out of jobs during the depression, which lasted a decade.
Roosevelt made the core of his election pitch at a famous speech at Madison Square Garden on October 31, days before the election: “For nearly four years you have had an Administration which instead of twirling its thumbs has rolled up its sleeves. We will keep our sleeves rolled up.”
The only recent election that was nearly as lopsided as the one in 1936 was Ronald Reagan’s 1984 win over Democrat Walter Mondale. Reagan received 525 electoral votes to Mondale’s 13. Reagan also won 59% of the popular vote and carried 49 states. It began his second term in office. He defeated unpopular Democrat incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980.
Aside from the large difference between the Roosevelt and Biden’s Electoral College wins, it is worth noting another major difference. Landon made no charges that the election was rigged or stolen. He conceded by sending a telegram to Roosevelt that read:
“THE NATION HAS SPOKEN/EVERY AMERICAN WILL ACCEPT THE VERDICT AND WORK FOR THE COMMON CAUSE OF THE GOOD OF OUR COUNTRY/THAT IS THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRACY/YOU HAVE MY SINCERE CONGRATULATIONS=/ALF M LANDON.”
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