2383: Electoral Precedent 2020
|Electoral Precedent 2020|
Title text: He also broke the streak that incumbents with websites are unbeatable and Delawareans can't win, creating a new precedent: Only someone from Delaware can defeat an incumbent with a website.
This comic is an update to 1122: Electoral Precedent, adding "broken precedents" for the US presidential elections in 2016 and 2020. It was published six days after the 2020 election took place, and two days after most news networks "called" the election, projecting Biden as the winner. The majority of the comic's panels are duplicates from 1122, with the exception of the 2012 panel (modified to show that Obama did in fact break the streak), the 2016 panel (added to reflect the election of Donald Trump), and the two 2020 panels. It continues the theme of pointing out that an arbitrary 'precedent' can always be invoked to predict the outcome of an election. Presidential elections happen rarely enough that each is a unique event, and something is always happening for the first time. Like with the other examples, the precedents mentioned here mix factors that could plausibly impact the election (such as one candidate having been impeached), with precedents that are just a product of time and chance (like a successful challenger having a website).
The final two panels again show how, no matter which candidate won in 2020, it would be a 'first' in some way.
- No sitting president who was impeached was even nominated for the office again until Donald Trump. (Only two other US presidents have been impeached. Bill Clinton couldn't run again afterward due to term limits, Andrew Johnson failed to be nominated at the 1868 Democratic Convention.) After the election, it remains true that no impeached president has ever been re-elected. (As of February 2021, Trump is considered a potential candidate for the 2024 election; should he be nominated and win that election, this statement could become false, depending on how exactly one interprets it.)
- Prior to the 2020 election, no challenger with a website ever won. This, however, is easily explained by the fact that incumbent presidents usually win, and websites are a fairly new technology. The last time a challenger beat an incumbent was in 1992 before Internet use was widespread. By 1996 that had changed and both the incumbent Bill Clinton campaign and the challenger Bob Dole campaign had websites that look very simple by today's standards. The title text points out that one could just as easily say that incumbents with websites are unbeatable, until that precedent was broken in 2020.
The 2020 election was also precedent breaking in a few ways that Randall didn't mention:
- At 78, Joe Biden was the oldest president ever on the day of his inauguration.
- Biden's running mate Kamala Harris is the first-ever female vice president, first Black vice president, and the first Asian vice president (her parents are from Jamaica and India). She's also the first Democratic vice president from the West.
- Biden received over 80 million votes, the highest ever, beating Obama 2008's previous record of just under 69.5 million votes. The second-highest raw vote total was for Trump, with approximately 74.2 million votes, also beating Obama 2008. Turnout as a percentage of the eligible population was the highest in over a century. Unlike the other precedents, however, this one was not an inevitable outcome of a Biden-Harris victory.
Also, Biden is the first president from the state of Delaware, thus he broke the "precedent" that Delawareans can't win. Randall then proceeds to combine these 2 facts to create a new precedent: Only Delawareans can defeat incumbents with a website.
Table of New Broken Precedents
All original options can be found at 1122: Electoral Precedent.
|2012||Democratic incumbents never beat taller challengers. ... Until Obama did.||Mitt Romney stood 6' 2", an inch taller than President Obama. Nonetheless, Obama was re-elected for a second term.||True|
|2016||No one has become president without government or military experience. ... Until Trump did.||Every president prior to Trump had either been a general in the US Army, a congressman, a state governor, or a cabinet member.||True|
|2020?||No one has won after being impeached. ✓||None of the two prior presidents who were impeached even ran for re-election. This is the first time this specific condition has even been tested.||Trump was impeached, ran, and lost, so this test remains true at this point in history.|
|2020?||No challenger with a website has won. X||The possibility of having a website only arose in the 1990s and Bill Clinton seems to not have had one when he succeeded Bush Sr. Although websites became increasingly ubiquitous, no president since had ever been defeated by their respective challengers.||"...until Biden did."|
- The problem with statements like
- "No <party> candidate has won the election without <state>"
- "No president has been reelected under <circumstances>"
- ★ Updated for 2020 ★
- [Each statement below has its own panel. The year is in a caption, the precedent is stated by a standing Cueball in the main panel, and the president who broke it is below the panel.]
- 1788... No one has been elected president before. ...But Washington was.
- 1792... No incumbent has ever been reelected. ...Until Washington.
- 1796... No one without false teeth has become president. ...But Adams did.
- 1800... No challenger has beaten an incumbent. ...But Jefferson did.
- 1804... No incumbent has beaten a challenger. ...Until Jefferson.
- 1808... No congressman has ever become president. ...Until Madison.
- 1812... No one can win without New York. ...But Madison did.
- 1816... No candidate who doesn't wear a wig can get elected. ...Until Monroe was.
- 1820... No one who wears pants instead of breeches can be reelected. ...But Monroe was.
- 1824... No one has ever won without a popular majority. ...J.Q. Adams did.
- 1828... Only people from Massachusetts and Virginia can win. ...Until Jackson did.
- 1832... The only presidents who get reelected are Virginians. ...Until Jackson.
- 1836... New Yorkers always lose. ...Until Van Buren.
- 1840... No one over 65 has won the presidency. ...Until Harrison did.
- 1844... No one who's lost his home state has won. ...But Polk did.
- 1848... As goes Mississippi, so goes the nation. ...Until 1848.
- 1852... New England Democrats can't win. ...Until Pierce did.
- 1856... No one can become president without getting married. ...Until Buchanan did.
- 1860... No one over 6'3" can get elected. ...Until Lincoln.
- 1864... No one with a beard has been reelected. ...But Lincoln was.
- 1868... No one can be president if their parents are alive. ...Until Grant.
- 1872... No one with a beard has been reelected in peacetime. ...Until Grant was.
- 1876... No one can win a majority of the popular vote and still lose. ...Tilden did.
- 1880... As goes California, so goes the nation. ...Until it went Hancock.
- 1884... Candidates named "James" can't lose. ...Until James Blaine.
- 1888... No sitting president has been beaten since the Civil War. ...Cleveland was.
- 1892... No former president has been elected. ...Until Cleveland.
- 1896... Tall Midwesterners are unbeatable. ...Bryan wasn't.
- 1900... No Republican shorter than 5'8" has been reelected. ...Until McKinley was.
- 1904... No one under 45 has been elected. ...Roosevelt did.
- 1908... No Republican who hasn't served in the military has won. ...Until Taft.
- [The precedent takes up the entire panel this year. Consequently, there is no Cueball.] 1912... After Lincoln beat the Democrats while sporting a beard with no mustache, the only Democrats who can win have a mustache with no beard. ...Wilson had neither.
- 1916... No Democrat has won while losing West Virginia. ...Wilson did.
- 1920... No incumbent senator has won. ...Until Harding.
- 1924... No one with two Cs in their name has become president. ...Until Calvin Coolidge.
- 1928... No one who got ten million votes has lost. ...Until Al Smith.
- 1932... No Democrat has won since women secured the right to vote. ...Until FDR did.
- 1936... No president's been reelected with double-digit unemployment. ...Until FDR was.
- 1940... No one has won a third term. ...Until FDR did.
- 1944... No Democrat has won during wartime. ...Until FDR did.
- 1948... Democrats can't win without Alabama. ...Truman did.
- 1952... No Republican has won without winning the House or Senate. ...Eisenhower did.
- 1956... No one can beat the same nominee a second time in a leap year rematch. ...Until Eisenhower.
- 1960... Catholics can't win. ...Until Kennedy.
- 1964... Every Republican who's taken Louisiana has won. ...Until Goldwater.
- [The panel is zoomed in on Cueball's head in this frame.] 1968... No Republican vice president has risen to the Presidency through an election. ...Until Nixon.
- [The panel is zoomed in on Cueball's head in this frame.] 1972... Quakers can't win twice. ...Until Nixon did.
- 1976... No one who lost New Mexico has won. ...But Carter did.
- 1980... No one has been elected president after a divorce. ...Until Reagan was.
- 1984... No left-handed president has been reelected. ...Until Reagan was.
- [The panel is zoomed in on Cueball's head in this frame.] 1988... No one with two middle names has become president. ...Until "Herbert Walker".
- [The panel is zoomed in on Cueball's head in this frame.] 1992... No Democrat has won without a majority of the Catholic vote. ...Until Clinton did.
- [The precedent takes up the entire panel this year. Consequently, there is no Cueball.] 1996... No Dem. incumbent without combat experience has beaten someone whose first name is worth more in Scrabble. ...Until Bill beat Bob.
- 2000... No Republican has won without Vermont. ...Until Bush did.
- [The panel is zoomed in on Cueball's head in this frame.] 2004... No Republican without combat experience has beaten someone two inches taller ...Until Bush did.
- 2008... No Democrat can win without Missouri. ...Until Obama did.
- 2012... Democratic incumbents never beat taller challengers. ... Until Obama did.
- [The panel is zoomed in on Cueball's head in this frame.] 2016... No one has become president without government or military experience. ... Until Trump did.
- 2020? No one has won after being impeached. ✓
- 2020? No challenger with a website has won. X
- [Caption below the comic]
- Congratulations to President-Elect Joe Biden for breaking the website curse!
- This comic seems to have used the same image as 1122: Electoral Precedent, and so the original version of this comic had a ghost image of the original 2012 2nd "streak": "No nominee whose first name contains a "K" has lost."
- Also, the panels for past elections that were wrong before continue to be wrong, including 1812, 1816, 1820, 1904, and 1952. See 1122: Electoral Precedent, Table of Broken Precedents for details.
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