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poor journalism   ...   elsewhere on the web
mon 2004-aug-16 17:39:02 pdt   ...   permalink

Here's a Reuters story on how some researchers are predicting Kerry will win in November because he has more royal ancestry. In it, they quote one Harold Brooks-Baker as saying the following:

"Because of the fact that every presidential candidate with the most royal genes and chromosomes has always won the November presidential election, the coming election -- based on 42 previous presidents -- will go to John Kerry."

The notion that every election has gone to the more royal candidate is plainly impossible, since there have been several "rematches" between the same pair of candidates, and in some of those the loser has come back four years later and defeated the same opponent. The most obvious example of this is Grover Cleveland, the only president to serve nonconsecutive terms -- Benjamin Harrison ousted him in 1888, only to be ousted back in 1892...

Here's a page that lists the winners and losers in all the presidential elections. As it happens, they're listing them for the purpose of demonstrating that the candidate with more syllables is usually elected, but at least they're not claiming always, which is clearly not the case! (And fortunately the "more syllables are better" theory also puts Kerry over Bush!)

In any case, that list shows the following rematches that went the other direction the second time:

  • 1796 and 1800 - John Adams vs Thomas Jefferson
  • 1824 and 1828 - John Quincy Adams vs Andrew Jackson
  • 1836 and 1840 - Martin Van Buren vs William Henry Harrison
  • 1888 and 1892 - Grover Cleveland vs Benjamin Harrison

Interestingly, we can also conclude that if you yourself are a Harrison or if you lose to an Adams, then you should try again, as you will win the second time.

On the other hand, the rematches that went the same direction the second time around are:

  • 1896 and 1900 - William McKinley vs William Jennings Bryan
  • 1956 and 1960 - Dwight D. Eisenhower vs Adlai Stevenson

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