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presidential history



  • The Never-Ending Crisis of the Electoral College

    by Bruce Bartlett

    "The inane system our founders developed to choose the president is an anti-democratic remnant of the slavery era that only benefits the GOP"--a longtime political observer endorses the National Popular Vote Compact as a way to circumvent the Electoral College without a constitutional amendment.



  • A Brief History of Presidential Memoirs

    Presidential historian Craig Fehrman says that presidents in the early republican period shunned writing memoirs as vain and self-promoting. The quality of many subsequent presidential books suggests they were on to something. How will the recent first volume of Obama's memoirs be received? 



  • An Embarrassing Failure for Election Pollsters

    by W. Joseph Campbell

    Pollsters problems predicting the 2020 election deepened the embarrassment for a field that has suffered through – but has survived – a variety of lapses and surprises since the mid-1930s. 


  • Joe Biden Is Setting A Record That No One Has Noticed

    by David O. Stewart

    Joe Biden has been on the national ticket as a candidate three times, a distinction shared by both great and mediocre figures in American history. If he's victorious, he'd become one of only 6 people to win three times. 


  • Ranking Donald Trump: No Cause for National Happiness

    by James M. Banner, Jr.

    He’s accomplished what no other president has been able to achieve since the first presidential ranking in 1948.  He’s managed to raise James Buchanan, Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, and Warren Harding off the floor.  The sad thing is that this is no achievement we can cheer.



  • A History Of October Surprises (audio)

    Although Trump's COVID diagnosis was, perhaps, unexpected, October Surprises have historically involved presidents announcing policy initiatives to improve their reelection prospects. Presidential historians Tim Naftali and Tim Walch discuss.



  • Politics, not Public Good, Will Guide what We Know about Trump’s Health

    by William I. Hitchcock

    "Should a president choose to hide crucial health details from the public, as Trump and his doctors have done, citizens have little recourse. All they can do is draw their own conclusions about the trustworthiness of the president."