Top Ranked most dramatic u.s. elections by zankrank (View Consensus)
1. 1994
the republican comeback - in 1992 bill clinton barely won the presidency in a three-way race with george bush and ross perot. many republicans felt that the presidency had been stolen from them. clinton got off to a slow start and never gained momentum prior to the mid-term elections, being sidetracked right from the first by a controversy about allowing gays into the military. several high-profile cabinet nominations were withdrawn and then his single biggest domestic priority, reforming the health care system, went down to defeat in congress. republicans gained both houses of congress for the first time since 1955 under the leadership of newt gingrich.
2. 1860
abraham lincoln is elected, ignites civil war
3. 2010
a republican takeover of the u.s. house and a narrowed democratic majority in the senate, a rising anti-government tea party movement and the third tumultuous u.s. election in a row. it was the first time in more than a half-century that political power in the usa has swung so significantly in three consecutive elections.
4. 1960
the election of 1960, waged between two future presidents – john f. kennedy and richard m. nixon – was one of the most dramatic in american history. these two young men (ages 43 and 47, respectively – the youngest pairing in american history) each put up a strong showing in november, making for the closest popular vote tally in any presidential election. read more at suite101: the election of 1960: one of the closest and most dramatic in united states history
5. 1800
thirty-six ballots were cast over five days to reach a decision. once again hamilton played a pivotal role, throwing his support to jefferson, whom he disliked, rather than burr, whom he truly hated. this election is sometimes referred to as the 'revolution of 1800' because it marked the transition from the federalists, the only party to have held the presidency to that point, to the democratic-republicans of jefferson. it appeared that major changes were in the offing. the dilemma posed by two candidates receiving an equal number of electoral votes was later addressed in amendment xii.
6. 1974
watergate freshmen - in 1972 richard nixon won a landslide victory against george mcgovern, who won only the single state of massachusetts. two years later nixon's administration unraveled after watergate turned into a national crisis. in august nixon resigned. that november the democrats swept the elections across the country, bringing to power the so-called watergate freshman class of 1974.
7. 1966
lbj fight - in 1964 lyndon johnson was elected president in what was then the greatest landslide in american history. two years later his popularity was dropping as concerns grew over inflation and the vietnam war. in the early spring of 1966 his approval had dropped to 56 percent, the lowest of his presidency at that point. by june his approval rating had dropped to 46 percent. a pollster asked voters whom they'd prefer in a match-up between lbj and george romney. the result was a near tie, lbj receiving 51 percent to 49 percent for romney. fearful of being blamed for the loss of seats in congress and uneasy playing a role as a partisan president, lbj stayed off the hustings during the fall campaign. in the election republicans won 47 seats in the house of representatives and 3 in the se
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