TEMPLE, TX — Contested US presidential elections can date back to some of the first presidencies, and they happen in almost every election.
However, the extent to which they’re challenged is another story.
Dr. Timothy Hemmis, an American history professor at Texas A&M Central Texas, said we can trace election turmoil back to the 1700s.
“George Washington was elected unanimously, so it was the next one, the John Adams 1796 election, then you had a very heated division,” Hemmis explained. “It’s the start of the two party system.”
That election laid the foundation for many to follow.
“The most contested election in American history is the 1860 election…Abraham Lincoln was not even on the ballot in 10 states,” he followed, explaining one of the most divisive elections in our country’s history.
Dr. Patrick Flavin, a political science professor at Baylor University, believed this year’s election just might top the election of 1860.
“Without a question that this election is the most divisive election probably not only in modern American history but in all of American history,” Flavin contested.
With a pandemic, a crippling economy and social movements spanning across the whole year, Dr. Flavin believed the reaction to this election was anticipated.
“The stage had been set for several months if not several years to make people question if our elections are legitimate,” he said.
So, what can we do to ease the tension?
Experts suggest getting back to a time when American politics were a bit less exciting.
”If politics, at least within the short term, were a little more boring, a little more ho-ho, a little more routine,” Flavin said. “I think that would be a good thing for the United States.”