The Results

1960_mapWhen the results came in, Kennedy had won with 303 electoral votes, whereas Nixon only won 219. However, the margin of the popular vote between them was extremely slim, with Kennedy gaining 34,226,731 popular votes (39.7%), and Nixon winning 34,108,157 (39.6%) (Rorabaugh, 178). Moreover, rumors were beginning to circulate that voter fraud had occurred in Chicago, Illinois, as well as in Texas. For example, in Fannin County, Texas, there were 6,138 votes coming from a population of only 4,895 voters (Rorabaugh, 187). Evidence led to the assumption that since most officials in Texas were Democrats, they had done their best to swing the election in favor of Kennedy. In Illinois, Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago also did his best to swing the votes in Kennedy’s favor in order to gain financial assistance for the city from the Kennedy family; this led to many tricks, including Republicans not being listed as voters in the city, votes being cast from people who had been long dead, and many people who voted more than once (Rorabaugh, 187-188). If the electoral votes from these states had been given to Nixon instead of Kennedy, Nixon would have won with 270 electoral votes, leaving Kennedy with only 252.

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In the end, Nixon chose not to fight the election for several reasons. First, if he chose to fight the results now instead of accepting defeat with a smile, it could hurt his chances of winning other elections in the future. He also thought that dividing the nation into groups with different loyalties was bad for the nation as a whole as well as for its security, according to his memoirs, although others believe Eisenhower advised him not to protest. Kennedy won the election, although had Nixon protested due to the voter fraud, the results may have been different.

In conclusion, there is no way to tell for certain which of these factors discussed had the most significant impact on bringing Kennedy victory. However, these different aspects of the race definitely shifted votes in different directions, and since the race was so extremely close, the absence of any one of these influences could have led to Nixon being awarded the presidency that year. Although perhaps causation cannot be determined from any one factor in particular, in the end these are some of the factors that worked together to hand Kennedy the presidency in 1960.

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