United States presidential election, 1960

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Dwight D. Eisenhower

John F. Kennedy

The United States presidential election of 1960 was the 44th American presidential election, held on November 8, 1960, for the term beginning January 20, 1961, and ending January 20, 1965. The incumbent president, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower, was not eligible to run again. The Republican Party nominated Richard M. Nixon, Eisenhower's Vice-President, while the Democrats nominated John F. Kennedy, the junior Senator from Massachusetts. Eventually, Kennedy was elected with a lead of 112,827 votes, or 0.1% of the popular vote, giving him a victory of 303 to 219 in the Electoral College, the closest since 1916.

Rorabaugh (2009) explains Kennedy's victory "in terms of an economic recession, the numerical dominance of 17 million more registered Democrats than Republicans, the votes that Kennedy gained among Catholics practically matched the votes Nixon gained among Protestants[1], Kennedy's better organization, and Kennedy's superior campaigning skills. Nixon's emphasis on his experience carried little weight, and he wasted energy by campaigning in all 50 states instead of concentrating on the swing states. Kennedy used his large, well-funded campaign organization to win the nomination, secure endorsements, and with the aid of the last of the big-city bosses to get out the vote in the big cities. He relied on Johnson to hold the South and used television effectively."[2].


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