July 27, 2004

How many Protons in the universe?

I liked James Taranto's article, No Republican has won the White House without Ohio. So what? He points out that there are a huge number of long-term trends that last until...they end.

... Mr. Bush was the first Republican since James Garfield in 1880 to win the White House without carrying California. That record would not have fallen had Al Gore received a few thousand more votes in Florida--but in that case, Mr. Gore would have become the first Democrat ever elected without carrying Missouri...

... In the process, George W. Bush became the first Republican to win the presidency without carrying Delaware since Benjamin Harrison in 1888. Mr. Bush was also the first president since Harrison to win election without a popular-vote plurality.

Perhaps it augurs well for John Kerry that neither Harrison nor the two earlier "minority" presidents, John Quincy Adams and Rutherford Hayes, won re-election (though Hayes didn't run). But in order to keep that streak going, Mr. Kerry would have to become the first president since Lincoln to win in November after being nominated at a convention in his home state.

He also would need to win the White House as a sitting member of Congress, something only three men have done: Rep. Garfield in 1880, Sen. Warren G. Harding in 1920 and Sen. John F. Kennedy in 1960. And here's a streak that might give Mr. Kerry pause: All three died in office....

I suspect that the number of trends one could construct is mathematically something similar to the the number of possible chess games...more than there are protons in the universe or some such large number.

Posted by John Weidner at July 27, 2004 7:40 AM
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