The Runner-Up Presidency

The Elections That Defied America's Popular Will And How Our Democracy Remains in Danger

“A must read for those truly interested in our democracy.”
-- Bill Bradley, former New Jersey senator

“A fascinating look at our strange system of electing presidents.”
-- Les Crystal, former president of NBC News and
MacNeil/Lehrer Productions


“A gripping and thoughtful book.”
-- Wyche Fowler Jr., former U.S. senator from Georgia

An entertaining and important account of presidential elections in which the winner of the popular vote lost or came all too close to losing, focusing on the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the disputed elections of 1876 and 2000, the deadlocks of 1800 and 1824 (when the elections were thrown to the House of Representatives) and the close call during the tumultuous year of 1968. Author and historian Mark Weston explains how electoral votes emerged as a compromise between the free states and slave states at the Constitutional Convention, how they were inspired by an unusual method of counting votes in ancient Rome, and how this system played out in six presidential elections that shake our faith in American democracy. The Runner-Up Presidency combines an in-depth political and numerical analysis of America’s electoral system with rich narratives of our six strangest elections.