United States presidential election, 1888

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The US presidential election of 1888 was not one filled with hard campaigning on both sides. President Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, was busy seeing to the affairs of the Presidency, while Benjamin Harrison, a Republican campaigned hard to protect high tariffs. That was the central issue of the year.[1] Although, Democrats did try to campaign the results of the election would show:

candidates popular vote electoral vote
Benjamin Harrison 5,447,129 233
Grover Cleveland 5,537,857 168
Clinton B. Fisk 249,505 0
Anson J. Streeter 146,935 0


For the second time in 12 years, the winner of the popular vote lost the election. The same thing happened in 1876. Cleveland and his running mate Allen G. Thurman of Ohio, lost. Cleveland failed to carry his home state of New York. If he had, then he would have had enough electoral votes to win the election. But Cleveland wouldn't be counted out. He would come back to win the Presidency again in 1892, thus becoming the only President to serve two non-consecutive terms.

There were allegations that the Republicans had taken New York by getting their supporters to vote in "blocks of five," whereby they ensured each of their voter cards had the names of at least Republican five voters on them, and thereby drove a higher turnout. While arguably unethical (and it was outlawed in favor of secret balloting before the next election), it was not against the law at the time, and did not really amount to anything more than the Republicans trying to energize their voters (which Cleveland did not do, despite being a New Yorker himself).


  1. Encyclopedia of Presidents, Grover Cleveland, by Zachary Kent, Children's Press, 1988.
  2. A Pictoral History of the U.S. Presidents, by Clare Gibson, Gramercy Books, 2001.