New York Times columnist Gail Collins calls President-elect Donald Trump one of the “least successful” presidential candidates in American history in an op-ed Thursday.
Although Trump pulled off an unprecedented comeback in the polls to win the election, Collins points to his loss in the popular vote as evidence he’s actually one of the least successful candidates ever. “The one positive effect of the recount, besides reassuring people who worry the Russians might be capable of hacking a massive American vote tally, is the way it reminds the nation, every day, that Donald Trump is one of the least successful successful presidential candidates in American history,” she writes.
Collins quickly qualifies the statement by acknowledging five other presidents also lost the popular vote, and backtracking on the all-time qualification. No one in “modern history” has lost as badly in the popular vote, she writes, although Rutherford B. Hayes did substantially worse in 1876 when he initially lost both the electoral and popular votes.
After coming back around to the reality that Trump did in fact win the election and will be president, Collins brings up the possibility of a recount preventing Trump from getting 270 and thereby tossing the decision to Congress. That sort of scenario once led to John Quincy Adams’ defeat of Andrew Jackson.
“I’m bringing that up just so I can note that John Quincy Adams is the only person besides Rutherford B. Hayes who won the presidency with a worse negative percentage of the popular vote than Donald Trump,” she writes, further weakening her point about Trump being the least successful candidate. “Big loser! Sad!”