1884: Grover Cleveland defeated James Blaine of Maine, who would have been become the first - and only - president whose name rhymed with his state. Cleveland was a Buffalo boy, although not by birth; he had been the city's mayor and the Erie County sheriff, which is why his name is on so much stuff around here.
1888: Cleveland won the popular vote, but Republican Benjamin Harrison won the electoral vote. We loved our Harrisons in the 1800s, although Benjamin made it to the end of his term in 1893; William Henry Harrison didn't even make it two months.
1888 (continued): The Buffalo Sunday Morning News, two days before the election narrowly went to Harrison. This was a headline on that page. "Now for victory, the business men of Buffalo and New York turn out for Harrison." They don't write 'em like that anymore, thank goodness.
1892: Even in the 19th century, we worried about the weather. "Hopeful signs, the weather reports are favorable to the Republicans," the News said on election day 1892. The skies were bright for Cleveland, who brought some more Buffalove to D.C. and became the only U.S. president to serve non-consecutive terms.
1896: How happy were people in Canton, Ohio when Republican William McKinley won the presidency over Democrat William Jennings Bryan? A News headline spoke of the "jollification" in the city now most known as the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It's a safe bet that the word "jollification" will not show up in even one headline this year.
1900: The good news for McKinley in 1900? He was re-elected with running mate Theodore Roosevelt, again over William Jennings Bryan. The bad news? His name would appear in such large type in the News less than a year later because he had been shot at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901.
1900 (continued): Nov 4 (two days before the election): "Campaign closed! Republicans wind up the work of 1900 with a monster sound money and business parade in New York." ... The News will flash the results of the election with a giant searchlight." No wonder they didn't have Twitter -- they had a giant searchlight.
1904: Our run of Buffalo-connection presidents continued as Republican incumbent Theodore Roosevelt, who took the oath of office at the Wilcox Mansion on Delaware Avenue after the McKinley assassination, defeated Democrat Alton B. Parker. "Republican national and state tickets triumph by an overwhelming expression of the people's will." Talk about media bias.
1908: Republican William Howard Taft defeats Democrat William Jennings Bryan, which explains why some people today call the Buffalo Bills of the 1990s the William Jennings Bryan of the NFL. (OK, no one called them that.) By the way, the next time someone complains about how no one speaks proper English anymore, remind them of this headline: "Not in many years such voting as this."
1912: Voters could choose from a Democrat - Woodrow Wilson - a Republican - Taft - a Bull Moose - Roosevelt - and a socialist - Eugene Debs. They went with Wilson. The layout on the News front page included photographs. Headline far down the page: "Socialists licked in Schenectady." Reacting back then? Hmmm. Today? Ew.
1916: Imagine if Ruth Bader Ginsburg had decided to run for president this year. Weird, right? But 100 years ago, Wilson was challenged by Republican Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes. It was a 23-electoral vote nail-biter and still wasn't decided when the News was published two days after election day.
1920: Ohio Sen. Warren G. Harding, a Republican, was the big winner. History may little remember the Democrat he beat, James M. Cox. But it would have no such trouble with his running mate: Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
1924: Harding died in office and was replaced by his VP, Calvin Coolidge. Coolidge soundly defeated Democrat John W. Davis in the general election. But the best headline on this page, published two days after election day, has nothing to do with Coolidge: "Two years in Atlanta for possessing dope."
1924 (continued): "Coolidge avalanche buries rivals." Why not "Coolidge Express runs over rivals?" Or "Coolidge fire burns rivals to death?"
1928: Republican Herbert Hoover defeats Democrat Alfred Smith. Hoover gets blamed for the Depression. Smith gets blamed for a really awkward dinner held in New York City before this year's election.
1932: FDR's name became a staple in presidential election stories from 1932 to 1944. The Democratic New York governor defeated Hoover by promising a New Deal to drag the nation out of economic despair. (History may have forgotten that he won Olean by 5 votes, but that's why we save the front pages.)
1936: If every American lived in either Vermont or Maine, Republican Alf Landon would have been elected president. But because of those pesky 48 other states that he lost, Roosevelt was re-elected.
1940: Add the name Wendell Willkie to the list of Republicans Roosevelt dispatched in his history-making, Constitution-affecting 13 years in office. But it was such a foregone conclusion that News editors didn't even make it the lead story in the next day's paper.
1944: Imagine if Mario Cuomo faced off against George Patki in a presidential election and you have some idea of what 1944 was like. The former governor Roosevelt won again, this time over NY Gov. Thomas E. Dewey, but died before his fourth term was three months old and Harry S. Truman became president. Congress approved the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution in 1947, thereafter limiting U.S. presidents to two terms. (Don't weep for Dewey; he got the Thruway named after him. Hey, it's something.)
1948: This was the year of the famous "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline, one of the worst media mistakes of the 20th century. Truman won and the News called it a "Big Upset." On the same page you'll note this headline: "Pollsters Upset by Vote Switchers." Darn vote switchers.
1952: Truman declined to seek re-election; Republicans went with Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in World War II whose resume could have correctly included the line, "Saved the world." Democratic nominee Adlai Stevenson, the governor of Illinois, was added to the list of Ike's vanquished foes. And hey, look: Richard Nixon!
1956: Same candidates, same result. That thing about liking Ike was not just a saying. The News went with broad smiles for him and Nixon in '52, and more serious expressions in '56. Note the headline at the bottom of the page: "HST Disappointed at Adlai Vote... " Some presidential acronyms catch on: LBJ, FDR, JFK. HST? Not so much.
1960: Maybe this is where the horse race metaphors started. Sen. John F. Kennedy Jr. of Massachusetts, the Democratic nominee, narrowly defeated Nixon and was depicted on the pages of the next day's News giving his daughter Caroline a horsey ride. Kennedy became the youngest person ever elected president and the first Roman Catholic.
1964: Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson, who ascended to the presidency after the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in November 1963, soundly defeats Republican Barry Goldwater of Arizona. Goldwater's running mate was William Miller of Lockport. The bitterly contested campaign has been mentioned often this election season, but it is telling to see this headline on the page: "Goldwater Offers to Help in Achieving Peace and Security."
1968: One of the most tumultuous years in American history - yes, even more than this year - concluded with the election of former vice president Richard Nixon, a Republican, over Democrat Hubert H. Humphrey. The year saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, protests against the Vietnam War and a violent confrontation between police and anti-war protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Former Alabama Gov. George Wallace ran a strong third-party effort, carrying several Southern states. And HHH? Almost as forgettable as HST.
1972: "Landslide" seems too weak a word to describe what Nixon did to Democratic nominee Sen. George McGovern, who ran on an anti-Vietnam War platform and who won only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. Nixon resigned in 1974 over the Watergate scandal, making vice president Gerald Ford the president. A popular bumper sticker in 1974 on cars with Massachusetts plates? "Don't blame me; I voted for McGovern."
1976: We can all relate to a spent Amy Carter in this photo of her Dad Jimmy carrying his sleeping daughter after the Democratic former governor of Georgia defeated Ford in the election following the Watergate scandal. In other news on the front page, the Scoreball jackpot is $300!
1980: Republican Ronald Reagan, former governor of California, went '72 Nixon on Carter (489 electoral votes to 49), partly owing to the Iran hostage crisis. Republicans also win control of the U.S. Senate. In Buffalo, we were Talkin' Proud and the Scoreball jackpot is now $5,000.
1984: If Democrats thought 1980 was bad from an electoral standpoint, 1984 made them nostalgic for it. Reagan carried 49 of 50 states to defeat the Democratic nominee, former vice president Walter Mondale, who carried only his home state of Minnesota. Even worse, he didn't submit a JINGO card that week.
1988: Ronald Reagan couldn't be elected a third time, so the nation did the next best thing by elected his vice president, Republican George H.W. Bush. Democrat Michael Dukakis, governor of Massachusetts, was on the losing end. It was the first of five straight elections that would feature a member of the Clinton or Bush families.
1988 (continued): On the day of the election, the News ran a story about how cautious the networks would be about calling the winner so as not to affect voting. How quaint.
1992: Americans elected a Clinton for the first time. Democrat Bill Clinton, governor of Arkansas, "ends GOP reign bested the incumbent Bush and independent Ross Perot, who grabbed 18.9 percent of the popular vote. "Daunting list of woes await president-elect" was one of the headlines on the News front page. You could use this headline every four years.
1996: Clinton is re-elected as he handily defeats Republican Robert Dole and running mate Jack Kemp, the longtime WNY congressman and former Buffalo Bill. Within two years, Clinton's presidency would be in doubt as revelation about his affairs with a former intern led to his impeachment for lying under oath.
2000: For those who think we will know who the next president will be sometimes today, may we present 2000. "Election in overtime." Florida was too close to call. The Supreme Court eventually had to weigh in and Republican George W. Bush narrowly beats Democrat Al Gore (271 electoral votes to 266). In other news, Hillary Clinton wins election to the U.S. Senate. Also on the page: "One nation deeply divided." Any of this sound familiar?
2004: In 2000, it was Florida. In 2004, it was Ohio. The idea was similar, the drama was not even close. Incumbent Republican George W. Bush defeats Democrat John Kerry, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. A Buffalo News headline reads, "Bush leading, Ohio results loom as deciding factor in dramatic race." Ohio ultimately goes to Bush and running mate Dick Cheney (50.8 percent to 48.7 percent for the Democratic ticket of Kerry-John Edwards).
2008: History, indeed. Democrat Barack Obama, U.S. senator from Illinois, with his running mate, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, defeats Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain (with running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin) to become the first African-American president.
2012: It's easy to forget that our last presidential election also was a bit of a nail-biter. When the first edition of The News was published, Obama was trailing Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, in electoral votes. It turned around for Final edition and Obama won re-election.