The only thing that can make our official Election Day drinking game more fun? OK, maybe your candidate winning. But also this awesome list of presidential trivia, which will make all your friends say, “Golly, friend, you’re smarter than Adlai Stevenson!”
When was the last time a sitting vice president was elected? How did Warren Harding die — high blood pressure or murder? How did Millard Fillmore get his odd name? Find out below.
1. If Obama wins reelection (UPDATE: he did!), we’ll have had three two-term presidents in a row. This event is so rare, you’ll have to go back 200 years to find the last consecutive winning streak (Jefferson, Madison, Monroe).
In fact, Americans born after 1980 have seen only one president seek reelection and lose: George H.W. Bush.
Thomas Jefferson. via mariondoss
2. This is also the first election since 1976 that no Bushes or Clintons were running for president or vice president.
Bush Sr. made headlines from 1980 to 1992; Clinton held office until 2000; W. until 2008; and then Hillary campaigned for Obama’s seat.
3. We’ve never had a president whose name started with the extremely common letter S.
We have, however, had one with an S first name. Give up? Stephen Grover Cleveland. Harry S Truman’s middle name was just “S,” and Ulysses S. Grant was actually named Hiram Ulysses Grant. Those are the only two with “S” middle names, and in both cases, it’s not quite legit.
4. John Tyler, our 10th president, born in 1790, fathered more children (15) than any president in history. He also has two living grandsons: Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr., born in 1924, and Harrison Ruffin Tyler (below), born in 1928.
5. Only two men have appeared four times on a winning presidential ticket: FDR and Nixon.
6. We’ve only had one election in which someone lost both the popular and electoral vote, but still won. Who was it? No, not George W. Bush: John Quincy Adams, in 1824.
JQA was an interesting guy. A famed abolitionist, the sixth president took a nude swim every morning in the Potomac river. He is also the first president to have a photograph taken, and he looks pretty happy about it:
Other notable firsts: Benjamin Harrison, No. 23, was the first prez to attend a baseball game. In 1910, Taft began the presidential “first pitch” tradition. FDR was the first to fly, in 1943. Richard Nixon was first to visit all 50 states. And Martin Van Buren, born in 1782, was the first president who was a U.S. citizen.
7. Millard Fillmore got his unusual moniker from his mother’s maiden name, Millard.
8. Not many people know that we’ve had a Native American vice president. Charles Curtis, veep to Hoover, claimed Kaw, Osage and Pottawatomie ancestry.
9. William Henry “I died in 30 days” Harrison fell ill from pneumonia after making the longest inauguration speech on record — an hour and 45 minutes, in the middle of a snowstorm.
He passed away exactly one month later.
Medical records suggest that Boardwalk Empire’s philandering, scandal-plagued Warren Harding died from a presumed heart attack after battling high blood pressure. But no one believed it: Rumor has it that he either took is own life or that his fed-up wife, Florence, poisoned him.
10. Here’s one that’ll knock your socks off: When George H.W. Bush was elected president, it was the first time since Van Buren that a sitting vice president had been elected without the president dying.
Cooper Fleishman and Matthew Zaremsky previously collaborated on “LOTR: The Good Version,” “A Christmas Carol,” “The Pink Trilogy” and “Gone to Swell,” a series of straight-to-DVD historical spoofs.