Top 10: Craziest Election Results
We all know that sometimes, election results are whack. Maybe the guy you voted for didn’t get in, maybe the predicted result you betted on was way off – maybe you’re just sad that your governor doesn’t have the deep-throating experience necessary to run a state. Here’s our list of the weirdest, wrongest and stupidest election results in history (in chronological order, to avoid accusations of favoritism in the comments section. And because we’re lazy).
Number 10: Pope Alexander VI, Rome, 1492
You’re probably familiar with the Borjia family, notorious for their various thefts, rapes, and poisonings in the 15th century. Well, Pope Alexander VI is the man who started the family on their track to infamy: his name before sticking on the big white hat was Rodrigo Borjia, and he was the thievingest, rapingest, poisoningest Borjia of the lot. Thanks to being the nephew of Pope Calixtus III, he zoomed up the Church ranks and, in 1492, was elected Pope – a decision that had less to do with Borjia’s Godly bearing and more to do with the fact he bribed his rivals out of the race with four mule-loads of silver.
From this seat of power, he had several bastard children, imprisoned and murdered a number of wealthy families (stealing their money and land in the process), ordered instant execution for anyone opposing the Borjia family and generally behaved like a massive prick. The only good thing to come from his reign was his own agonizing death, during which his bowels liquefied and his skin peeled off thanks to – yes, you guessed it – accidentally drinking his own poisoned wine.
Number 9: John Quincy Adams, USA, 1824
A lot of Democrats were pissed in 2000, when Dubya became president despite having less than 48% of the popular vote, especially when it turned out he couldn’t even play the sax. But that’s nothing compared to John Quincy Adams who, despite his fancy three names, became president with only 30.5% of the popular vote. In the strange election year that followed the collapse of the First Party System, none of the candidates -which included later president Andrew Jackson – could muster the required majority to convincingly take their place on the podium. Since this was 1824, a Freestyle Battle was sadly out of the question, and, for the first and only time since the ratification of the Twelfth Amendment, the House of Representatives decided on the winner, going with Adams and giving a huge middle finger to all of Jackson’s supporters. Still, if most of the voters weren’t happy about the decision, at least Adams was delighted!
Number 8: Ulysses S. Grant, USA, 1872
It’s fair to say that Ulysses S. Grant was not a popular president. No one expected the Republican incumbent to be re-elected, but then, they weren’t figuring on a splinter group, ‘The Liberal Republican Party’, turning that year’s election into a circus. With their nomination, Horace Greeley – then-editor of the New York tribune – often publicly mocked for both his ideals and his appearance, things didn’t go too well for this new party, especially since Greeley’s running mate, Benjamin Gratz Brown, was so drunk through most of the campaign that he was spotted at a fund-raising picnic trying to butter a watermelon. And when we say, ‘things didn’t go too well’, we mean, ‘Greeley didn’t actually survive until the electoral votes were cast’. Grant, facing competition from just a handful of no-hopers and a dead guy, romped away with the win.
Number 7: Cacareco, Brazil, 1958
In the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, the local council elections for 1958 were viewed by many with distrust, due to years of corruption, ineptitude and arrogance on the part of a government that had failed to recognize the needs of its people. So when a new candidate – the heroic Cacareco – came along, the public united and Cacareco was elected to the top spot, beating 539 other candidates in the process. Sounds like a sensible move, right? Wait… did we mention that Cacareco was a rhinoceros? Yes, a five-year old female rhino beat all the human candidates hands (hooves?) down, despite her name literally translating as ‘piece of junk’ in Portuguese. As one angry voter said afterward, ‘Better to elect a rhino than an ass‘.
Number 6: Screaming Lord Sutch, Britain, 1983
You can probably guess that Screaming Lord Sutch didn’t take politics terribly seriously from the name of the party he founded in 1983: The Monster Raving Loony Party. You can probably also guess that the majority of his policies were fucking stupid. Started as a satirical dig at Britain’s mainstream political parties, the MRLP nevertheless went on to a considerable level of success, at one point holding 16 council seats across Britain in the early 90s. They even, despite their propensity for dressing like pedophiles infiltrating a Saturday morning kids’ show, managed to pass some of their less dumb policies into law, most famously bringing the voting age down to 18.
Number 5: Janusz Rewinski, Poland, 1991
Not content with the way Polish politics were shaping up after the fall of Communism, satirist Janusz Rewinski started the Polish Beer-Lovers’ Party (which, in our minds, looked like this). They soon won support from the public with their rallying cry, ‘It wouldn’t be better, but for sure it would be funnier!’ which captured both the Polish people’s sense of humor and their love of grammatically inaccurate sloganeering. Running on an anti-alcoholism platform that encouraged people to, ’switch from vodka to beer’, the party actually won 16 seats in the Sejm and, in yet another tragic case of beer ruining a promising start, eventually became a serious political party.
Number 4: Pretty much anybody, Somalia, 1991
In a country where the official political status is, ‘anarchy’, any election result is virtually meaningless. Since 1991, with militant Islamic groups fighting for control of the land and large bands of heavily-armed pirates patrolling the seas, the country has been in a state of constant upheaval. With a multitude of political parties all uselessly running on the vague platform of, ‘We’re just going to kill the other guys, we hadn’t really thought much past that, to be honest’, no change has so far been effected: last year, elections took place in a different country, and the only prerequisite for running for president was a $2,000 application fee.
Number 3: Jacob Haugaard, Denmark, 1994
Much like Britain’s Monster Raving Loony Party, Haugaard’s party – The Union of Conscientiously Work-Shy Elements – was started as a joke. This joke backfired on the Danish comedian somewhat in 1994 when he received 23,253 votes and found himself with a seat in parliament. Despite winning his seat after a campaign that promised things like ‘better Christmas presents’ and ‘less sex in school staff rooms’, he took the job seriously and gratefully retired four years later, having learned that it’s much easier to make fun of politicians when you’re not one of them.
Number 2: Dustin the Turkey, Ireland, 1997
If there’s one thing that can be said for Cacareco, at least she was a real rhino: Dustin the Turkey was a kids’ TV puppet. Still, as the relationship between Tony Blair and George Bush showed us, having someone’s hand lodged firmly up your backside is no deterrent in the world of politics: during the Republic of Ireland’s 1997 presidential election, thousands of voters went with Dustin, despite him never being declared an official candidate (and despite looking exactly like British politician Michael Heseltine). Rumors persist to this day that he came in ahead of Derek Nally, so obviously he’s got something going for him.
Number 1: Arnold Schwarzenegger, California, 2003
If this the fact that Arnie is the governor of California seems normal to you by now, do us a quick favor: go and splash some cold water in your face, have a strong coffee and then, after a moment’s reflection, let out a 10-minute long scream of confusion and despair that this man is in charge of a whole state. In fairness to the big man, it’s hardly unusual for someone who’s mostly famous for being able to remember lines of dialogue in the correct order to become a successful politician, but this video does rather put it in perspective.