All the Ways in Which This Year’s Election Could Be History-Making

Kamala Harris history

Getty Kamala Harris, speaking at a rally November 2 in Philadelphia, would be the United States' first female vice president if the Biden-Harris ticket is victorious .

Regardless of who wins, this year’s presidential election will be history-making. A couple of things are certain or near-certain. Among them: Turnout will very likely be the highest ever recorded. The winner will be the oldest winning candidate in history, breaking the record that Donald Trump set when he was elected four years ago.

In part because a win for Joe Biden would usher in a new administration, more of the history-making scenarios involve a Biden win. But there are some ways in which a Trump win could be history-making as well.

Here are some of the other ways history could be made as votes are tallied Tuesday night and in the ensuing days:


Historic Turnout & History-Making Trends

  • If turnout projections are accurate, the winning candidate could break the record Barack Obama set in 2008 for the most votes ever received. (Obama won just shy of 69.5 million votes against John McCain. Both Obama in 2012 and Hillary Clinton in 2016 received just shy of 66 million votes.)
  • If Trump wins, it would be the first time in history that four straight incumbent presidents have been elected and later re-elected. (There have only been two occasions on which three straight presidents have been elected and re-elected: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe in the early 19th century, and Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama.)
  • If Biden wins the popular vote, the Democratic candidate will have won the popular vote in four straight elections and seven out of the last eight. The last time either party won the popular vote for president in four or more straight elections was the Democrats’ stretch of winning both the popular vote and the Electoral College in five straight elections from 1932 through 1948. (The first four of those elections came with Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the nominee. The fifth came with Harry Truman as the nominee in 1948.)

  • History Related to Joe Biden & Donald Trump

  • If Biden wins the popular vote, Trump will be the first candidate since Democrat Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956 to lose the popular vote twice.
  • If Biden wins, he’ll become the second practicing Catholic ever elected, and the first since John F. Kennedy in 1960.
  • If Biden wins, he’ll be the first president from Delaware.
  • Trump, who changed his primary residence from New York to Florida after being elected, would be the first victorious presidential candidate to call Florida home.

  • History Related to Kamala Harris

  • If Biden and Kamala Harris are elected, Harris would be the first woman elected vice president.
  • If Biden wins, Harris, whose mother is from India and whose father is from Jamaica, would be the second Black person and the first person of Asian ancestry elected president or vice president. (Barack Obama is the only person of color to ever hold either office.)
  • If Biden wins, Harris’ husband Doug Emhoff would be the country’s first-ever Second Gentleman.
  • Emhoff, who’s Jewish, would be the first Jew to serve as First Lady, Second Lady, or Second Gentleman.
  • If Biden wins, Harris will become the first Democrat from west of the Rockie Mountains to be elected president or vice president.
  • READ NEXT: When Will We Know Who’s Won the Election? 3 Potential Scenarios

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