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Unpopular Presidential Rankings!
Frank Sinatra passed away on May 14, 1998. He was immensely more popular than the next two presidents on our presidential rankings.
Frank Sinatra died on this day, May 14, 1998. He was 82. Sinatra is widely regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, both in film and music. Over his career, Sinatra collected an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, four Golden Globe Awards, eleven Grammys’, a Kennedy Center Honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Congressional Gold Medal, three wives, and numerous nicknames.
To put it simply, Old Blue Eyes was enormously popular. I remember when he passed away. It was just three days before my college graduation. The local bar where I lived had one of Sinatra’s records in the ole jukebox. Not even into 24 hours of mourning did the bar owner rip that sucker out because all we played was "My Way," "New York, New York," and "The Way You Look Tonight" over and over and over, and over. I can't believe anyone would get sick of hearing Sinatra on an endless loop. I mean, it's not karaoke, where I'm belting out "Luck Be a Lady" at the top of my lungs.
Sinatra’s popularity brings us to our next round of presidential rankings - presidents who won the White House without the popular vote. There’s no way Sinatra would have hung out with these guys.
Let’s dive in!
33: George Walker Bush
2017 Ranking: 34
2019 Ranking: 33
Term – Unpopularly elected and then seated January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
You basically must be related to Bush to think he did anything good. I'll give him credit; he did tell everyone as he unleashed the most incredible military machine in the history of the world onto the Middle East that we were not, in fact, declaring war on the Islamic religion.
Where to begin. Bush grew up attending elite Northeast private schools, then moved to Texas and claimed native son status. That hubris drives me bonkers. I like George Strait music, but that doesn't mean I will do official government business on my ranch because 'Merica.
If we were ranking Vice Presidents, I’d put Dick Cheney just above John C. Calhoun. Maybe not, because at least Calhoun resigned.
Why did I rank him here?
Bush had the lockdown on being the worst president of the 21st century until Donald Trump came along. He started two wars, pushed through a massive tax break, broke the economy, flopped on Hurricane Katrina's response, failed on immigration reform, and of course, "Mission Accomplished." American aristocracy is the worst. In two years, I'm moving him below Nixon. Maybe.
32: Rutherford B. Hayes
2017 Ranking: 32
2019 Ranking: 32
Term – Unpopularly elected and then seated March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
Hayes restored order to the presidency. A remarkable feat due to the contentious election of 1876. You probably have heard about it; it was recently used as an example in the non-contentious election of 2020.
Meh. What else did Hayes do? Not much. Do you know anything about Hayes? I'm all ears, and I'm from Ohio and played the high school in sports named after the guy.
Hayes didn't allow booze in the White House. This also led to Prohibitionists voting more republican, which ultimately lead us to the party of Donald Trump and George Bush, both Republican presidents who don't drink. THANKS, A LOT, RUTHERFORD!
Why did I rank him here?
There have been only five presidents elected that did not secure the popular vote. Only one, W., went on to win reelection. It's tough to do the job well if you don't have a mandate. Hayes steered the ship through the tough times of Reconstruction, but we can't give him second-tier status.
Have I mentioned how widely popular I was growing up? No? Well, when it came to getting elected, I was the Frank Sinatra of student government. From 8th grade to my junior year of college, I went 7-0 in elections. Three of them I was uncontested. On top of that, I could sing and dance. My eyes also happen to be blue.
Speaking of dancing…Sinatra released “Come Dance With Me!" in 1959. It was a revival of sorts for his career. The album sat on the charts for almost two and half years and won three Grammys, including Best Album. It's considered his most accomplished studio set.
What's your favorite Sinatra song? "Come Fly Away" is a good one. What song would Rutherford B. Hayes have liked?