This election takes place as Washington’s first term as our first elected president is coming to an end. While he is still roundly popular, his administration, as well as the idea of a central government, is coming under fire by some notable political figures. Washington, while claiming to be independent, is clearly favoring the views of his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, over the views of his Secretary of State, Thomas Jefferson.
Hamilton’s views are favored among the coastal cities and throughout New England, while Jefferson’s views are strong in the rural South and West. In the US House of Representative, James Madison is clearly fashioning an anti-Administration party to combat Hamilton’s influence on Washington.
Despite the criticism, Washington is expected to win at least one vote from every elector. The real battle is for the VP vote. John Adams is up for reelection, but faces three anti-Administration politicians: George Clinton, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson. In reality, every candidate is actually running for president. Each elector gets two votes. The winner has the most votes, becoming president, while the second place candidate (assuming he is from a different state than the winner) becomes VP. As such, Jefferson cannot become VP if Washington becomes president, as they are both from Virginia.
This election allows for many what-if scenarios:
- What if Washington faces competition for the first ballot of the electors? These candidates are Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, John Jay, Richard Henry Lee, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Hancock.
- What if more candidates aimed for the second ballot “VP” votes? These candidates are Artemas Ward , Samuel Huntington, John Rutledge, C. C. Pinckney, Robert Morris, William Maclay and James Wilson.
- What if “VP candidates” John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and George Clinton aimed to take on Washington for the the first “presidential ballot”?
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