63 years ago today, Senator John F. Kennedy defeated Vice-President Richard Nixon to win the 1960 election. Nixon conceded the next day, despite this election being very close. I wonder how many people know how close that JFK-Nixon election was? The two men were separated by about 113,000 votes, or 49.72% to 49.55%!
The Kennedy “mystique” is such that many people assume that he was elected by a landslide. On the contrary, it was a very close election, and one wonders what would have happened if Nixon had insisted on a recount.
In fact, I think that the nation owes Nixon a debt of gratitude for not having thrown the country into a chaotic recount, much like what we saw in 2000 between Governor Bush and Vice-President Gore. One big difference between Gore vs Bush and JFK vs Nixon is that 2000 was about Florida, whereas 1960 would have involved several states, such as Illinois and Texas.
Last, but not least, this election impacted Cuba. The Bay of Pigs happened a few months later, and we know how that turned out.