Presidential Winners and Losers Through History
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Woodrow Wilson, casts his vote on Nov. 14, 1912. Wilson won the election with a majority in the Electoral College but only 42 percent of the popular vote.
The 1912 presidential election was a rare four-way contest. Wilson won the election, in part, because Theodore Roosevelt broke from Republicans to run as a third party candidate. Roosevelt's presence on the ballot effectively split the Republican party vote.
Moral of the story: Third parties cannot necessarily win American elections, but they can spoil them.