Warehouse K

It's In The Name

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No Mystery In Greene Election Win

By James Donahue

People who study such things understand that there probably was no skullduggery behind the surprise victory of unknown Democratic candidate Alvin Greene as the party nominee for U. S. Senator from South Carolina.

Even though Mr. Greene spent almost nothing campaigning for the office and emerged as a total “unknown” among Democratic Party circles, he defeated former Circuit Judge Vic Rawl of Charleston in the state primary elections. Rawl challenged Greene’s victory, suggesting that the election had to have been rigged for Greene to have gained more than 100,000 votes.

But the secret shouldn’t have been a secret. People who study election results should understand that candidates with double letters in their names are more likely to win. Greene not only had two “e’s together in his last name, he has a third “e” at the end of it. Rawl’s name could not compete with that.

Double letters are found to be powerfully attractive to electors when they are deciding how to cast their vote. But candidates with the same letters in both first and last names also appear to have the advantage. Consider Barack Obama, with four “a’s” in his name who defeated John McCain with two “n’s” and double “c’s. That the second “c” was capitalized may have made a difference.

George W. Bush had two “e’s” and two “g’s in his first name which gave him an edge over Al Gore in 2000 and he defeated John Kerry in 2004. Kerry’s double r’s” in his last name apparently were not enough to overpower the simplicity and familiarity of the Bush name. Many Americans believe both elections were rigged.

Overall, however, the formula works at the polls, almost every time. It didn’t seem to work in the Texas 22nd Congressional District, however, where another Democratic unknown, Keshna Rogers, defeated Doug Platt (with double “t’s”) and Freddie John Weider Jr. (with double “d’s” and three “e’s”) for the party nod. The asset in her name was the two “e’s” and two “s’s” in the full name. Perhaps the name Rogers seemed more familiar to voters than the names Platt or Weider.

Some years ago I was told about this strange phenomenon of multiple letters by a man that liked to study numbers and statistics. I have been watching it work in elections ever since. It seems that many of our past presidents . . . Roosevelt, Kennedy, Hoover, Harry Truman, “Bill” Clinton, and “Jimmy” Carter . . . have had double letters in their names

Other presidents like Richard Nixon, with two “i’s” and two “n’s” and Dwight D. Eisenhower with two “d’s,” two “w’s,” two “i’s” and three “e’s” also held that high office.

We must wonder if Al Gore had chosen to use his full first name, Albert Gore, which offers two “e’s” and two “r’s” in the full name, history might have taken a different course in 2000. As it was, he came within a hare’s breath of winning that election anyway


Whether caused by a subconscious preference among American voters to choose names with double letters, or some other reason, there has been a pattern here that should be considered by candidates before they spend the money it takes to jump into a presidential, Senatorial or Congressional campaign.


This also suggests that the fate of the nation may not rest on voter common sense.


Alvin Greene may have a harder time defeating incumbent Senator Jim DeMint in November. DeMint has two “m’s” in his name. If he uses the name James DeMint on the ballot, he will have even more strength in the name because it adds a second “e.”

If the formula is correct, however, a name like Greene is going to be hard to beat. The man might even make a successful run for president in 2012 without lifting a finger.