In the 1888 election, the key issue was tariffs. President Cleveland had set the tone in his 1887 State of the Union address when he showed support for lowering the protective tariff that safeguarded domestic industry. This was in stark contrast to the Republicans, who wanted to increase tariffs in a bid to attract consumers towards domestic goods, rather than imported ones. Cleveland was nominated to run for a second term and, on the Republican side, Benjamin Harrison was nominated after many contenders and multiple ballots. There were also candidates put forward by the Prohibition and Equal Rights parties. The election results were unusual and historical. Harrison won the majority of the electoral vote but lost the popular vote, yet still managed 233 votes to Cleveland’s 168. It was one of the very few occasions in history when the winning candidate has lost the popular vote.
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