After the elections (of Donald Trump as US President in 2016) there were many news reports of large-scale, mass protests throughout the US, for example:




Many more can be found on Google.

However, I cannot find news records of mass protests after the previous Obama or Bush elections.

Is this just an example of the media playing the news up, or is this actually the first time in recent history that mass protests have been organised against the new president immediately after the election?


Thank you for the answers and I like the answer by Timothy about the Abraham Lincoln election (which I will most likely select as the right answer unless there's a better one) but I was hoping to know about such protests happening in recent times (let's say after the 1950s, or if not, after the 1900s, if we need to specify a time frame), for reasons of unpopularity of the winning candidate. I was looking for something other than the answer given by John because protests against Bush were due to allegations of fraud in the election itself, while the current protests are due to the elected person being who he is. I am looking for similar cases.

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    Not exactly large-scale protests, but I'm a fan of the 1824 Corrupt Bargain.
    – robert
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 2:09
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    (-1) You call these protests large scale? There were no large scale protests this year. The title to the USA Today article you link says "Thousands across the USA protest Trump victory". In a country of 300 million, large scale would be at least 5 million. If Americans really cared, we'd see 50 million protesting. Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 3:12
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    @axsvl77 - Protests in the USA are rarely that large. Still, I'd say you'd probably have to get at least into the tens of thousands before even thinking about the term "large scale". My son's high school graduation ceremony had "thousands" of people at it.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 16:24
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    A "Million Woman March" is planned the day after Inaguration Day. If a million+ people do show up (which I think over that amount will), then you can classify this uprising as large scale. There is still a lot of time for things to swell larger. Calexit is potentially serious and will most likely be on the 2019 ballot in my opinion. Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 23:10
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    @BrockAdams Per your #3: Meanwhile, a million Koreans take the streets with little planning or coordination on short notice, normal people with jobs and families. What is it they know that Americans can't figure out? And per your #2, when normal Americans figure out that they can effectively protest, there will be little or no vandalism. But the US censors won't allow reporting other nations' peaceful protests and popular movements, so nobody will know that a general strike is an option. (S Korea has a pop of 50 million) Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 2:34

3 Answers 3


You could call this a 'large scale protest'. Following the Presidential election held on 6 November 1860, I assume once the votes were counted and reported by telegraph it was known by 7 or 8 November that Abraham Lincoln had won. The state legislature of South Carolina voted on 9 November to declare Lincoln's election a hostile act and initiated a process by which the state formally seceded from the United States the following month, hence the Confederacy and Civil War.

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    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 15:44

I don't recall hearing about protests after Obama's election, or inauguration.

George W Bush's election took until December 12th to become definite because of the lawsuits over the Florida voting and recounts. There were protests over that at his inauguration. You can find some more documentation easily with Google: here's an example search.

  • GWB's first inauguration was the one I immediately thought of as well. There are more parallels; in both cases the President-Elect won the election but lost the popular vote.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 19:39
  • Do you not count the rallies held by Glenn Beck as protests?
    – AHusain
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 8:35
  • I don't know about those: got a reference? Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 8:53
  • @AHusain Those were couple of month after Obama was elected for his first term, and weren't specifically anti-Obama demonstrations (at least not officially), so I don't think that's really what OP had in mind. I think something like the protests at the university of mississippi are more fitting, but they only involved 400 people.
    – tim
    Commented Nov 12, 2016 at 16:34
  • The inauguration of George W. Bush was a major event, as over half the attendees along the parade route were there for the protest, and it caused much of the area surrounding the route to be shut down.
    – Ber
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 5:51

Check Wikipedia: Controversial elections page

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    Being controversial does not necessarily imply that there were large scale protests (especially if they were only viewed as controversial outside of the country in question).
    – Steve Bird
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 21:26
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    and "controversial"? Since when is a democratically held election in which one candidate won without major fraud "controversial"? Only in the eyes of the disappointed losers maybe who're so disconnected from reality they are incapable of accepting any result that doesn't match their personal preferences.
    – jwenting
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 8:15
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    @jwenting outsider's perspective here: major source of controversy: popular vote goes one way, result goes the other way. minor source (and probably more of an issue here in the UK but I'll be general) candidate B is preferred over candidate A by a majority, but enough people prefer candidate C to vote for them as a protest while still expecting B to win. A wins as the vote is split.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 8:58
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    @jwenting I ave so far only seen reports of protests, not riots or looting, so can't comment on that. However I know there's no recent example in the US of the popular vote going the the right and the election to the left (2000 was similar to this time). In the UK 2015 election this could be argued to be the case (omitting the Lib Dems as too centrist to call). In that case there were spontaneous protests and a few arrests, nothing approaching rioting
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 9:59
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    Sidestepping the semantic issue of "protest" vs "riot" I think it's important to point out that progressive protesters/rioters are not protesting that the electoral process was unfair (unlike many conservatives who were declaring fraud in the weeks leading up to the election), but rather the policies and behavior of the president-elect. Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 20:52

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