Top 10 Most Controversial American Presidential Candidates

Throughout the history of democracy, American elections are held for every four years for the people to elect a new president. While it is always good for the masses to have a say inside their government, these occasions just bring out the most contentious of people.
The Top Ten
1 George Wallace George Corley Wallace Jr. was an American politician and the 45th Governor of Alabama, having served two nonconsecutive terms and two consecutive terms as a Democrat: 1963–1967, 1971–1979 and 1983–1987. Wallace has the third longest gubernatorial tenure in post-Constitutional U.S.

Aside from Goldwater, Wallace was the presidential candidate who was all for the segregation of whites and people of color, which obviously didn't go well with some Americans at the time. A committed segregationist, he tried to block the entrance of the University of Alabama to prevent black people from enrolling. He was quite successful in several southern states in 1968.

2 Barry Goldwater

Barry Goldwater was NOT a racist and should be revered by everyone. He supported racial equality but only opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for constitutional reasons. He himself said this was his greatest regret.

Your stereotypical Republican: anti-big government, laissez-faire capitalist, and all that stuff. An opponent of LBJ, he was against the Civil Rights Act, which earned him the support of the Ku Klux Klan. Fortunately, LBJ won the elections, and America didn't have a literal racist in office, possibly exacerbating race tensions.

3 Earl Browder

It was only in 1930s America that a communist could contend in elections. Earl Browder did just that, and he was no saint either. A pro-Soviet Stalinist and anti-capitalist, obviously this didn't sound too appealing for Americans at that time.

4 George Edwin Taylor

Of course, a black man wouldn't possibly win in racist America in the 1900s, which made him a rather controversial figure for his time.

5 Grover Cleveland Stephen Grover Cleveland was an American politician and lawyer who was the 22nd and 24th President of the United States, the only president in American history to serve two non-consecutive terms in office.

He was involved in a controversy where he fathered a secret love child, which nearly cost him his re-election bid. Certainly, this didn't sound well in America back then. His opponent's unpopularity was the only thing that made him win.

6 Donald Trump Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American businessman, television personality, politician, and the 45th President of the United States. Born and raised in Queens, New York City, Donald J. Trump received an economics degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1968... read more
7 David Duke David Ernest Duke is an American white supremacist, white nationalist politician, antisemitic conspiracy theorist, Holocaust denier and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

"Ex" Klan member. Former Grand Wizard of the Klan. "Former" member of the American Nazi Party. He was a candidate in the 1988 presidential primaries as a Democrat and in 1992 as a Republican.

8 Ted Cruz Rafael Edward "Ted" Cruz is an American politician and attorney serving as the junior United States Senator from Texas since 2013. He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 election.
9 Sarah Palin Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator, and author who served as the ninth Governor of Alaska from 2006 until her resignation in 2009. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 Presidential election running with the Republican presidential nominee, Arizona Senator... read more
10 Kanye West Ye (born Kanye Omari West; June 8, 1977) is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer and fashion designer. He is regarded as one of the most influential, as well as controversial, artists of the 21st century... read more
The Contenders
11 Pat Buchanan

A Reform Party candidate in 2000, his over-the-top campaign promises included barring non-whites from entering America, and he was openly homophobic as well. We had Dubya win the election, but at least he was marginally better than this bigot.

12 Chris Christie Christopher James "Chris" Christie is an American attorney, politician and member of the Republican Party who served as the 55th Governor of New Jersey. His term ended on January 23, 2018.
13 Woodrow Wilson Thomas Woodrow Wilson was an American politician and academic who served as the 28th President of the United States from 1913 to 1921. Born in Staunton, Virginia, he spent his early years in Augusta, Georgia and Columbia, South Carolina.
14 Marco Rubio Marco Antonio Rubio is an American politician and attorney, and the junior United States Senator from Florida.
15 Ben Carson Benjamin Solomon "Ben" Carson, Sr. is a retired American neurosurgeon and former candidate for President of the United States.
16 Huey Long

Granted, Long attempted to run for the presidency in 1936 before being assassinated, but I'll count him in anyways. Known as a populist demagogue and for his intimidation policies to further his agenda, his policies helped the state of Louisiana a lot, especially in the fields of infrastructure and education.

There are more things to list about him, but for his time, he was a de-facto "benevolent" dictator of an American state.

17 John Charles Frémont

A brave adventurer and millionaire, John Frémont was the first Republican candidate. The only problem surrounding him was his association with cannibalism, which cost him his chances of winning.

18 Eugene V. Debs

A socialist candidate, he was the Bernie Sanders of the 1900s. This gave him a lot of appeal for workers back then. But his most controversial act was to dodge the draft, which landed him in prison during WWI.

19 Ron Paul Ronald Ernest Paul is an American author, physician, and retired politician who served as the U.S. Representative for Texas's 22nd congressional district from 1976 to 1977 and again from 1979 to 1985, and for Texas's 14th congressional district from 1997 to 2013.
20 Victoria Woodhull

In the 1870s, a woman like Victoria obviously stood no chance during an era of traditionalist sexism, which made her a controversial figure at the time. She won only a few thousand supporters along the way.

The first woman to run for president. She actually had a lot of good morals, unlike some female politicians we see today.

21 John Edwards
22 Curtis LeMay
23 Ross Perot
24 Mike Huckabee
25 Bernie Sanders Bernard "Bernie" Sanders is an independent American Senator from Vermont and was a candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2016 and 2020 elections.
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