The 2016 United States presidential election took place on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. Voters turned out to elect the President and the Vice President of the United States.
President Garrett Walker had resigned in 2014 in the wake of his Administration's dealings with Raymond Tusk and Xander Feng regarding money laundering and political contributions, but before doing so, he appointed Frank Underwood as Vice President via the Twenty-fifth Amendment after Jim Matthews resigned to run for his former position as Governor of Pennsylvania to replace the late Peter Russo as the Democratic nominee. Underwood was thus the second sitting President who had never been elected to national office. Saddled with Congressional leadership that had expressed their distaste for him, Underwood first faced serious opposition from within his own party. Despite initially announcing that he would not run for reelection due to the lack of support from the Democratic Congressional leadership, Underwood reneges on his promise to not run in 2016 after having unsuccessfully advocated for America Works in Congress. He was challenged for the Democratic Party's nomination by both former Solicitor General and special prosecutor Heather Dunbar and former House Majority Whip and incumbent Assistant House Minority Whip Jackie Sharp. He eventually secured the nomination, and the contested 2016 Democratic National Convention selected First Lady Claire Underwood to be his running mate.
- Frank Underwood, 46th President of the United States 2014-2017; Vice President of the United States 2013-2014; House Majority Whip 2005-2013; U.S. Representative from South Carolina's 5th congressional district 1991-2013
- Heather Dunbar, former U.S. Solicitor General; former special prosecutor to investigate the Walker Administration's dealings with Raymond Tusk and Xander Feng regarding money laundering and political contributions (withdrew in Chapter 46)
- Jackie Sharp, Assistant House Minority Whip 2015-present; House Majority Whip 2013-2015; U.S. Representative from California's 5th congressional district 2009-present (withdrew in Chapter 37, endorsed Heather Dunbar)
Hector Mendoza, U.S. Senator from Arizona and Senate Majority Leader, was named as a strong contender for the Republican nomination in the 2016 election for President of the United States by Bob Birch, but neither Birch nor Mendoza would confirm or deny this to Underwood. Mendoza later resigned amidst a scandal of accepting undeclared payments for speeches and was replaced as Senate Majority Leader by Senator Henry Mitchell.
In May 2015, Governor Will Conway of New York formally announced his candidacy, and in the following months gained 30 points among GOP primary voters (beginning his candidacy with 18 percent support), with 48 percent support shortly after (his presumed win in) the Iowa caucuses. Conway later clinched the nomination and chose General Ted Brockhart as his running mate.
On Election Day, voter turnout was 30% lower than the previous presidential election due to a false sense of fear popularized by the Underwood administration.The Underwood ticket received the plurality of the electoral vote, where as the Conway ticket won the popular vote, but no candidate received the necessary 270 electoral votes required by the Constitution to be elected President due to two states, Tennessee and Ohio, having refused to certify their election results. As Conway was closing in on winning the election after Pennsylvania was called in his favor, President Underwood publicly called Conway to concede the election to look innocent, but secretly used NSA employee Aiden Macallan to create false evidence of threats on voting centers in Tennessee and Ohio to stop those states' from continuing their vote and ultimately suspending the entire election.
Based on the Twelfth Amendment, the election for President was to be decided by the House of Representatives between the top two candidates: Underwood and New York Governor Will Conway of the Republican Party (and the election for Vice President, between Claire Underwood and General Ted Brockhart, by the Senate). But, after neither Underwood nor Conway obtained a majority of 26 votes, and with Claire Underwood having succeeded in winning the Senate vote, newly sworn-in Vice President Claire Underwood began serving as Acting President immediately upon taking office, serving until a President could be elected. Eventually, a full revote in the two contested states of Tennessee and Ohio, rather than proceeding with the vote in the House of Representatives, was called for by Congress. The Underwood ticket then secured victory via winning the revote, having been aided by the release of inappropriate dual audio recordings of the opposing ticket. With Underwood elected President, he was inaugurated soon after. Frank Underwood is the first Democrat to lose the popular vote, but win the electoral college.
On March 15, 2017, amid scandal, President Francis J. Underwood resigned the office of President of the United States. Vice President, First Lady, and Former Acting President of the United States, Claire Hale Underwood, was inaugurated as the 47th President of the United States, with seemingly no intent on pardoning President Francis Underwood for his crimes.