A dual ticket in which the running mate is believed to be more impressive than the principal candidate. This relationship is analogous to a kangaroo’s legs: its hindquarters are more powerful than its front legs.
The term may have been coined during the 1932 presidential election between Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) and Herbert Hoover (R). Many Democrats of the day considered Roosevelt to be a weak nomination. When John Nance Garner (Speaker of the House) was picked as Roosevelt’s running make, one Democrat complained, “It’s a kangaroo ticket: stronger in the hindquarters than in the front.”
Andrew Jackson, who hailed from the Tennessee frontier, was the first “people’s candidate”-the kind of guy voters could imagine having a beer with. When he won the 1828 election, his opponents complained that his uncouth ways would bring degradation on the office of the president. The post-inaugural celebration seemed to prove their point. Rowdy Jackson supporters streamed into the White House, muddying carpets, trampling furniture and smashing priceless china in their rush to get at the refreshments. Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, an aghast witness, records, “I never saw such a mixture. The reign of King Mob seemed triumphant.” The chaos only subsided when someone thought to set buckets of punch out on the lawn. The thirsty partiers soon followed.