Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Anointing of His Fraudulency

In the Presidential  election of 1876 Democrat Samuel Tilden, right, won the popular vote but Republican Rutherford B, Hayes wound up in the White House anyway.

Don’t you just love stories about f*cked up U.S. Presidential elections?   We are in the early stages of a lulu.  Who knows who will be left standing in November, if the results will be clear cut, or if we will descend into protracted drama? As we have seen in previous posts, there have been plenty of screwy elections.  None are more embarrassing than when the winner of the popular vote somehow doesn’t end up with his feet up on a desk in the White House.  It has happened more often than you probably suspect.  Four times in fact.  Five for those who believe Richard J. Daley stole more votes for John F. Kennedy in Chicago than Republican bosses stole downstate.
In 1824 John Quincy Adams lost the popular vote to Andrew Jackson by a slim 44,804 votes nationwide but won when the election was thrown into the House of Representatives and a third candidate, Henry Clay swung his votes to Adams.  Then Adams then appointed Clay Secretary of State.  This pissed off Jackson who raged against a corrupt bargain and went on to create the modern Democratic Party to whip the New Englander’s ass in the next election.
In 1888 Benjamin Harrison deprived Grover Cleveland of a second consecutive term despite losing by 95,713 votes.  Four years later the Democrat was back in office, the only man ever to serve two non-consecutive terms.
But until George W. Bush, those hanging chads, and a stupefying corrupt decision of the Supreme Court, the most famous minority president was Rutherford B. Hayes.
On March 2, 1877 Hayes became the first person selected for the Presidency by a Bi-Partisan Commission. 
Hayes won the Republican nomination only after the leading candidate James G. Blaine failed in six ballots to win the majority of delegates at the party convention.  A bland non-entity picked because “he offended no one,” Hayes went into the election an underdog to Democrat Samuel Tilden.  
Despite loosing the popular vote, Hays won the Electoral College by a scant one vote after a controversial Bi-Partisan Commission awarded the disputed votes of South Carolina, Florida, Louisiana, and Oregon to the Republican.

Senator James Garfield and Southern Democrats, however, worked out an agreement to prevent trouble.  Hayes would withdraw the last Federal troops from the South, end Reconstruction, and appoint at least one Southerner to his Cabinet. By prematurely ending protection for black voters and office holders in the South, this bargain ushered in the era of Jim Crow, rigid segregation, and disenfranchisement of freed Blacks.
The deal embittered Democrats, especially Northerners who got nothing out of it and the evolving big city, working class machine voters who understandably called the new president His Fraudulency.

Staunchly Republican Harper's Weekly portrayed the outcome this way.

Although the onset of open class war with the Great Railway Strike of 1877 and continuing fierce Indian warfare in the West provided plenty of national excitement, Hayes’s single term reign in Washington marked by inaction of the hottest political issue of the day—Civil Service Reform and turning a blind eye to rising White terrorism in the South.  He is best remembered now as the first of the long beard Presidents and because his devout teetotaling wife, Lemonade Lucy gave stupefyingly dull dry dinners and receptions. 
Garfield got the Republican nomination next time around.  We all know how well that turned out.

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