Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Ripped From Yesteryear Headline Anointing of His Fraudulency Suddenly Was Viral Again

The right wing echo chamber was abuzz comparing their claims of a stolen election with the 1876 contest was decided by an Electoral Commission.  More mainstream outlets like Salon also considered the case.

Getting nostalgic for those final weeks of the last Resident as one by one his ludicrous attempts to over-turn the Presidential election results were shot down by the courts?  His last desperate attempt focused on January 6, the day that a joint session of Congress was scheduled to certify the Electoral College results and officially declare a winner.  You will recall how that turned out, insurrection and all.

The Cheeto hung his hopes on the slender thread that Vice President Mike Pence would simply refuse to certify the votes on the basis of the unproven claims of fraud in vote counting.  In this fantasy scenario Congress would then appoint a supposedly bi-partisan commission to investigate the claims.  The supposed precedent for the Commission was one created but never used to decide the 1876 contest between Democrat Samuel Tilden, who had won the nationwide popular vote by a substantial margin, and Republican Rutherford B. Hays

The Commission, stacked against the Democrats, handed the Electoral votes of four states to Hays declaring him the winner.  Democrats mulled protesting the decision in the streets creating a Constitutional crisis but instead agreed to a brokered compromise allowing the Republican to be sworn into office in exchange for ending the occupation of former Confederate states by the Army which was protecting the rights of Freedmen in the South.

Let’s take a look back at stories about f*cked up U.S. Presidential elections.   We are in the early stages of a lulu.  There have been plenty of screwy elections, none 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.  Five times in fact.  Six 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.

George W. Bush waltzed into office thanks to those Florida hanging chads, and a stupefying corrupt decision of the Supreme Court.

Then in 2016 a former reality show host with an inflated reputation as billionaire business genius lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton but was able to claim an Electoral College landslide due to the unfair quirks of that system of electing chief executives.  But until then the most famous minority president was Rutherford B. Hayes.

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.

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. 

And indeed Tilden carried the popular vote by a not insignificant 250,000 vote lead out of 8.5 million ballots cast.  Other presidents were elected by more slender margins.  But in the Electoral College, Tilden came up just one vote shy with the results from four states—Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Oregon still contested. 

If the Electoral votes of the three states from the old Confederacy were counted for the Democrats, Tilden would be an easy victor.  Fearing civil unrest if the election was determined by the Republican controlled House of Representatives, Congress decided to appoint the Bi-Partisan Commission to decide the contested electoral votes. 

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.

The commission was to be composed of 7 Republican, 7 Democrats and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the supposedly independent David Davis in whom both parties had confidence.  But before the Commission could act, Davis resigned his seat on the Court and on the Commission to take a Senate seat from Illinois.  Another Justice, a Republican, replaced him on the Commission.  The Commission then voted along party lines 8-7 to award all of the disputed electoral votes to Hayes. 

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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