Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Echoes of the Election of 1876?

I accept the reality of coincidence, but not of omens. And that's good because I just finished reading the historical novel 1876 by Gore Vidal. It was kind of a slog as the author spent the bulk of the book setting the real social, socialite and political landscape in our centennial year, at the dawn of the gilded age in New York and Washington DC through the daily activities of the fictional protagonists.
I'm glad I finished though, because unbeknownst to me the book culminated in the presidential "election" of 1876, where the totally power hungry and corrupt Grant Administration and his (already no longer Lincoln's) Republicon Party used deceit, falsified returns from swing states and dueling sets of electors to throw the outcome into Congress.
NY Gov. Samuel Tilden won both the popular vote and the electoral college and was the rightful winner. But Republicons in several states submitted alternate returns and then sent alternate sets of electors for the electoral college. An extra-constitutional commission including members of Congress and the Supreme court ultimately handed power to the loser of the election, OH Gov. Rutherfraud B. Hayes.
Totally not an omen, couldn't happen today as we still have two parties with honest actors, integrity, respect for our democratic norms and traditions and strongly committed to our Republic, majority rule and the peaceful transfer of civil power that has been the hallmark of our democracy since George Washington willing stepped down. Yeah, just a coincidence!

1 comment:

Lika said...

Yeah, for sure. Sarcasm noted.