The Dis-United States: Dirty Campaigning

This disturbs a lot of people. They want political campaigns to revert to an earlier time when things were more genteel. OK, when was that? Let’s see. What about Thomas Jefferson when he ran for election to the Virginia House of Burgesses? Tradition required candidates to buy liquor for their voters and lots of it. Mr. Jefferson did that? Yes, he did. And so did George Washington. And everyone else.

When Abraham Lincoln first campaigned for a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives, people threw vegetables at the candidates they didn’t like. At one gathering, someone threw a cabbage at Lincoln while he was speaking. “Someone seems to have lost their head,” he commented to the crowd.

When Grover Cleveland ran for election to the Presidency, the press revealed he had an illegitimate child. Mobs ran after him in the streets yelling, “Ma, Ma, where’s my pa?” Cleveland won. His Republican opponent Blaine, was the object of a better rhyme, “Blaine, Blaine, James G. Blaine, the continental liar from the State of Maine.” No doubt you will be astonished to read that Blaine was accused, apparently with good reason, for being the tool of powerful rail road interests, then the most powerful industry in the country.

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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