Did you know?
President Donald J. Trump wasn’t the first political candidate in US politics to deny they lost an election because they believed the election was corrupt: The honor goes to back to the presidential election of 1876 where Democrat Samuel L. Tilden campaigned against Republican Rutherford B. Hayes (more about that later on).
As President Donald J. Trump – a so-called “Election Denier” – prepares to defend himself in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta Georgia against charges he “obstructed” the 2020 Presidential Election by engaging in “conspiracies against civil rights” here’s a handy chart summarizing America’s History of Election Deniers:
Getting back to the 1876 Presidential Election, after the election Democrat candidate Samuel L. Tilden claimed he won despite Republican candidate Rutherford B. Hayes winning the popular vote. Democrats accused the Republican-controlled states of Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina of not counting all the votes for Tilden and called the election a “political farce“:
“We can prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Louisiana and Florida voted for TILDEN in decisive majorities, and we are prepared to show up the villainous frauds of the Returning Boards. All we ask is investigation by this commission.”
- Messrs. Clifford, Field, Bayard, Abbott, Hunton, Therman, and Payne.
While editorials cried “Tilden or Blood!” and suggested the South would start a second Civil War where “bayonets would again gleam in Washington” the Republicans accused the Democrats of using the Ku Klux Klan to suppress the black vote or intimidate blacks not to vote for Hayes. With the Congress constitutionally required to find a solution the Democrats proposed they’d certify Hayes if the GOP ended the post-Civil War Reconstruction in the Democrat-controlled Southern states, and the GOP agreed. As a result, Hayes became President, Reconstruction ended, and the Democrat Party, particularly in Southern states they governed, practiced discrimination, segregation, and intimidation against the black population for the next 88 years – until Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 101 years after Republican Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves.
Finally, consider this: In 64 B.C. Marcus Tullius Cicero ran for Consul of Ancient Rome against at least three other candidates (Antonius, Catiline, and Gaius Coelious). His brother, Quintus Tullius Cicero, wanted Marcus to win so he wrote Marcus an essay describing what he needed to do to win. Called “De petitione consulatus” (“On the Request of the Consulate”), it provided a number of tips on how to win an election:
• Focus on your strengths and the goal.
• Use your speaking skills to deflect criticism.
• Realize the many supporters you have and use them to win.
• Cultivate relationships with the privileged elite.
• Gain influence with the youth, especially those of the privileged elite.
• Tell people just because your opponents are privileged doesn’t mean they’re qualified.
• Point out the character flaws of your opponents
(Cruel? Cheap? Philanderers? Thieves? Let the people know!)
• Run your campaign flawlessly, so opponents can’t use these same tactics.
Also called “Commentariolum Petitionis” (“Commentary on the Petition”), the essay included steps to running a successful campaign. You can read the entire short but insightful essay by clicking here. And, to read an excellent and detailed article on Cicero, his life, work, career, and death click here. Perhaps campaign strategies haven’t changed that much after all, might simple by Common Sense.
Thanks for Reading!