I’m guessing we are going to see one of the nastiest elections in a long time, but by no means the first. It all started in 1800 after the Washington honeymoon was over. One thing we have going for us today is the ability to check most facts and claims … if we make the effort to do so. On the other hand, the perpetrators of propaganda and their legions of uniformed, ideologue potential voters easily spread their virus via social media.
We are in for a bumpy ride with no possibility of a stellar outcome consistent with the ideals upon which America was founded.
Just an FYI; here is a summary of the 1800 election. Jefferson and Adams didn’t communicate with each other for many years after the election, but in their later years resumed corresponding until their deaths on the same day which happened to be the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
In case you’re wondering exactly how down-and-dirty these campaigns got, consider the fact that this is the only election in history where a vice president has run against the president he was currently serving under. You can imagine that things were a little tense in the White House in the months leading up to the election. Jefferson hired a writer to pen insults rather than dirty his own hands (at least at first).
One of his most creative lines said that Adams was a “hideous hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman.” Adams’ Federalists carried things even further, asking voters, “Are you prepared to see your dwellings in flames… female chastity violated… children writhing on the pike? GREAT GOD OF COMPASSION AND JUSTICE, SHIELD MY COUNTRY FROM DESTRUCTION.” I bet the Federalists would be so very upset to know that Jefferson was immortalized in 1936 as one of America’s great presidents on Mount Rushmore. After such a nasty election, Congress passed the Twelfth Amendment, stating that the nominee to get the second-most number of votes would no longer be elected vice president.