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July 30, 2021

Historical Echoes [Dave in Fla]


The Election of 1824

The election of 1824 represented the end of the Era of Good Feelings, and the rise of the party system in Presidential elections. After the war of 1812, the Federalist Party had collapsed, and in its wake twelve years of political unity was expressed by all candidates being members of the Democratic-Republican Party. This period came to a sudden end due to the contested election of 1824.

Four candidates were running for President: Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, William Crawford, and Henry Clay. When the election was over, Andrew Jackson had won 41% of the popular vote, and 99 electoral votes, while Adams had 31% of the popular vote and 84 electoral votes. Despite having won a plurality, Jackson lost the election in the US House of Representatives. During the contingent election, Henry Clay used his influence to have delegates ignore the instructions of their states, and vote for Adams instead. Andrew Jackson is the only candidate ever to have won a plurality of the electoral college, but lose the election. When Clay was offered the Secretary of State position, Jackson and his supporters were incensed, believing that Clay had been offered the position in exchange for his influence.

Many of you learned about this election in your history classes. What you may not be aware of is the positions of Andrew Jackson and the platform he ran on. While he was an immensely popular figure after his military success in Florida and at the Battle of New Orleans, he was also a populist and champion of the working class. His major driving issue was the elimination of growing corruption in the Federal Government. He was a vocal opponent of the Second Bank of the United States, believing that the institution existed solely to enrich the elites of the country. The economic crises of 1819 and 1820 broadly harmed the working class, a voting block that strongly supported Jackson nationwide during the election.

The Election of 1828

Andrew Jackson and his supporters did not go quietly into the night. The next four years was a continuous campaign as the nation divided into the Jacksonians and the Anti-Jacksonians. The congressional elections in 1826 were a harbinger of things to come, as the Jacksonians took 9 seats from the opposition, and control of the House. During this period more states converted to direct election of electors, leaving only South Carolina and Delaware where the legislatures chose electors.

Andrew Jackson was nominated for President by Tennessee in 1825, only months after John Quincy Adams was inaugurated. During the Adams presidency, the Jacksonians continued continuous criticism of the Administration, while support for the Jackson candidacy grew nationally under the backdrop of economic disparity between the industrial states in New England and mid-Atlantic vs. the more agrarian economies of the southern and the western states. In 1828, the "Tariff of Abominations" passed Congress, greatly impacting Adam's support after he signed it.

The campaign of 1828 was an ugly affair, with accusations leveled by both sides. Jackson's wife Rachel was accused of bigamy due to a legal mistake in her divorce, and she died of a heart attack weeks after the election. Andrew Jackson blamed his political opponents for her death. In the end Jackson won the election with 56% of the popular vote, and 178 electoral votes to Adam's 83.

Shortly after the election, the Jacksonians organized into the Democrat Party, and continued electoral domination for a generation, until the Civil War. Jackson easily won reelection in 1832, and his Presidency was focused on elimination of Federal corruption, the expansion of the United States into Western territories, and the relocation of Native Americans out of the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida (the Trail of Tears).

Similarities to the Present

There are a number of parallels between these elections and today. Jackson was a popular figure, a champion for the working class, and deeply critical of corruption in Washington. He was also denied the Presidency through chicanery. The nation was sharply divided between states with deeply divergent cultural values, turmoil that continued throughout the Adams presidency.

Jackson took the loss in 1824 personally and spent 4 years building a populist base that began to win politically in 1826, and then led to decisive victory in 1828. He served two terms, and was succeeded by his Vice President, Martin Van Buren.

While it is tempting to consider Trump to be a more divisive political figure than Andrew Jackson, that is debatable. The divisions within the country from 1824 to 1828 were deep. The personal animus between Jackson and Adams went unchecked during the Adams presidency.

Also, the Adams Presidency was filled with conflict. He was a strong proponent of expanding the role of the Federal government, in an era where there was a strong belief in the supremacy of the States. Adams was unable to enact most of his agenda, having angered those both in and out of his Administration with his message to Congress at the end of 1825. John Quincy Adams, his supporters, and his opponents established many of the hostile conditions that festered for 30 years, until finally leading to the Civil War.

The Price of Fraud

Election fraud is not new in the United States. There are now 5 Presidential elections that are believed to have been won through fraud and/or political dirty tricks. The election of Adams is considered the first, at least from the perspective of the Jacksonians. Once the electorate believes that their good faith participation in the political process was cast aside, they have historically reacted strongly against those who played those dirty tricks.

Shortly there is going to be convincing proof that the election was stolen from Trump in Arizona and Georgia. Possibly more audits will follow. In many ways the Republicans have already won the messaging war, since the narrative is that an audit is being conducted. That term alone wins the argument. Everyone knows what an audit is, and the only people who object are those with something to hide.

However, remember there is no Constitutional mechanism to overturn a Presidential or Senate election. The Arizona audit won't result in decertification of the election. Biden or Harris will be President until 2024.

The only way to get anyone to obey the rules is to expose that the rules were violated in the first place
- Robert Barnes, Civil Rights Attorney

What the audit does is show everyone in graphic detail that their votes were invalidated through fraud. It has already generated anger and determination in the next elections, and political support for election reform. The reason that Florida had a clean election is because the debacles in 2000 and 2018 forced the state to clean up its act. The voters have received a thorough education on election procedure, and for the first time are paying attention to how important Secretaries of State and Election Supervisors are. Election reform is polling with strong majority support nationwide.

Without a doubt, the Democrats will try to retain control through media manipulation, attempts to thwart election legislation, and additional fraud. It is a rational argument that they now wield sufficient power to ensure that future elections will be rigged in Democrat favor, perhaps through a new round of Covid lockdowns, abuse of election systems, or outright cancellation of elections.

But *if* historical precedent is predictive, then the proof of election fraud will result in voter maturation and a strong backlash against the Democrats in 2022 and 2024. Unfortunately, this will also result in the victory for bad actors on the Republican side who will win re-election and congressional power despite having betrayed the voters in 2020. It is up to the voters to be educated and hold those who betrayed us accountable in their primaries.

Regardless of whether the Democrats cheat their way to victory, or the GOP establishment holds onto power, there will be a surge of a populist, working class voting block over the next two elections. This block is can lead to victory, if someone is smart enough to leverage it. And if Andrew Jackson is a guide, it can last for a generation.

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:05 PM

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