Media Ignore Nation’s History of Elections Tainted by Threats, Disputes

Craig Bannister | November 1, 2016
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Whatever you think of Donald Trump, don’t buy into the media fabrication that it would be unprecedented for a presidential candidate to not accept election results or assert that an election was rigged.

You might write it off to some reporters having no sense of history – but, they’d only have to go back to the 2000 election to see that this is nothing new.

“Al Gore accepted defeat, but only after 36 days of litigating the election,” Fred Lucas, the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections,” explained to MRCTV in an exclusive interview.

The book is a political thrill ride through four of the wildest presidential election aftermaths in U.S. history - elections that were decided more than a month after the the votes were cast. A common thread among these elections is that large segments of Americans considered their president to be illegitimate.

“Andrew Jackson never accepted the 1824 election outcome,” Lucas explained. “He just never stopped campaigning against what he called the ‘corrupt bargain’ until he actually won the presidency in 1828.”

Lucas’s book compares Jackson with Trump, detailing how both were political outsiders with big personalities willing to use colorful language who landed on the scene just when the public had become fed up with the reigning political class.

And, just as post-election polarization has been around for a couple hundred years, October surprises are also nothing new, Lucas explains.

“Before Trump’s lewd ‘Access Hollywood’ video and before the FBI reopened the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails, the original October Surprise came in 1800,” Lucas told MRCTV. “That’s when Alexander Hamilton’s scathing letter about President John Adams leaked out to the press and rocked the Federalist party, creating enough of a wedge for Thomas Jefferson get elected.”

Jefferson was only elected after his ingrate of a running mate, Aaron Burr, challenged him because of the Electoral College tie that was decided after 35 votes in the House of Representatives, Lucas notes.

The other election profiled in the book is 1876 - the Hayes-Tilden standoff - from which the book’s title is derived. President Grant (who actually presided over a quite corrupt administration himself) said, “The country cannot afford to have the result tainted by suspicion of illegal or false returns.”

Today, the left claims (without evidence) that Trump supporters will engage in a violent insurrection if he loses - threats that liberal media claim have never before been made in politics.

But, “Tainted by Suspicion” reminds us that, in 1876, Democrats (led by Joseph Pulitzer, whom today’s journalists admire) helped lead the “Tilden or blood” movement. Samuel Tilden, who led in the popular vote that year, lost the election to Rutherford Hayes after the deal was made to end Reconstruction in the South.

Still, when Trump suggested he might not accept the result of the election on election night, liberal media had a fit:

  • The indignant New York Times declared Trump had “contempt for democracy.”
  • The flabbergasted Washington Post claimed this was a “breathtaking repudiation of American democracy.”
  • An aghast Newsday columnist assured us it was “unprecedented.”
  • Rolling Stone even insisted that calling an election “rigged” is racist.

Apparently, they’d all conveniently forgotten that, just eight years ago, President Barack Obama warned about rigged elections in a 2008 town hall meeting.

The media have argued that Trump’s rhetoric will undermine the public’s faith in the integrity of the elections. But, they seem far less interested in Hillary Clinton’s insistence that Russian Vladimir Putin is meddling with the U.S. election - which could arguably cast as much doubt on the outcome as a rigged claim.

Long before Trump’s talk of a rigged election, the nation doesn’t seem to have been shaken to its knees by past disputes. And so, while Trump may well be an unorthodox candidate in an unusual election - at least in terms of raising red flags about the election system - he’s hardly been unprecedented.