Abraham Lincoln was NOT A Third Party Candidate, Dammit!

This has always been a pet poli -sci nerd peeve of mine, even more so now that Gary Johnson supporters are using it. Let’s review some historical facts, shall we?

  1. The two major parties in America from 1833-1854 were the Democrats and the Whigs. The last Whig majority in the House was the 30th Congress (1847-1849) and their last Senate majority was the 28th Congress (1843-1845). The Whigs were annihilated in the presidential election of 1852, carrying only 4 states with a total of 42 electoral votes for Winfield Scott versus 27 states and 254 electoral votes for Franklin Pierce. Clearly, the party was already on its last legs.
  2. There were four candidates for the presidency in 1860: Lincoln for the Republicans, his longtime rival Stephen A. Douglas for the Democrats, sitting Vice President John C. Breckenridge for a breakaway faction of rabidly pro-slavery Southern Democrats, and John Bell for the hastily-assembled “Compromise party,” the Constitutional Unionists. The Whigs couldn’t even drum up a candidate. In fact, they had already been reduced to lamely endorsing the Know Nothings in 1856;
  3. The Republicans were already a major force in Congress, despite having only been formed in 1854. The 34th Congress (1855-1857) started with 9 Republican Senators and only 8 Whigs; it ended with 13 Republicans and 7 Whigs. In the House, all of the non-Democratic members united in an Opposition Party. The 35th Congress (1857-1859) ended with 20 Republican senators and no Whigs; 92 Republican House members and no Whigs. At the time of the 1860 election, Congress had a majority of 26 Republican senators and 116 Republican House members. Again, there were no Whigs left.
  4. By any reasonable measure, then, the two major political parties in America by at least 1860 were the Democrats and the Republicans. Lincoln was not by any stretch of the imagination, a third party candidate.

Rant completed.

Published in: on October 11, 2016 at 8:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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George Washington: America-Hating Socialist

Good article about George Washington’s Administration, it’s economic policies, and the tendency to conflate “capitalism” (meaning our current syndicalist system) and “America” or “democracy”.  Puts me in mind of an Abraham Lincoln quote a colleague recently used on Facebook:  “The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as his liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty. Plainly, the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of liberty.”

Published in: on August 16, 2010 at 2:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Today In History…

…Abraham Lincoln is born in Hardin County, Kentucky (1809).  And if he were alive today, he would never be allowed within a light-year of the modern Republic Party.

Published in: on February 12, 2009 at 5:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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As the Republican Party dwindles into obscurity as a regional party of the Deep South, they are finding it harder and harder to avoid ugly blatant displays of racism.  It is starting to look like the ignominious beginning of the end for the party of Abraham Lincoln.

Published in: on December 29, 2008 at 5:27 pm  Comments (1)  
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Column for 9 November, 2008

Bending the Arc of History


“The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.  This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

                                                                                                            –Psalms 118:22-24


And so history is made, as America—a nation whose original sin was slavery—elects her first African-American president.  Could any of the men gathered in Philadelphia in 1776, even those like John Adams and Benjamin Franklin opposed to slavery, have foreseen something like this?  Did Abraham Lincoln ever imagine that someday a black man would hold a US Senate seat from Illinois, something he had sought and lost?  That this same man would go on to live in the White House he occupied for four long bloody years?  Lincoln was probably the only politician in America in 1865 capable of truly understanding that America had endured a social and political revolution as much as a military revolution in the Civil War.  For that reason, I like to think that the man whom freed slaves called Father Abraham would be proud and pleased with the election result, though probably somewhat miffed that the first African-American president is a Democrat and not a Republican.  If CNN or MSNBC could reach him for comment, I’m sure he would wryly observe that, having carried the burden of the presidency himself, he did not know whether to congratulate Barack Obama or offer his condolences.  In his (more…)

Published in: on November 8, 2008 at 8:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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