Friday. June 24, 2016.
Take 1800, for example:
The election of 1800 started as a bitter fight, but a legitimate one, over federal powers and the role of the president. Jefferson thought that Adams had overstepped his bounds and was guilty of “a monarchie masque,” a masked monarchy. It was a matter for sober constitutional debate, but the campaign soon devolved into personal attacks, with Adams’s followers winning the early rounds. It was intimated in many quarters that there was something sinister about a man with philosophical pursuits. Jefferson’s side answered back in a style just as slithering. Meanwhile, the animosity against Jefferson soared to a strangely flattering exuberance. Federalist predictions credited Jefferson with organizational skills even he would have envied. “Murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will be openly taught,” predicted a Connecticut newspaper, “---and practiced.”
---from Jefferson’s America: The President, the Purchase, and the Explorers Who Transformed a Nation by Julie M. Fenster.
And that election was between two of the greatest men in the history of the country. Jefferson won, by a whisker, and that was for the best, all in all. But we did end up with Aaron Burr as Vice-President and that turned out well, didn’t it?