Presidential elections have not always been easy going for everyone concerned, including for we the American people. In 2000, that presidential election was a real mess. First, a television network mistakenly announced the wrong projection on election night, and that led to an early concession call by Al Gore to George W. Bush. Gore withdrew his concession an hour later. The presidential election hung in limbo for the next 36-days as a political and legal war over how to resolve what was essentially a tie that took place.
George W. Bush was ultimately declared the winner after a divided Supreme Court ended the manual recount in Florida that some on the Left still claim might have produced a different outcome. The problem was not uncounted votes. Instead, the issue of fraud became obvious when the Left only wanted to count what they saw as votes for their side -- votes that the Left kept finding which miraculously only went to them and none to their opponent.
In the end, it was the closest presidential election in American history up to that time. How many votes separated them? Well, several hundred votes in Florida determined the winner out of more than 100 million ballots cast nationwide.
Here's something to think about. If you think that this is just a symptom of recent times, don't. The presidential election of 1876 was a real mess. And frankly, because its resolution was left to Congress and the Supreme Court, it had horrible consequences for the nation for almost a century. Consequences that cost the lives of many black and poor white Americans in the South.
In that election, the Democrat candidate emerged with the lead in the popular vote, but 19 electoral votes from four states were in dispute. It was a long and drug out election where Congress was forced to get involved. In fact, in January of 1877, Congress was forced to convene to settle the election.
In 1876, the nation went to the polls to elect President Ulysses S.Grant’s successor. The candidates were Democrat Samuel Tilden, Governor of New York, versus Republican Rutherford B. Hayes, Governor of Ohio. Tilden emerged with a lead of more than 260,000 popular votes. Though that was the case, Tilden only had 184 electoral votes. He was one electoral vote shy of the number needed to defeat Hayes.
The returns from three states, Louisiana, Florida, and South Carolina, were being disputed, with both sides claiming victory. Together, the states represented 19 electoral votes, which along with one disputed elector from Oregon, would be enough to swing the election in favor of Hayes.
Since the U.S. Constitution did not provide a way of resolving the dispute, Congress would have to decide. As anyone knows, that meant politics and deal-making. At the time, Democrats controlled the House of Representatives, and Republicans controlled the Senate. Yes, like today in 2020.
To find a solution, a political solution, the House and the Senate created a bipartisan electoral commission with five representatives and five senators. The commission also included five Supreme Court justices. In the end, after a series of votes along strict party lines, the commission awarded Rutherford B. Hayes all three of the contested states in early March of 1877. Their decision made him the winner of the presidential election of 1876 -- by a single electoral vote.
Soon after his inauguration, Hayes made good on his promise, ordering federal troops to withdraw from Louisiana and South Carolina, where they had been protecting Republican administrators and freed blacks. Hayes effectively ended the Reconstruction Era and began 100 years of Democratic Party control of the South.
So now, what sort of deal was struck to get the commission to vote for Hayes over Tilden? Well, that has to do with what became known as the Compromise of 1877. The fact is, as the electoral commission deliberated, politicians from both parties met in secret to hash out what become known as the Compromise of 1877. That so-called "compromise" ended Reconstruction and resulted in almost a hundred years of Democratic Party control and institutional racism in the South.
For his part, Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes agreed to place a Democrat Southerner on his cabinet. Hayes agreed to hand over control of the South to Democrat state governments. He promised and did, in fact, removed federal troops stationed in the South. Of course, along with removing all federal troops from the South, Hayes refused to use federal troops to intervene in riots and violations of the Civil Rights of blacks in the South. Let's be clear here, to get the presidency, Hayes effectively made freed blacks targets of terrorism, abuse, intimidation, and murder by the militant arm of the Democratic Party -- the Ku Klux Klan.
On their part, Democrats agreed not to dispute Hayes's election. They also agreed to respect the Civil Rights of black citizens. It was something Democrats had no intention of respecting. The Hayes administration period is one marked with horrible violations of Civil Rights and murder of black Americans with the federal government refusing to act. It is marked with Democrats in state offices reverse most of the Reconstruction policies put in place.
Democrats controlling the South did not honor their agreement to safeguard the rights of both black and poor white citizens. In fact, they did the opposite and reigned terror on blacks and whites alike, disenfranchised black and poor white voters, and ensured racial segregation by imposing Jim Crow laws, which endured until the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.
Everything that took place due to the mess that was the presidential election of 1876 simply demonstrates what sort of ill can come out by leaving an election to the Congress and the Supreme Court to decide. As a result of that agreement, America paid a horrible price with churches and homes being burned to the ground, families terrorized, both black and white Americans whipped and murdered, lynched in many cases. To me, the resolution to the presidential election of 1876 was a pact with the Devil.