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Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20, Presidential Losers: Horatio Seymour

Horatio Seymour, 1868

Following the Civil War everyone seemed to be in a grumpy mood; it was like the whole nation woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  Ulysses S Grant, who neither sought the nomination nor made any effort to campaign, had nevertheless outlined a detailed post-war policy which ran thus: “Let us have peace.” 1 This seemed to make good sense, but Democrats weren’t having it.  During the campaign, Republicans stuck to important issues of the election, pointing out that Seymour’s father had committed suicide and therefore it was a sure thing Seymour himself was a loony, and you’d better vote for Grant unless you wanted a nut-job picking flowers off the wallpaper in the Oval Office.  (The beard alone is enough to make you doubt his sanity.  What was he thinking?)  In spite of these soundly reasoned arguments, and having several southern states in the hands of Radical Republicans who’d jolly well make sure the votes went for Grant, and the fact that Texas, Mississippi, and Virginia had not been readmitted to the Union, and so couldn’t vote at all, the popular vote was alarmingly close as far as Republicans were concerned: 3,013,650 for Grant, and 2,708,744 for Seymour.  What’s worse, Seymour won New York, which the Republicans never saw coming.  Had women been allowed to vote, Seymour might well have been president instead of Grant. 2 After this, Republican campaign managers learned their lesson and concentrated less on personal attacks in future elections, sticking to tried-and-true method of voter fraud.

Result

Ulysses S Grant: 214
Horatio Seymour: 80

1. Supporters loved pointing out Grant's initials were "US."  They were also "UG."
2. In the assault of Cold Harbor alone, casualities were 52,000 Union Soldiers and 37,000 Confederates, meaning a potiental 89,000 widows champing at the bit to vote Democrat.


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