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Friday, May 29, 2015

Presidential Losers #15: Lewis Cass and Martin van Buren

Martin Van Buren
Lewis Cass
In 1848, Zachary Taylor was going to be a tough man to beat.  His contemporaries compared him to George Washington and Andrew Jackson, but the truth is, in terms of total yardage gained, his stats were better than those two combined.  He soundly defeated Santa Anna and his Mexican army, driving them out of Texas once and for all.  These days if Mexicans want to visit Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma, they can get a green card or sneak in across the river the way God intended.  


Remaining opposition divided on the slavery issue.  Anti-slavery Democrats didn’t trust Lewis Cass and split to form the anti-slavery Free Soil Party, nominating former Presidential Loser and Wizard-of-Oz look-alike, Martin van Buren.  But Marty didn't split the vote as much as hoped.

There were many reasons the election went the way it did: sectional divisions, anti-slavery sentiment, yadda-yadda-yadda, but the real reason in my humble opinion was the quality of the campaign songs.  

Here's what Zachary's camp came up with: "Then go it boys, strong and steady, and raise a shout for Rough and Ready, rum-a-dum-dum."  Makes you want to go right out and vote, doesn't it?  Especially the "rum-a-dum-dum."  That's just pure rhetorical gold. 

Now compare it to what Lewis Cass supporters sang: "Heed not disunion's croaking voice, expose each dark and damning plan; elect the leader of your choice - the gallant Cass of Mich-i-gan."  

Louie's guys should have known better than to start a campaign song with "heed not."  That's just asking for trouble.  Plus the whole thing is a plain downer.  Exposing dark and damning plans isn't as rousing as "going it," especially when the ones instructed to "go it" are "boys."  We know even before we get there we'll be going strong and steady for Rough and Ready, and we'll be raising shouts to boot.
War-Hero Zachary won handily with 163 electoral votes to Lewis’ 127, and poor Marty received – drum roll – ZERO!  That’s right, no electoral votes whatsoever, making him the precise opposite of George Washington who was elected by unanimous acclamation, van Buren was rejected by unanimous acclamation.


Zachary Taylor: 163
Lewis Cass: 127
Martin van Buren: 0

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