Was there really a Communist presidential nominee or political party in the 1876 election?

Was there really a Communist presidential nominee or political party in the 1876 election?

In David Leip's political atlas, it says that 'Communist' gained 32 votes in the 1876 presidential election. The name of the candidates and the state where these votes were counted doesn't appear.

Of course 32 votes isn't many, but I'm surprised even the word was in use back then. Is this website kosher?


The term 'communist' is actually pretty old, here is an example of it being used in a 1777 philosophical book. Karl Marx was developing his ideas in the early/mid 1800's, and the English Communist League was established in 1847. So, it's entirely possible that a 'Communist Party' could have gotten votes in the 1876 US presidential election.

However, the only American party that could have been labeled as such (that I could find) is the Socialist Labor Party, conveniently established in 1876, which itself was formed from an earlier Illinois party. Everything I've found on them seems to refer to the political parties as socialist and not communist. It's certainly possible that somebody called them communists, or that David Leip is simply using 'communist' to mean 'socialist'.

I couldn't find (in an admittedly short search) any records of the party getting any votes in 1876, or even who their nominee was if they participated. 32 votes is tiny enough to not have been meaningfully recorded if it did happen, and hard to fully disprove if the claim is just made up. If the website doesn't site any sources for its info then you have no reason to believe it, though the claim definitely is something that could have happened.


Charlie Crist and 21 Most-Famous Political Party Switchers of All Time

Nov. 5, 2013— -- intro: Charlie Crist announced Monday that he would run again for his old job as governor of Florida, with one major difference: He's running as a Democrat.

Republican Crist served as Florida's governor from 2007 to 2011. The charismatic former governor was a star in the GOP during his tenure. He cited Ronald Reagan as his role model, and was even considered to be John McCain's running mate in 2008.

But when he decided to run for an open U.S. Senate seat in 2010, he was challenged on the right by then-Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Marco Rubio. This prompted Crist to run as an independent, which did not fare well for him, and he eventually lost the race.

Crist, 57, has since become increasingly moderate and even endorsed President Obama's 2012 re-election bid. Then, in December 2012, the former governor made his party switch official, and registered as a member of the Democratic Party.

Crist, however, is not the first notable politician to effectively switch political parties during the course of his or her career. ABC News has compiled a list of 21 famous figures who jumped ship to become members of political parties they once opposed.

quicklist: 1title: Ronald Reagan text: Although he is the one president who is near universally revered among Republicans, Ronald Reagan used to be a Democrat before he changed his party affiliation to Republican in 1962.

Reagan, who was president of the Screen Actors Guild before being elected governor of California in 1966, was fiercely anti-Communist. He supported presidential candidates who shared this view, such as Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon. Reagan even challenged incumbent President Gerald Ford in the 1976 Republican primary. Though he lost that race, he eventually beat President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.

As president, Reagan supported other conservative policies like limited government and lower taxes. Despite this, some of Reagan's previously held Democratic beliefs, such as ridding the world of nuclear weapons, stayed with him throughout his presidency, which he held for two terms from 1981 to 1989.

When he did formally switched parties, Regan said he never really left the Democratic Party, but rather, the Democratic Party left him. media: 16580953

quicklist: 2title: Hillary Clintontext: As a teenager, she volunteered and campaigned for Republican Richard Nixon's presidential campaign, worked for Republican Barry Goldwater's campaign in 1964 and was even elected president of Wellesley College's Young Republicans Club.

That's right, Hillary Clinton was once a member of the GOP.

But in the early 1970s, Clinton left the Republican Party and has never looked back. Clinton decided to leave the Republican Party because of policy issues like the Vietnam War, and began to help campaign for candidates like Eugene McCarthy.

Clinton, a beloved member of the Democratic Party, has arguably the most impressive political resume of any party member. She has held the position of first lady, U.S. senator from New York, primary candidate for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and, most recently, secretary of state.

Clinton took a much needed break from politics after finishing her term as secretary of state, and has recently returned to the political stage, bringing back much support and speculation of a 2016 run. media: 19913960

quicklist: 3title: Theodore Roosevelt text: Teddy Roosevelt's call for a new political party came after he left the White House. His former secretary of war, William Taft, had secured the presidency in 1908 with Roosevelt's recommendation, but tension developed between the two as Taft's politics became more conservative.

Roosevelt decided to seek the presidency again in 1912, but he was sidelined by incumbent Taft's control of the Republican Party. So Roosevelt and his supporters started their own party, called the Progressive Party, or the "Bull Moose Party."

Although Roosevelt lost the election to Woodrow Wilson, with 88 electoral votes, he became the only third-party presidential candidate to best an established party's candidate (William Taft, who received 8 electoral votes).

Roosevelt was also the only 1912 presidential candidate to endorse national women's suffrage.media:

quicklist: 4title: Donald Trump text: In a potential attempt to find a way into the 2012 presidential race, real estate mogul and reality-television star Donald Trump switched his party affiliation from "Republican" to "unaffiliated" in December 2011.

"If the Republicans pick the wrong person I would, in fact, seriously consider running," Trump said at the time of his choice in a Web video.

Trump had become dissatisfied with the Republican Party's handling of certain issues, particularly a then-recent payroll tax cut deal.

Just after the switch, Trump's top political adviser, Michael Cohen, told ABC News, "One thing is for certain, Donald Trump is adamant that Barack Obama must be defeated in 2012 under any circumstances."media: 15478537

quicklist: 5title: Pat Buchanan text: Conservative commentator Pat Buchanan has not always been loyal to the GOP. After serving under presidents Nixon, Ford and Reagan, and losing the Republican presidential nomination in 1992 and 1996, Buchanan sought the presidency under the Reform Party, founded by Ross Perot, in 2000.

The bid was unsuccessful and marred by the Florida recount controversy. Buchanan received only 0.4 percent of the popular vote. In the years after the election, he separated himself from the Reform Party and identified himself as an independent.

Prior to the 2004 presidential election, Buchanan announced that he had returned to the Republican Party and gave a half-hearted endorsement for George W. Bush's re-election.

"While I disagree with the president on trade policy, Iraq, immigration policy and big government, I agree with him on taxes and judges and values and sovereignty," Buchanan said. "I disagree with Kerry on everything." media: 20791393

quicklist: 6title: Leon Panetta text: A native Californian, Leon Panetta began his political career as a legislative assistant for Sen. Thomas Kuchel, a liberal Republican, in 1966. After spending a few years working on the Hill, Panetta joined the Nixon administration as director of the Office of Civil Rights. He then left the administration after serving one year, and switched party affiliations.

As a new member of the Democratic Party, Panetta worked as New York City Mayor John Lindsay's executive assistant for just a year, before returning to California. In 1976, Panetta began his own career on the Hill, as a Democratic House member from California. Panetta was re-elected to the House eight times, and rose up the ranks to chair the House Budget Committee.

Panetta moved from the Hill to the executive branch in 1992, as President Bill Clinton's choice to head the Office of Budget and Management, and just two years later, Panetta moved into the White House as Bill Clinton's chief of staff. In 2009, Panetta was called on by the White House again, this time by President Obama to direct the CIA. media: 18213962

quicklist: 7title: Lincoln Chafeetext: Lincoln Chafee began his career in Washington by stepping in to fill his father's Senate seat in 1999. The son of the moderate Republican then went on to be elected to a full term, as a Republican in 2000.

Chafee spent his full term in the Senate in strict opposition to Republican President Bush, standing up against many of the former president's policy decisions, including being the only GOP senator to refuse a resolution authorizing the United States to attack Iraq.

After leaving the Senate, Chafee formally left the Republican Party in 2007, in favor of an independent affiliation, and won the Rhode Island governorship in 2010 in a competitive three-way race.

Chafee shares a close friendship with the highest ranking member of the Democratic Party, President Obama, from their time spent working together in the Senate. When considering a re-election run in 2013, Chafee decided to make another party switch, and joined his friend's party.

Obama welcomed Chafee to the Democratic Party with open arms in May but, ultimately, the governor decided not to seek a second term, and opted out of Rhode Island's gubernatorial race. media:

quicklist: 8title: Condoleezza Ricetext: Condoleezza Rice has served as President George W. Bush's secretary of state and national security advisor, but she was a registered Democrat until 1982, casting her vote for Jimmy Carter in 1976.

But it was Carter who swayed Rice, then a 28-year-old assistant political science professor at Stanford, to the Republicans' side, dismayed as she was by his decision to invade Afghanistan in 1979. Rice registered as a Republican and cast her vote for Ronald Reagan in 1982.

At the Republican National Convention in 2000, she revealed that her father, "the Republican I admire most," also inspired her decision to switch, saying "My father joined our party because the Democrats in Jim Crow Alabama of 1952 would not register him to vote. The Republicans did."

Rice went on to say that she had found a party "that sees me as an individual, that puts family first, that believes that peace begins with strength." media: 20790867

quicklist: 9title: Rick Perry text: Unlike Rice, Texas Gov. Rick Perry flipped away from his father's political party affiliation. But the one-time Republican presidential candidate hopeful had quite the blue history before switching tracks.

Perry began his political career in 1984, when he was elected as a Democrat to the Texas House of Representatives. He then went on to support Al Gore in the 1988 Democratic presidential primaries, serving as the campaign chairman for the state of Texas.

It was the 1988 presidential primary election that inspired Perry's party switch, he later told the Austin-American Statesman. He put a check by George H. W. Bush's name instead of the Democrat Michael Dukakis and said he "came to my senses."

The switch came right before Perry's successful campaign for the state's agriculture commissioner position.

Asked at a Dallas builders meeting how he and one-time compatriot Gore could have gone down such divergent paths ("Did you get religion? Did he get religion? What has happened since then?"), Perry responded "I certainly got religion, I think he's gone to hell."media: 20686771

quicklist: 10title: Norm Colemantext: Former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman was once a flower child, anti-Vietnam protesting liberal before switching to the Republican Party.

Though Coleman would later make headlines in a heated 2008 election that resulted in a six-month legal battle and eventual lost of the incumbent seat to Democrat Al Franken, he started his political career on the same side.

Coleman was elected mayor of St. Paul, Minn., as a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, where he was widely popular for helping bringing a professional hockey team back to the state.

But the onetime counterculture roadie and Woodstock attendee was unpopular with more liberal Democrats, even as the co-chair of Bill Clinton's presidential campaign in Minnesota. He made the switch to the Republican Party in 1996 and was re-elected as mayor that year, despite his new affiliation. media: 20791217

quicklist: 11title: Strom Thurmondtext: The longtime South Carolina senator and South Carolina governor was a Democrat for quite some time, alas not one resembling a present-day Democrat.

Thurmond was more representative of a typical Dixiecrat. The Dixiecrats were a short-lived political party that broke away from the Democratic Party in 1948 in light of its support for segregationist and Jim Crow-era policies.

Thurmond was a big opponent of desegregation and decamped to the Republican Party in 1964. This was due in no small part to his opposition of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and his support for one of its biggest opponents, ultra-conservative Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater in his run for the presidency.media: 18674174

quicklist: 12title: Susana Martinez text: Republican Susana Martinez has one of the highest governor approval ratings in the country, and that includes more than 44 percent of Democrats in New Mexico. So maybe it should come as little surprise that Martinez was once one herself.

The first female Hispanic governor in the United States, Martinez was a Democrat until 1995. She shared the story of her switch at the 2012 Republican National Convention in a speech preceding Paul Ryan's.

Before running for district attorney of Las Cruces, N.M., in 1996, a Republican friend took Martinez and her husband to lunch to talk about political issues. That meal led to a change of heart.

"When we left that lunch, we got in the car and I looked over at Chuck and said, 'I'll be damned, we're Republicans.'" media:

quicklist: 13title: Michael Bloombergtext: Perhaps it is Michael Bloomberg, outgoing mayor of New York, who has flip-flopped the most.A lifelong Democrat, Bloomberg switched colors in 2001 and ran for mayor as a Republican, winning a second term in 2005 with the same affiliation.

But his past was ever present in his policies, as the billionaire CEO mayor supported abortion rights, same-sex marriage, gun control and stem cell research throughout his term.

Prior to campaigning to change New York's term limit laws, claiming his expertise would be needed during the impending Wall Street financial crisis, and winning a third term in 2009, Bloomberg switched again -- this time as an independent -- in 2007. The move was largely, and incorrectly, predicted as a foreshadow for a potential independent presidential campaign in 2008.

In an official statement, Bloomberg said leaving the Republican Party "brings my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead our city. As a political independent, I will continue to work with those in all political parties to find common ground, to put partisanship aside and to achieve real solutions to the challenges we face."media: 20120160

quicklist: 14title: Arlen Specter text: Arlen Specter served as a Republican senator from Pennsylvania from 1981 to 2009 and as a Democrat from 2009 to 2011.

Specter actually served two stints as a Democrat and one as a Republican during his professional career. In 1965, Specter lost the Democratic nomination for Philadelphia district attorney and switched his affiliation so he could still run for the position, though this time as a Republican.

Though he remained a Republican until 2009, he was always considered a moderate and was one of six Republican senators to vote against Robert Bork's Supreme Court nomination in the 1987. Perhaps the last straw among fellow Republicans was Specter's vote for President Obama's 2009 stimulus bill.

As Specter found himself being alienated by some of his colleagues, he switched parties and said: "I now find my political philosophy more in line with Democrats than Republicans."media:

quicklist: 15title: Elizabeth Warren text: Sen. Elizabeth Warren is best known as a liberal favorite and Democratic senator from Massachusetts, but before serving in Congress as a Democratic senator, Warren admitted she was once a Republican.

In a 2011 interview with the Daily Beast, Warren said, "I was a Republican because I thought that those were the people who best supported markets. I think that is not true anymore." She continued, "I was a Republican at a time when I felt like there was a problem that the markets were under a lot more strain. It worried me whether or not the government played too activist a role."

Warren has held many roles in the Democratic Party, notably working as an assistant to President Obama and helping to design the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, before her work as a senator on Capitol Hill. media: 17690201

quicklist: 16title: Joe Liebermantext: Former Sen. Joe Lieberman started his political career in Congress as a freshman Democratic senator in 1988. Lieberman continued to rise through the ranks of the party serving in the Senate for three consecutive terms, and in 2000, the senator from Connecticut was selected to join the Democratic Party's presidential campaign.

But after the Democratic Party lost the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush, Lieberman found himself on the road to a slow separation from his party and, in 2006, ran for re-election to the Senate as an independent.

After spending his political career batting for the Democratic Party, the former vice presidential candidate found himself swinging for another team, as a star speaker at John McCain's Republican convention.

In the end, Lieberman told the Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz, "I feel the Democratic Party left me. It was no longer the party it was when I joined it in the image of President Kennedy." media: 20791012

quicklist: 17title: Jesse Helmstext:Jesse Helms served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina from 1973 to 2003, including six years as chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

Helms was a senator much in the mold of fellow Sen. Strom Thurmond. Helms switched his party affiliation to Republican in 1970 after experiencing frustration with Democrats pro-civil rights policy stances. Indeed, Helms even led a 16-day filibuster in the 1980s to protest the Senate's decision to make Martin Luther King Jr. Day a federal holiday.

Helms was very controversial during his Senate career, especially in terms of civil rights. In addition to the King Day filibuster, Helms also opposed President Clinton's nomination of Roberta Achtenberg to be assistant secretary of Housing and Urban Development because he thought her to be a "militant-activist-mean lesbian." Helms was also criticized for an ad released during his 1990 re-election in which he accused his opponent Harvey Gantt, an African American, of supporting racial quotas. media:

quicklist: 18title: Arianna Huffington text:Now the president and editor in chief of the progressive-leaning website The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington was once a conservative commentator in the mid-1990s.

She supported Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole in the 1996 election and appeared as the right-wing counterpart to the liberal comedian and now-Sen. Al Franken in Comedy Central's "Strange Bedfellows" during the election.

Her allegiance started to shift in the late-90s. In 1998, she told The New Yorker's Margaret Talbot, "the right-left divisions are so outdated now. For me, the primary division is between people who are aware of what I call 'the two nations' (rich and poor), and those who are not."

She launched an unsuccessful bid for governor of California in 2003 as an independent and endorsed John Kerry for president in 2004. When announcing her endorsement on Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, Huffington said, "When your house is burning down, you don't worry about the remodeling."media: 19308110

quicklist: 19title: Trent Lott text: Trent Lott was a U.S. senator from Mississippi from 1989 to 2007 and spent many of those years in leadership positions such as Senate majority and minority whip, as well as Senate majority and minority Leader.

Lott was a longtime Democrat, but became a Republican in 1972. Lott had previously worked in the office of Democrat Rep. William Colmer, also of Mississippi. Colmer himself became more conservative during his time in Congress and eventually turned against policies like public housing, welfare and civil rights. Lott's views changed in tandem with that of his boss, whose House seat he ran for as a Republican after Colmer's retirement.

Lott stepped down as Senate majority leader in 2003 and was succeeded by Sen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., after he made some controversial comments at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party in favor of Thurmond's 1948 presidential run.

quicklist: 20title:Teresa Heinz Kerrytext: Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Secretary of State John Kerry, reportedly left the Republican Party for the Democratic Party out of "disgust" in 2002. She cited Republican attack ads on Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., a wounded veteran, during his 2002 re-election campaign for her disgust.

"Three limbs, and all I could think was, 'What does the Republican Party need, a fourth limb to make a person a hero?'" Heinz Kerry said in a 2004 interview with CBS.

Her switch to the Democratic Party came in the same year that her husband launched his ultimately unsuccessful run for president in the 2004 election.media: 19601975

quicklist: 21title: Elizabeth Doletext: Elizabeth Dole served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina from 2003 to 2009. Dole worked for President Lyndon Johnson in the White House Office of Consumer Affairs and stayed there once Richard Nixon was elected.

Dole switched her party affiliation in 1969 to Independent, when Nixon appointed her as director of the President's Committee for Consumer Interests. Then a Federal Trade Commissioner, Dole became a Republican in 1975 around the same time she married future Sen. Majority Leader Bob Dole.

Dole also served in the Reagan administration as secretary of transportation from 1983 to 1987 and as secretary of labor from 1989 to 1990.

Dole lost her 2008 re-election bid to then-North Carolina State Sen. Kay Hagan.


The Fourth Party System: Was It REALLY a Realignment? (From the Field series: Political Parties in America)

The fourth alignment of the American party system lasted from 1896-1932, with the election of 1896 considered the critical election. Republican William McKinley’s win, Stonecash and Silina note, “presumably produced a pronounced, abrupt, and enduring shift to the Republican Party… because the Republican win created a political alignment that largely stifled the consideration of certain policy issues for the next 40 years,” (7). Ultimately, realignments usually occur during times of national crisis or conflict, as the electorate is seeking new ways to address issues, especially ones that have yet to be confronted. This search for change was the case, or at least a significant contributing factor, for the fourth realignment in the response to the Panic of 1893. However, the alignment was also inconsistent with other realignment trends, since there were multiple transitions between the political parties during this era. Each of these elements reflects in contemporary party politics.

With industrialization underway, a significant issue surrounding the 1896 election was that of how the country would navigate this change, with Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan’s platform resting on improved environments for workers. This approach resulted in the isolation of urban areas, creating an electoral shift towards the Republicans. Political scientist Robert Saldin, suggests the realignment towards the Republican-driven era, was also heavily influenced by the economic disruption in the late 1800s due to the failure of banking and other economic sectors.

Scholar Marjorie Hershey notes that the panic also contributed to internal conflicts within the Democratic Party, namely the low-income white constituents with the less progressive party leaders, looking for further support from their party, which continued to divide the constituents or reduce their vigor for their party identification (152). Prior to 1896, the discussion around the economy persisted around how to regulate industry, workers’ rights, and the class divide. Scholar James Sundquist captures the failed attempts by Democrats to marshal supporters in Dynamics of the Party System (Ch. 7). While they were not successful in forming their coalition, class struggles were a regular issue with the rise in labor strikes and the creation of the Greenback Party and Populist Party.

This realignment took place at the end of the Reconstruction era (1876-1896), whereby at this stage in history, as noted by Aldrich et al., the two parties had a secure platform and influence within American politics. They were both fairly balanced in terms of support, and every election showed gains, “first for one party and then for the other, with divided control common,” (345). This sentiment is similar to that of contemporary election history, with each party making small advancements in some elections and experiencing setbacks in others. However, during the Realignment of 1896, the Republicans managed to sustain their majority in the different branches of governments throughout this period, an indication of a realignment.

Similar to the Fourth Alignment beginning with national crisis needing to be addressed and voters more willing to be rallied by a different party, it ended also amidst the new national crisis of the Great Depression. While social issues like Prohibition were at the forefront before, economic concerns were the only main concerns at the beginning of the Great Depression, and therefore the election of 1932, gave the Democratic Party their best opening for victory, While there were many that questioned FDR’s campaign and nomination, Historian William Leuchtenburg recounts that “[h]is opponent, President Herbert Hoover, was so unpopular that FDR’s main strategy was not to commit any gaffes that might take the public’s attention away from Hoover’s inadequacies,” (“The Campaign and Election of 1932”). Under FDR’s leadership and his plans for the New Deal to surmount the national, economic crisis, he reassured Americans that his plan would alleviate the current conditions. While it may not have been as certain at the time, since realignment studies need a long-lasting change, FDR’s election ended the Fourth Alignment and paved the way for a new Democratically-driven era.

Not all scholars have been convinced of the value of realignment theory. David Mayhew, an elections scholar, lays out an argument to debunk the value of realignment as a failed model in Electoral Realignments: A Critique of an American Genre. Among the lack of evidence for a solid realignment? Woodrow Wilson served two terms for the Democratic Party from 1913-1921. The 1920 election resulting in the defeat of Democratic rule and restoring Republican dominance is not usually considered as “critical” as the election of 1896, although it essentially brought about the same results.

The question remains if nowadays, the United States is experiencing a period of realignment. Aldrich et al. share that, especially in recent years, “the House, the Senate, and the presidency have shifted partisan control several times, and each election opens with at least one, if not two or even three, of the elected branches of government under close competition for partisan control,” (343). Some believed that after Obama’s election wins in 2008 and 2012, that the United States was again foreseeing a new realignment era with a Democratic majority. With President Trump’s election in 2016, some argued this marked a shift towards a Republican realignment or at least make way for easier likelihood in the future. Regardless, the biggest issue with studying realignments is they must occur over a long period of time, remain durable, and electorate shift is necessary. Multiple elections will need to take place before one can decisively conclude that the electorate has made a considerable change either in partisanship or with their values within their parties.

Kendra graduated this May with a major in politics and international relations, as well as a minor in journalism.


Mexico’s Ruling Party Loses Presidency in Historic Election

Voters in Mexico ousted the world’s longest-ruling faction, the Institutional Revolutionary Party, on Sunday, handing the presidency to maverick businessman Vicente Fox in a stunning upset, according to preliminary results.

“The next president of the republic will be Mr. Vicente Fox Quesada,” declared President Ernesto Zedillo in a nationally televised address late Sunday. “Today we have proved that our democracy is mature.”

It was the first time in 71 years that a Mexican president had announced he was turning over the powerful office to another party.

Fox of the National Action Party, or PAN, was the clear winner in a series of quick counts carried out by the nation’s election agency at representative polling stations. He also was leading by 6 to 9 percentage points in three exit polls carried out by Mexican television networks and an exit poll conducted separately by The Times and the Mexico City daily Reforma.

The ruling party’s loss spelled the end of a political regime that influenced nearly all aspects of Mexican life in the 20th century. The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, created a system based on virtual one-party rule that modernized Mexico and brought it remarkable political stability. But the party had come under increasing attack in recent years for economic mismanagement and corruption.

“It’s like the collapse of the Berlin Wall, or the collapse of the Communist system,” Mexican writer and environmentalist Homero Aridjis said.

Roderic Camp, a political scientist at Claremont McKenna College in California, proclaimed it a “revolutionary change.”

“This is Mexico moving the process of democratization for the first time at the national level beyond the electoral process,” he said.

In other words: Mexico doesn’t just have clean elections now. It is going to change the party at the pinnacle of power. That puts the vote on a par with the U.S. election of 1800, the first time political power changed hands democratically in the United States.

“We are inaugurating a new political regime at this moment,” said Lorenzo Meyer, a prominent historian, speaking on Mexican television.

Spontaneous celebrations erupted outside the PAN headquarters here, where supporters held up giant foam symbols of Fox’s anti-PRI campaign and cried: Ya! (Enough already!) Thousands more gathered around a major Mexico City monument, the Angel of Independence, whooping, blowing horns and madly waving flags.

“This is a moment that Mexico has waited for--60 years of fighting so that our vote would be respected. Finally, we have won,” declared a weeping PAN senator, Maria Elena Alvarez, at the party headquarters.

PRI’s Labastida Concedes Defeat

PRI presidential candidate Francisco Labastida, who had held a slender margin in preelection polls, conceded defeat late Sunday.

“The citizens took a decision that we must respect. I will set an example,” the longtime bureaucrat said. “Our party is alive, it will stay alive and will know how to recover, with the unity of all the PRI members.”

Zedillo praised the PRI for its historic contributions to Mexico, and for passing reforms allowing the nation’s cleanest presidential election in history. Many of those reforms were spearheaded by Zedillo himself, who abandoned the tradition by which outgoing presidents effectively selected their successors.

Zedillo announced he will meet shortly with the president-elect to help coordinate the country’s first democratic, peaceful turnover of power. He said he had telephoned Fox to assure him of the “absolute willingness of the government I lead to work together in all important aspects to ensure a good start for the next administration.”

There were no clear results Sunday night on the outcome of congressional elections. All seats in the federal Senate and Chamber of Deputies were being contested. The PRI lost control of the lower house for the first time in 1997 and always has had a majority in the Senate.

PAN Unseats PRI for Governor Post

In the other major race Sunday, exit polls indicated the Mexico City mayor’s post would go to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the center-left Democratic Revolution Party, or PRD. The PAN won two state governorships up for grabs, succeeding the PRI in Morelos and cinching a third straight term in Guanajuato, where Fox grew up.

Fox moved quickly Sunday night to assure members of other parties--especially the PRI, which still controls two-thirds of Mexico’s governorships--that he wants to cooperate and not seek vengeance. He pledged to include members of other parties in his government.

“This is the starting point for building a great nation,” he declared in a television interview, looking composed, as usual.

“Today we celebrate. It’s a historic day. A day of happiness. But tomorrow the work begins,” he declared.

Fox differed little from his PRI competitor, Labastida, on substantive issues. Both favor Mexico’s pro-market course and had promised greater economic growth and more spending on education. But Fox presented himself as the man who could bring true democracy to Mexico.

And voters overwhelmingly wanted change, according to results from the Times/Reforma exit poll, which gave Fox a 45% to 36% lead over Labastida. The PRD’s Cuauhtemoc Cardenas was running a distant third, with 17%, according to the poll.

The PAN is a center-right, pro-business party founded in 1939. For years, it was as good as shut out of power by the PRI, a party that was virtually fused to the federal government. It wasn’t until 1989 that the PAN won a governorship in Mexico, taking Baja California.

The party has made steady gains in recent years, especially in cities and northern states and among young people. But it took the charismatic candidacy of Fox to make it a genuine contender for the presidency. Fox, 58, a towering, mustached figure often compared with the Marlboro Man, is a former rancher, Coca-Cola executive and governor of the central state of Guanajuato.

He revolutionized Mexican politics by running a three-year, U.S.-style campaign heavy on media coverage and blunt language. He abandoned the stuffy image of Mexican politicians, donning blue jeans and cowboy boots in his endless travels around the country.

Fox is not expected to significantly change Mexico’s relations with the United States. But, he told The Times late Sunday: “We will be starting a new relationship, a relationship that will be the result of the first democratic government of Mexico. This gives us moral authority, and democratic legitimacy. My commitment is that we can construct something good between our nations. We are friends, we are neighbors, we are partners in NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement]. And now we are going to increase that relationship.”

Sunday’s PRI loss marked the culmination of a long slide in the party’s support. For much of the 20th century, the PRI won the presidency with more than 75% of the vote. Such high margins were the result of the party’s achievements in modernizing Mexico, the near-absence of opposition parties and outright fraud.

The PRI reign was so long--and the party so omnipresent--that many Mexicans seemed to think it would be in power forever. Even in 1994, Zedillo won with better than 50% of the vote, like all his PRI predecessors.

“This basically changes the mentality of the Mexican people. [It shows] that what has occurred on the state and local levels--where opposition victories have been real and functional--is true on the national level,” said Camp, the political scientist.

The vote reflected the vast changes that have occurred under the PRI. In a matter of decades, Mexico has been transformed from a mainly rural society to a mostly urban, better educated populace.

Even beyond the opposition victory, the vote was a watershed in a country in which the PRI had traditionally won elections by stealing ballot boxes, busing in supporters and even resorting to bloodshed. Only minor irregularities were reported Sunday. A mere 0.01% of polling stations failed to open Sunday, a record.

The balloting was overseen for the first time by an independent authority, the Federal Electoral Institute, the showpiece of sweeping legal reforms instituted in the last few years.

“We are looking at an exemplary vote,” said Jose Woldenberg, president of the institute.

The vote was preceded by a campaign that was more equitable than any in modern Mexican history. Due to the country’s increasing democracy and electoral reforms, the PRI lost such traditional advantages as one-sided media coverage and lopsided campaign financing.

Many Mexicans believe that fraud tipped the scales in the presidential election in 1988, when the PRI got a serious challenge from Cardenas, the son of a legendary former president. Cardenas again ran unsuccessfully in 1994.

While there was little blatant fraud reported Sunday, opposition parties and electoral observers complained that the PRI’s vast machine had shifted into high gear in recent weeks, pressuring voters or attempting to buy their loyalty through such freebies as food packages and building materials.

Still, the PRI entered the election with greater democratic credentials than ever. Labastida became the party’s candidate through its first presidential primary. It was a major break from the dedazo, or fingering, with which each outgoing president named another PRI member as his successor, with elections serving merely to ratify the choice.

Some Cast Their Vote ‘Against Corruption’

On Sunday, voters said the changes had transformed their experiences of a presidential election.

“For the first time in the life of Mexico, people feel they can make a difference voting,” said Miguel Elenes, 36, an office worker, after he cast his ballot in Roma, a middle-class Mexico City neighborhood.

Mexicans voted in droves. Long lines snaked from polling stations in crowded cities and tree-lined village plazas. In addition to the three leading candidates, two minor-party politicians also sought the presidency: Manuel Camacho Solis of the Center Democratic Party and Gilberto Rincon Gallardo of the Social Democratic Party.

Many of those voting for Fox explained their choices as a rejection of the PRI, rather than support for any particular policy ideas of the PAN candidate.

“My vote is against corruption--70 years of it,” said Juan Sarmiento Juarez, who cast his ballot for Fox in a middle-class neighborhood of Puebla, in central Mexico.

“We are seeking change for the well-being of our children. The young people who are better educated are the ones making the change happen,” the 50-year-old salesman declared.

Times staff writers James F. Smith and Ken Ellingwood contributed to this report.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

1929: Ex-President Plutarco Elias Calles forms the National Revolutionary Party, precursor to the Institutional Revolutionary Party, uniting factions that emerged from the 1910-17 revolution and providing a means for the peaceful transfer of power.

1938: Lazaro Cardenas nationalizes the oil industry, the climax of his strongly nationalist presidency. Cardenas also carries out land reform and organizes rural and labor groups. Ruling party is renamed Mexican Revolution Party.

1946: Miguel Aleman becomes first civilian president since 1929. Ruling party takes its current name, Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

1954: Mexico starts a roughly 20-year period of sustained growth that becomes PRI’s “Golden Age.” Average annual growth of at least 5% allows increased spending on schools, hospitals and other infrastructure.

1968: Anti-government protests by students end in disaster, as the army and police massacre about 300 demonstrators in Mexico City. The killing is a turning point in society’s view of PRI government.

1982: Oil prices fall and Mexico enters an economic crisis. It is the start of a “Lost Decade” for Mexico and much of debt-ridden Latin America.

1987: PRI suffers its first major split when Cuauhtemoc Cardenas, son of the legendary president, and other leftists bolt.

1988: Cardenas gives PRI its stiffest challenge, nearly winning elections plagued by fraud and the collapse of the election computer system. Carlos Salinas de Gortari of the PRI wins.

1989: For the first time, PRI loses a governorship--to the center-right National Action Party, or PAN, in Baja California.

1993: Mexico joins the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, reinforcing the break with its protectionist past.

1994: Zapatista rebels launch an uprising in the southern state of Chiapas, demanding better conditions for indigenous people. Scores are killed before a cease-fire is reached. PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio is assassinated in Tijuana. Campaign coordinator Ernesto Zedillo replaces him and wins the election, only to see the peso plummet and foreign capital flee shortly after he takes office. It is the worst economic crisis in modern Mexican history.

1997: PRI loses majority in the lower house of Congress for the first time and loses control of Mexico City to Cardenas in the first direct mayoral election.

1999: Zedillo abandons the tradition of hand-picking the PRI presidential nominee. PRI holds its first open presidential primary, nominating Francisco Labastida, who faces PAN’s Vicente Fox and Cardenas in the tightest race in Mexican history.

PRI’s share of vote in presidential elections:

1940 Manuel Avila Camacho: 93.8%

1952 Adolfo Ruiz Cortines: 74.3%

1958 Adolfo Lopez Mateos: 90.4%

1964 Gustavo Diaz Ordaz: 88.8%

1976 Jose Lopez Portillo: 98.7%

1982 Miguel de la Madid: 71.6%

1988 Caolos Salinas de Gortari: 50.7%

* POLL RESULTS--Those who voted for Fox were driven by one overwhelming desire--change. A17

* A CLEAN ELECTION--Balloting gains praise from observers as apparently free of major fraud. A18

* MAYOR’S RACE--A leftist heads for win in Mexico City and is a contender for president in 2006. A18


1876 Presidential Election

The United States presidential election of 1876 was one of the most disputed presidential elections in American history. Samuel J. Tilden of New York outpolled Ohio's Rutherford B. Hayes in the popular vote, and had 184 electoral votes to Hayes' 165, with 20 votes uncounted. These 20 electoral votes were in dispute: in three states (Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina), each party reported its candidate had won the state, while in Oregon one elector was declared illegal (as an "elected or appointed official") and replaced. The 20 disputed electoral votes were ultimately awarded to Hayes after a bitter legal and political battle, giving him the victory.

Many historians believe that an informal deal was struck to resolve the dispute: the Compromise of 1877. In return for the Democrats' acquiescence in Hayes' election, the Republicans agreed to withdraw federal troops from the South, ending Reconstruction. The Compromise effectively ceded power in the Southern states to the Democratic Redeemers.


VIETNAM

On Indochina, as well, domestic political imperatives affected Eisenhower's policymaking. During the intense administration discussions about whether to intervene militarily to help the beleaguered French forces at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, Eisenhower told his cabinet that he could not afford to let the Democrats ask who lost Vietnam. But he was not prepared to get involved without broad domestic and international backing. At a news conference Eisenhower invoked the domino theory to try to create support for intervention (probably less because he believed in the theory than because its dramatic imagery could rally support to the cause), and he consulted with Congress and key allied governments. The misgivings of the Senate leadership and the British government convinced the president to reject air strikes to save the French position, but there is no doubt that fear of the "who lost Vietnam" charge continued to weigh on his mind. One reason the administration worked hard to distance itself from the Geneva Accords on Indochina later that year was that it feared it might get a hostile reaction from vocal anticommunists on Capitol Hill.

It was not the first Vietnam decision by an American president in which domestic politics played a role, nor would it be the last. Indeed, a good argument could be made that for all six presidents who dealt with Vietnam from 1950 to 1975 — from Truman to Ford — the Indochina conflict mattered in significant measure because of the potential damage it could do to their domestic political positions.

This was especially true of the three men who occupied the White House during the high tide of American involvement — John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon. From the start in 1961, and especially after Kennedy agreed to seek a negotiated settlement in Laos giving the communist Pathet Lao a share of the power, senior U.S. officials feared what would happen to the administration at home if South Vietnam were allowed to fall. Kennedy told his ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith: "There are just so many concessions that one can make to communists in one year and survive politically … . We just can't have another defeat this year in Vietnam." In November 1961, Secretary of State Dean Rusk and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara advised JFK that the loss of South Vietnam would not merely undermine American credibility elsewhere but would "stimulate bitter domestic controversies in the United States and would be seized upon to divide the country and harass the administration." U.S. assistance to South Vietnam increased steadily in 1962 and 1963, ultimately reaching the amount of $1.5 million per day. Still, success remained elusive. By mid-1963 the president had grown disillusioned about the prospects in the struggle, and he reportedly told several associates of his desire to get out of the conflict. But it could not happen, he added, until after the 1964 election.

Johnson's misgivings did not go quite so deep, but he too, after he succeeded JFK in office in November 1963, ruled out a major policy change before voting day. As McGeorge Bundy would later say, "Neither [Kennedy nor Johnson] wanted to go into the election as the one who either made war or lost Vietnam. If you could put if off you did." Bundy's comment carries great historical importance, and not merely because he was right in his assessment — Johnson, we now know, sought above all else that year to keep Vietnam from complicating his election-year strategy, judging all Vietnam options in terms of what they meant for November. No less important, the comment matters because 1964 proved so crucial in the making of America's war in Vietnam. It was a year of virtually unrelieved decline in the fortunes of the South Vietnamese government, a year in which the Vietcong made huge gains and the Saigon government lost steadily more support. It was a year when America became increasingly isolated on Vietnam among its Western allies, and when influential voices in Congress and the press — and indeed within the administration itself — began voicing deep misgivings about the prospect of a major war. And it was a year when the administration made the basic decisions that led to Americanization early in 1965. Already in the spring of 1964 the administration commenced secret contingency planning for an expansion of the war to North Vietnam, but with the tacit understanding that nothing substantive would happen until after Election Day. In November and December, with LBJ safely elected, the administration moved to adopt a two-phase escalation of the war involving sustained bombing of North Vietnam and the dispatch of U.S. ground troops (subsequently implemented in February – March 1965). The White House strategy of delay through the first ten months of 1964 had not eliminated Johnson's freedom of maneuver, but it had reduced it considerably.

Nixon, it is clear, had his eyes very much on the home front in making Vietnam policy, not merely in the lead-up to the 1972 election but from the start of his administration in 1969. In vowing to get a "peace with honor," he and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger thought as much about voters in Peoria as about leaders in Moscow and Beijing and Hanoi. Top-level conversations captured on the taping system Nixon had installed in the Oval Office early in 1971, for example, make clear just how deeply concerns about Nixon's domestic standing permeated Vietnam policy. In a phone conversation that took place late in the evening of 7 April 1971, shortly after a televised Nixon speech announcing further Vietnam troop withdrawals, Nixon and Kissinger concurred on the matter of the "breathing space" they would get domestically by ending the draft:

KISSINGER: I think, Mr. President, I'm gonna put the military to the torch [on the matter of the draft].

NIXON: Yeah. They're screwing around on this.

KISSINGER: They're screwing around. They're worried that it will make the volunteer army not work. But the hell with that if we can get ourselves breathing space for Vietnam.

NIXON: Listen. Ending the draft gives us breathing space on Vietnam. We'll restore the draft later, but goddamn it, the military, they're a bunch of greedy bastards that want more officers clubs and more men to shine their shoes. The sons of bitches are not interested in this country.

KISSINGER: I mean, ending, going to all-volunteer in Vietnam is what I mean, is what we ought to do.

In the summer of 1972, as a negotiated settlement with Hanoi looked to be within reach, Nixon expressed ambivalence about whether the deal should come before or after the election that November. On 14 August Nixon told aides that Kissinger should be discouraged from expressing too much hopefulness regarding the negotiations, as that could raise expectations and be "harmful politically." On 30 August, Nixon chief of staff H. R. Haldeman recorded in his diary that Nixon did not want the settlement to come too soon. The president, according to Haldeman, "wants to be sure [Army Vice-Chief of Staff Alexander] Haig doesn't let Henry's desire for a settlement prevail that's the one way we can lose the election. We have to stand firm on Vietnam and not get soft."

Even before he assumed the presidency, Nixon had sought to manipulate foreign policy for personal political advantage. In the final weeks of the 1968 campaign, rumors that Johnson was on the verge of announcing a bombing halt (to hasten a peace settlement and thereby help Democratic presidential candidate Hubert H. Humphrey), sent the Nixon campaign into a panic. Nixon secretly encouraged the South Vietnamese president Nguyen Van Thieu to refuse to participate in any talks with Hanoi before the election, with assurances that if elected he would provide Thieu with more solid support than Humphrey would. It is possible that Thieu's subsequent refusal to take part in the negotiations in Paris, announced just days before Election Day, might have damaged Humphrey's campaign sufficiently to deliver what was a razor-thin victory to Nixon.


Top U.S. Communist Boasts That Party “Utilizes” Democrats

Communist Party USA boss John Bachtell boasted in a recent column that his Marxist-Leninist organization, a tentacle of the Soviet regime in America for decades, “utilizes” the increasingly radical Democratic Party to advance its totalitarian objectives in the United States. Writing in the Communist Party propaganda mouthpiece People’s World, Bachtell suggested that, eventually, a “radical third party” would become a viable option to advance communism in America. However, for now, he argued, fending off what he calls the “ultra-right” — essentially anyone to the right of Obama, whom American communists openly backed in both elections — requires the CPUSA to continue utilizing the Democrat Party as a “vehicle.”

In his column, Bachtell, who was selected last year to serve as the national chair of the Communist Party USA, offers a wide array of arguments for why communists must continue to work through the Democrat Party. For instance, at least in the collectivist communist mind, the Democratic Party is “home” to “African Americans, Latinos, other communities of color, women, most union members, young people,” as well as various “social and democratic movements.” In reality, of course, there are plenty of blacks, Hispanics, women, and young people who boldly reject statism and the extremist Democrats promoting it.

Still, as many Democrats do, Bachtell lumps unique individuals into “constituencies” based on arbitrary characteristics such as melanin content, and declares that the Democratic Party is their “home.” He contrasts that with the GOP and “extreme right-wing elements” such as pro-lifers, climate realists, “right-wing” Christians, the Tea Party, social conservatives, and others, broadly categorized as “ultra-right.” By working with and through the Democrat Party, Bachtell purports to be building the “broadest anti-ultra right alliance possible,” even openly welcoming a “section” of what he describes as “monopoly” capital on Wall Street into the Communist Party war on liberty.

“This necessarily means working with the Democratic Party,” Bachtell explained, adding that some on the Left “underestimate the danger” from the Right and “overestimate” the willingness of “key class and social forces” to leave the Democratic Party right now. “Second, our objective is not to build the Democratic Party. At this stage we are about building the broad people’s movement led by labor that utilizes the vehicle of the Democratic Party to advance its agenda. We are about building the movements around the issues roiling wide sections of people that can help shape election contours and debates.”

Finally, the Communist Party USA participates in what Bachtell referred to as “coalition campaigns” that challenge the “Wall Street wing” of the Democrat Party and “galvanize forces around a progressive agenda, mainly in Democratic primary elections.” Among other examples, he cited “labor activists, progressives, socialists and communists who emerge from movements and run as candidates, backed by broad coalitions.” Having self-declared socialist Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont run within the Democrat presidential primary, for instance, “would help do just this,” he added. Sen. Sanders has said publicly he would decide by March whether to run for the White House in 2016 as a Democrat.

“If the CPUSA is to be a mass political party it must be a mass electoral party, immersed in every aspect of electoral politics and the process toward political independence,” Bachtell continued, explaining to communist lackeys why they must continue to support and infiltrate the Democrat Party to advance more draconian tyranny later on. “Municipal elections are a key arena of battle in 2015…. Clearly, there is an immense amount of electoral activism and movement building that is laying the foundation for the eventual emergence of a mass radical third party.” For now, though, the Democrat Party will be “utilized” as the “vehicle” to advance Communist Party totalitarianism — at least until the “Right” is totally crushed.

Commenting on the explosive but hardly surprising admissions, anti-communist analyst Trevor Loudon, author of The Enemies Within exposing subversion at the highest levels of power in the United States, noted that much could be learned from communist strategy. “The Communist Party often upsets less mature Marxist groups because of their refusal to abandon the Democratic Party, despite not always getting every item on their agenda immediately,” Loudon explained. “As an experienced Communist, John Bachtell understands that in spite of difficulties and disappointments, the Communist Party agenda is far better served by infiltrating the Democrats than by marching in the streets yelling revolutionary slogans.”

As Loudon points out, “the Communist Party and their only marginally less radical Democratic Socialists of America allies can point to real achievements under their ‘friend’ Barack Obama.” From ObamaCare and amnesty for illegal immigrants to the ongoing attacks on the military and restored relations with the mass-murdering communist dictatorship in Havana, numerous CPUSA goals have been advanced through the Democrat Party just in recent years. Of course, the glaring similarities between the positions and policies of the Communist Party USA, the Democrat Party, and the Obama administration have now become fully obvious, at least to anyone who cares to look.

In 2004, for example, the CPUSA platform included, among other elements, demands for “free” healthcare, unrestricted abortion, government-funded education from pre-kindergarten to college, more federal “job” programs for “minorities,” more farm subsidies, a higher minimum wage, a ban on “discrimination” against homosexuals, international treaties to stop “global warming,” and much more. When compared with the Obama agenda that was unleashed upon America beginning in 2008 and that continues to be foisted on an outraged America today via lawless executive decrees — and funding from the GOP Congress — the parallels are impossible to deny.

In fact, comparing U.S. policy today to the Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto — government education, progressive income taxes, central bank with monopoly on credit, and much more — key points of the communist agenda have been on the march in the United States for generations. And unsurprisingly, the Communist Party’s affinity for advancing its nightmarish vision of total state control via the Democrat Party goes back decades, too, as summarized and extensively documented in KeyWiki. In 1972, for instance, then CPUSA boss Gus Hall outlined the party’s policy to do precisely that.

“Our electoral policy has for 25 years been expressed in the phrase, ‘the three legs of a stool.’… The stool was constructed at a time when the Party was under sharp attack … a reflection of the Party’s response to the difficulties,” he wrote. “The flexibility was contained in the idea that no one leg of the stool was the main leg. Depending on the political pressures, one could choose a particular leg or legs. In fact the concept was built on the idea that when the other two legs, namely, the Communist Party and the forces of political independence, got strong enough, then and only then would the stool sit on three legs. But until that day comes the one operating leg would be the liberal wing of the Democratic Party.”

More recently, a 2010 report for the Communist Party’s National Convention was prepared by members of the Young Communist League USA. “Currently, the conditions rarely if ever allow us to run open Communists for office,” the report stated. “When members do run for office, it is within the auspices of the Democratic Party. Otherwise, we find ourselves supporting progressive (and in some instances not-so-progressive) Democratic candidates. Despite how much many of us would love to run comrades for office as Communists, we all agree that this is how we currently have to function in this political climate.”

In late 2012, meanwhile, a report delivered at the 14th International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties in Beirut, Lebanon, praised Obama and the advances he had made for the cause. “The Communist Party USA not only welcomes the reelection of President Barack Obama, but actively engaged in the electoral campaign for his reelection and for the election of many Democratic Party congressional candidates,” explained the report, prepared by CPUSA International Department operative Erwin Marquit. “We regarded the 2012 election as the most important in the United States since 1932, an election held in the midst of the Great Depression.”

The CPUSA’s “present strategy,” the report continued, was to “build alliances both inside and outside the Democratic Party.” After Obama’s re-election in 2012, the so-called “progressive caucus” in Congress — masterfully exposed in Loudon’s work — will “be playing an important role in contributing to the mobilization of mass activity on critical issues to bring pressure on the Congress and administration to act on them.” The report also openly proclaimed that “the victory of Obama is a welcome aid for us in our domestic struggles.” Obama’s political career, of course, began in the home of Communist terrorist Bill Ayers, whose Weather Underground terror movement in the United States was backed by Communist mass-murderer Fidel Castro.

In his comments on Bachtell’s most recent admission, Loudon said Americans have a lot to learn. In the same manner that the CPUSA has “utilized” the Democrat Party, constitutionalists who hope to preserve liberty and the Republic bequeathed to Americans by the Founding Fathers ought to work within the GOP, Loudon argued. “Bachtell understands that prematurely breaking with the Democrats, on some quixotic adventure of forming a new leftist third party, would almost certainly hand the next few elections to the GOP,” Loudon wrote. “He fears that a revitalized GOP, led by Ted Cruz, or some similar figure, would roll back most, or all of the Communist Party’s hard fought gains.”

“If U.S. Constitutionalist conservatives and Tea Party activists can show similar political discipline and maturity, they will abandon plans for a suicidal third party agenda — for now,” Loudon wrote. “Instead they will work through the GOP, as the Communists have through the Democrats. Learn from the opposition. Utilize the GOP machinery and voting base to build a big Constitutionalist base inside the GOP. Build your strength, do as the Communists have done, primary any vulnerable GOP candidates who will not support your Constitutionalist agenda.”

Loudon argued that today, less than 1,000 hardcore Communist Party operatives and their few thousand allies in the Democratic Socialists of America “effectively dictate Democratic Party policy.” If the far larger constitutionalist and Tea Party movement could learn from the opposition’s tactics, “they can have a real shot at restoring the Republic.” In the end, Loudon argued, the battle for America is not between Democrats and the GOP. Instead, it is between constitutionalists and communists. If constitutionalists want a chance to win that battle and preserve liberty, he concluded, understanding and learning from the opposition is crucial.

The process of communists using other parties and movements to enslave populations is hardly new — it works the same from Brazil to South Africa and everywhere in between. Communism and communist regimes, of course, murdered well over 100 million people in the last century alone, making the “movement” by far the most murderous and bloodthirsty in the history of humanity. However, as The New American has documented extensively, there have always been even more sinister forces operating behind the communists and their legions of useful idiots. If liberty is to survive, exposing and countering them remains essential.


Russian Collusion in Democrat Inner Circle?

There has been enthusiastic collusion by the leadership of the Democratic Party with the Russian disinformation campaign to destroy President Donald Trump. (See "A Brief History of 'Fake News'" on AT.) The Democrat willingness to collude with Russia to overturn our democratically elected president is unprecedented. There is the infamous case of Ted Kennedy approaching the Kremlin to help Democrats defeat Reagan, but never before has collusion with our enemies by a non-communist party been sustained and widespread.

What has changed? We are reaping the results of a multi-decade effort by the communist and socialist left. Leftists have finally dominated and transformed the Democratic Party &ndash into something vicious and dangerous to our republic.

Obama openly boasted that radicalized and mostly non-white Millennials will soon give leftists a permanent majority. Our Constitution and two-party system were to be thrown in the dustbin of history. When Trump destroyed their plans by winning the 2016 election, hard-left Democrats weren't willing to give up power. The niceties of democracy, where the voters get to chose their leaders, do not fit the communist credo Obama and his inner circle were raised on.

As I wrote previously, Obama's entire innermost circle were children of communists. That does not happen by coincidence.

With the help of a partisan, unethical press, the Democrats normalized Obama's every aberrant trait. But Obama is aberrant. He is a Democrat in name only &ndash in reality, he is a hard left "red diaper baby" &ndash as were Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod. Obama has had literally lifelong radical ties, starting with his grandfather and mother, as well as his Kenyan father, and Obama's beloved teenage mentor, child molester Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party. According to Paul Kengor, Frank Davis's political work for the Soviets got him placed on the FBI's Security Index, so he could be immediately arrested in a national emergency &ndash the Cold War equivalent of our terrorist watchlist.

In the White House, President Obama surrounded himself with more red diaper babies and communist-supporters. CIA director John Brennan voted for the Communist Party candidate in the 1976 presidential election. Obama biographer David Maraniss was a red diaper baby. So was Obama's pick to head Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson.

Cold War historian Paul Kengor goes deeply into Obama's communist background in an article in American Spectator, "Our First Red Diaper Baby President," and in an excellent Mark Levin interview. Another Kengor article describes the Chicago communists whose younger generation include David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, and Barack Hussein Obama. Add the openly Marxist, pro-communist Ayers, and you have many of the key players who put Obama into power.

Axelrod himself was discovered and launched in his career by Stalinists in Chicago, the Cantor family.

Harry was active in the old Industrial Workers of the World and had been secretary of the Boston Communist Party. . In 1930, he ran for governor of Massachusetts on the Communist Party ticket. After that, he sojourned to the Motherland, taking his entire family to Moscow with him, including his son David, who one day would come know David Axelrod. .

For the record, as I've noted separately, Davis &ndash again, Obama's mentor &ndash also knew and worked with Valerie Jarrett's grandfather and father-in-law in Communist Party/left-wing circles in Chicago in the 1940s.

Being the child of communists clearly does not make you a communist when you grow up. It can make you a savvy fighter of communists, as David Horowitz exemplifies. But when did Obama reject the radical Marxist beliefs he once openly espoused? In college, he tells us he sought out Marxist professors and radical students (think the creepy SDS students you knew in college). A Marxist student at Occidental College confirms that Obama was an outright Marxist. When he graduated from Columbia, Obama tells us, he attended radical socialist conferences, which gave him his road map in life, with their plan to put a stealth black candidate in the White House.

After law school, Obama's success in Chicago was based on the help of self-avowed communist Bill Ayers. Obama's start in politics was as the anointed successor of an openly socialist state rep who was active in communist circles. Obama joined the socialist New Party, which rejected the Democratic Party. Obama's calling in life, to which he vows to return post-presidency, was work as a hard-left Alinskyite radical agitator ("community organizer"). Obama was a 20-year member of an openly Marxist church whose members had to take a pledge against the middle class. So when did this man become a pragmatic centrist? The day his Marxist backers decided to make him president?

Chief among these backers was Valerie Jarrett, whom Judicial Watch uncovered as another scion of a hardcore multi-generation communist family on the FBI watch list as a possible security threat to America.

Jarrett's dad . Dr. James Bowman, had extensive ties to Communist associations and individuals, his lengthy FBI file shows . "has long been a faithful follower of the Communist Party line" and engages in un-American activities. . The Jarrett family Communist ties also include a business partnership between Jarrett's maternal grandpa, Robert Rochon Taylor, and Stern, the Soviet agent associated with her dad.

Jarrett's father-in-law, Vernon Jarrett . appeared on the FBI's Security Index and was considered a potential Communist saboteur who was to be arrested in the event of a conflict with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). His FBI file reveals that he was assigned to write propaganda for a Communist Party front group in Chicago that would "disseminate the Communist Party line among . the middle class."

It's been well documented that Valerie Jarrett, a Chicago lawyer and longtime Obama confidant, is a liberal extremist who wields tremendous power in the White House. Faithful to her roots, she still has connections to many Communist and extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Paul Kengor summarizes the political import of a Democratic Party headed by a president and his two closest advisers, and the head of Homeland Security, all from communist families:

I've suffered . a mix of amazement, agony, and despair for what has happened in this country. They are at once disturbing and depressing, yet further confirmation that the most politically extreme individuals who once agitated and propagandized in our blessed country were able to place their political children as high as the White House in the 21st century. For the old comrades, it simply took time for the seeds to root and flourish &ndash and only then with the harvest made possible by really oblivious American voters who don't understand the ash-heap of ideological baggage they've permitted to be brought into the country's first house.

There is collusion with Russia going on in American politics today. It has actually been going on for a long time. (See Victor David Hanson on Obama's collusion in the 2012 elections.) President Trump is the target of the collusion. So are we all, all his voters, all Americans who believe in our constitutional republic.

The great mistake of the colluders is they cannot hide behind lies and media corruption, as the hardcore American left has done all these years. It is all out in the open now. The stink of the Mueller witch hunt is in our nostrils. It is sickening, but the stench strengthens our resolve. We are not going to let them annul our victory in the 2017 election with dirty tricks.

The author served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, was a clinical social worker and psychotherapist, and is an author whose a mystery novels highlight the wildlife and peoples of Kenya. She currently writes forAmerican Thinker.

There has been enthusiastic collusion by the leadership of the Democratic Party with the Russian disinformation campaign to destroy President Donald Trump. (See "A Brief History of 'Fake News'" on AT.) The Democrat willingness to collude with Russia to overturn our democratically elected president is unprecedented. There is the infamous case of Ted Kennedy approaching the Kremlin to help Democrats defeat Reagan, but never before has collusion with our enemies by a non-communist party been sustained and widespread.

What has changed? We are reaping the results of a multi-decade effort by the communist and socialist left. Leftists have finally dominated and transformed the Democratic Party &ndash into something vicious and dangerous to our republic.

Obama openly boasted that radicalized and mostly non-white Millennials will soon give leftists a permanent majority. Our Constitution and two-party system were to be thrown in the dustbin of history. When Trump destroyed their plans by winning the 2016 election, hard-left Democrats weren't willing to give up power. The niceties of democracy, where the voters get to chose their leaders, do not fit the communist credo Obama and his inner circle were raised on.

As I wrote previously, Obama's entire innermost circle were children of communists. That does not happen by coincidence.

With the help of a partisan, unethical press, the Democrats normalized Obama's every aberrant trait. But Obama is aberrant. He is a Democrat in name only &ndash in reality, he is a hard left "red diaper baby" &ndash as were Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod. Obama has had literally lifelong radical ties, starting with his grandfather and mother, as well as his Kenyan father, and Obama's beloved teenage mentor, child molester Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party. According to Paul Kengor, Frank Davis's political work for the Soviets got him placed on the FBI's Security Index, so he could be immediately arrested in a national emergency &ndash the Cold War equivalent of our terrorist watchlist.

In the White House, President Obama surrounded himself with more red diaper babies and communist-supporters. CIA director John Brennan voted for the Communist Party candidate in the 1976 presidential election. Obama biographer David Maraniss was a red diaper baby. So was Obama's pick to head Homeland Security, Jeh Johnson.

Cold War historian Paul Kengor goes deeply into Obama's communist background in an article in American Spectator, "Our First Red Diaper Baby President," and in an excellent Mark Levin interview. Another Kengor article describes the Chicago communists whose younger generation include David Axelrod, Valerie Jarrett, and Barack Hussein Obama. Add the openly Marxist, pro-communist Ayers, and you have many of the key players who put Obama into power.

Axelrod himself was discovered and launched in his career by Stalinists in Chicago, the Cantor family.

Harry was active in the old Industrial Workers of the World and had been secretary of the Boston Communist Party. . In 1930, he ran for governor of Massachusetts on the Communist Party ticket. After that, he sojourned to the Motherland, taking his entire family to Moscow with him, including his son David, who one day would come know David Axelrod. .

For the record, as I've noted separately, Davis &ndash again, Obama's mentor &ndash also knew and worked with Valerie Jarrett's grandfather and father-in-law in Communist Party/left-wing circles in Chicago in the 1940s.

Being the child of communists clearly does not make you a communist when you grow up. It can make you a savvy fighter of communists, as David Horowitz exemplifies. But when did Obama reject the radical Marxist beliefs he once openly espoused? In college, he tells us he sought out Marxist professors and radical students (think the creepy SDS students you knew in college). A Marxist student at Occidental College confirms that Obama was an outright Marxist. When he graduated from Columbia, Obama tells us, he attended radical socialist conferences, which gave him his road map in life, with their plan to put a stealth black candidate in the White House.

After law school, Obama's success in Chicago was based on the help of self-avowed communist Bill Ayers. Obama's start in politics was as the anointed successor of an openly socialist state rep who was active in communist circles. Obama joined the socialist New Party, which rejected the Democratic Party. Obama's calling in life, to which he vows to return post-presidency, was work as a hard-left Alinskyite radical agitator ("community organizer"). Obama was a 20-year member of an openly Marxist church whose members had to take a pledge against the middle class. So when did this man become a pragmatic centrist? The day his Marxist backers decided to make him president?

Chief among these backers was Valerie Jarrett, whom Judicial Watch uncovered as another scion of a hardcore multi-generation communist family on the FBI watch list as a possible security threat to America.

Jarrett's dad . Dr. James Bowman, had extensive ties to Communist associations and individuals, his lengthy FBI file shows . "has long been a faithful follower of the Communist Party line" and engages in un-American activities. . The Jarrett family Communist ties also include a business partnership between Jarrett's maternal grandpa, Robert Rochon Taylor, and Stern, the Soviet agent associated with her dad.

Jarrett's father-in-law, Vernon Jarrett . appeared on the FBI's Security Index and was considered a potential Communist saboteur who was to be arrested in the event of a conflict with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). His FBI file reveals that he was assigned to write propaganda for a Communist Party front group in Chicago that would "disseminate the Communist Party line among . the middle class."

It's been well documented that Valerie Jarrett, a Chicago lawyer and longtime Obama confidant, is a liberal extremist who wields tremendous power in the White House. Faithful to her roots, she still has connections to many Communist and extremist groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood.

Paul Kengor summarizes the political import of a Democratic Party headed by a president and his two closest advisers, and the head of Homeland Security, all from communist families:

I've suffered . a mix of amazement, agony, and despair for what has happened in this country. They are at once disturbing and depressing, yet further confirmation that the most politically extreme individuals who once agitated and propagandized in our blessed country were able to place their political children as high as the White House in the 21st century. For the old comrades, it simply took time for the seeds to root and flourish &ndash and only then with the harvest made possible by really oblivious American voters who don't understand the ash-heap of ideological baggage they've permitted to be brought into the country's first house.

There is collusion with Russia going on in American politics today. It has actually been going on for a long time. (See Victor David Hanson on Obama's collusion in the 2012 elections.) President Trump is the target of the collusion. So are we all, all his voters, all Americans who believe in our constitutional republic.

The great mistake of the colluders is they cannot hide behind lies and media corruption, as the hardcore American left has done all these years. It is all out in the open now. The stink of the Mueller witch hunt is in our nostrils. It is sickening, but the stench strengthens our resolve. We are not going to let them annul our victory in the 2017 election with dirty tricks.

The author served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, was a clinical social worker and psychotherapist, and is an author whose a mystery novels highlight the wildlife and peoples of Kenya. She currently writes forAmerican Thinker.


Chile’s elections see defeat of the ruling political caste

Protests at Concepción, Santiago, Chile, 2019 (Photo: Alvaro) Navarro

For three decades, the traditional right and the parties of the ‘Concertación’ co-governed in Chile and were also the main ‘opposition’. Both conglomerates agreed to manage and deepen the economic and social model of neoliberal capitalism that has its origin in the Pinochet dictatorship. Both coalitions are at the service of the interests of the ‘Large Economic Groups’. That is why these conglomerates have been called the “ruling duopoly”, or more simply, “the two rights.”

This party system was mortally wounded by the massive explosion in support of independents and parties to the left of the established political blocs in the elections for the Constitutional Convention, mayors, and governors which took place last weekend, May 15 and 16, 2021. They have resulted in an unexpected blow to the traditional political apparatuses at the service of the ruling class. These results, in some way, represent a continuation of the social uprising that began in October 2019. In this massive movement, millions of people took to the streets demanding social, labour, and democratic rights that were denied during decades of savage neoliberal capitalism. The social movement developed without the leadership of political parties or large trade unions. The revolt led by the working youth entered an ebb, although it was never really defeated, with the “Agreement for Peace and the New Constitution” in November 2019, supported by the great majority of the political blocs in the Congress. This agreement was a lifesaver for the right-wing government of Sebastián Piñera, together with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic in Chile, in March 2020.

Since the last semester of the first government of Piñera (2010-14), the growth of the Chilean economy slowed down. Then with the second government of Bachelet (2014-18), and again with Piñera now, it stagnated.

Chile lacks a strong social security system. Private companies are given a privileged position inscribed into the constitution, inherited from the Pinochet dictatorship. Water and all the natural resources and basic services are in private hands.

There is great indebtedness of Chilean families which are increasingly impoverished. A few months ago a report from the Banco Central dealt with the question of the level of household debt and the health and social crisis. It stated that in 2020 household debt had increased to 75.4% of disposable income. Specifically, out of every 100 pesos of income in a family, more than 75 pesos are accounted for by debt. In contrast, income inequality is brutal. A 2013 investigation by economists from the University of Chile showed, based on data from the Internal Revenue Service (SII) for the period 2005-2010, that the income of individuals belonging to the richest 1% is 30.5% of total income. And 0.01% of the population, about 300 families, account for 11% of the total income.

Inequality, permanent exploitation, low wages, and miserable pensions largely explain the social explosion of 2019, which was sparked by an issue apparently as minor as a 30-peso hike in the Santiago metro. Added to this, the police repression that was broadcast on television and social networks was brutal.

With the Piñera government on the brink of collapse, the political caste devised a salvage operation. On November 15, 2019, Congress announced that it had reached an Agreement for Peace and the New Constitution. The purpose was to channel the movement into the political institutions, as it had lost control of the mass movement on the streets, which faced repression, and there was the growing network of self-convened territorial assemblies and a national strike.

The agreement made in Congress was full of traps. A plebiscite put to the vote whether or not people wanted to keep or change the Constitution. Another vote was also to decide whether to discuss a new constitution in a “mixed convention” (i.e. half its members appointed by congress and half elected by a popular vote) or in a Convention with members all elected by universal vote. It is not a question of a sovereign Constituent Assembly since there are issues that cannot be discussed by the Convention, such as the International Free Trade Agreements that tie the Chilean social-economic model to the interests of multinationals and the industrialised capitalist countries. In addition, a two-thirds majority was required for it to approve any proposal for the new constitution. In other words, a third of the Convention could block the approval of any article of the new Constitution or approve the operating rules of the Convention.

Initially, the 155 members of the Convention had to be chosen according to the same criteria that Congress is chosen, through the highly discredited political parties. However, social pressure from a movement that rejected the Agreement and was very active in the streets, by then, forced the parliament to introduce modifications facilitating the participation of independents and their allies on lists. In addition, it incorporated the criteria of parity of men and women in the election and a guaranteed representation of 17 seats for indigenous peoples.

The result of these elections has been an earthquake for the political system. The predictions of the pollsters have been completely contradicted by the facts. The right-wing and, in general, the traditional political parties have received much lower votes than expected.

The right was united in a single list against multiple opposition lists. However, it was completely defeated and failed to win a third of Convention – which was its objective to block radical proposals. The reverse has happened, and the left has the voting capacity to block proposals from the right. The forces of political reaction have shot themselves in the foot.

A strong realignment and re-composition of political forces are underway. The big winner was the level of abstention, as only 44 % participated. The big losers in the Constitutional Convention are the traditional right (Vamos Chile) which managed to elect 37 members and did not reach the third needed as a blocking mechanism. The former coalition of the “center-right”, Concertación, elected a mere 25 representatives. The Christian Democratic Party barely managed to elect two representatives. The Socialist Party, part of this bloc, is the one that came out the best in the general debacle and elected 15 elected representatives.

There was a large vote by independents and women. The big winners were the independents on the left, especially those from the Lista del Pueblo, gaining 25 members of the Convention who are the most leftwing of those elected. In addition, there are 33 other independents in other minor groupings. These 58 independent representatives surpass all the other coalitions and exceed a third of the Constitutional Convention.

The possibility is there for this Constitutional Convention, which was designed with curtailed powers as a chamber for the reform of the Pinochet Constitution, to become, in practice, a Constituent Assembly reflecting the mass social mobilizations.

It is a good result, overall, but it would be wrong to underestimate the obstacles. The traditional sectors on the right, and the Concertacion, will try to block any radical proposals.

The left-wing coalition brought together the Communist Party, the Social Green Regionalist Federation, and the Broad Front (Frente Amplio). But that is the same Broad Front that with the signature of Gabriel Boric, who now intends to be a presidential candidate, signed the November 2019 Agreement that saved Piñera. He has also voted in favour of the tightening of repressive laws, such as the “anti-hood law”, that today has resulted in thousands of young people being prosecuted and imprisoned for their participation in the social protests.

Everything now open

The left is pleased with the unexpectedly good result in the Constitutional Convention and there were also good results for the reformist left in the municipal elections. The traditional parties that have managed the Chilean neoliberal state during the last three decades performed better, but they were pushed back. Although the Communist Party only got two mayors elected, the results were significant. In the Recoleta district, in Santiago, the Communist Party mayor and presidential candidate of the party, Daniel Jadue, obtained more than 64% of the votes. In the emblematic municipality of Central Santiago, the Communist Party candidate, Irací Hassler, defeated the current mayor of the right. It is symbolic of the change in Chile that for the first time there is a Communist Party mayor in Santiago.

Everything is now open on the political level after a decades-long institutional blockage. It is a consequence of the popular uprising which gripped the country. These elections are an indirect result of the gigantic Chilean social movement. The results of the independent candidates, in particular, show the possibility which exists for building a political alternative of workers and social movements, with an action programme that has a socialist perspective. This can become the axis of a united front of workers and the masses.

The popular rebellion from October 2019 onwards, was the expression of a cultural change and greater political awareness. It was a great setback for conservative ideas and an advance for aspirations of the Chilean people to transform society. That revolutionary movement that gripped society has now found electoral expression by cornering the system of political parties detested by the majority. Distrust of the system is ingrained now in Chilean society. The social mobilization will resume its course to accompany and pressure the debates on the new Constitution.


You Think This Is Chaos? The Election of 1876 Was Worse

As President Trump pushes Congress to block certification of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory, his Republican allies look to the showdown on Capitol Hill a century and a half ago as a model.

WASHINGTON — A few days before the inauguration, no one knew who would actually take the oath of office as president of the United States. There were cries of fraud and chicanery as a divided, surly nation continued to debate the winner of the election many weeks after the ballots had been cast.

The election of 1876 was the most disputed in American history and in some ways one of the most consequential. As Congress convenes on Wednesday to formalize President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory and dispense with Republican objections, many on Capitol Hill and beyond have been looking to the showdown nearly a century and a half ago for clues on how to resolve the latest clash for power.

The players in that drama have faded into obscurity. Few today remember the story of Rutherford B. Hayes, the Republican who ultimately prevailed and served four years as a tainted president. Fewer still can name his Democratic opponent, Samuel Tilden, who lost the White House despite garnering more votes. But the system that will govern Wednesday’s debate was fashioned from that episode, and the standards that were set then are now cited as arguments in the effort to overturn President Trump’s defeat.

Allies of Mr. Trump, led by Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, have latched onto the resolution of the 1876 dispute as a model, proposing that Congress once again create a 15-member commission to decide the validity of various states’ electors. “We should follow that precedent,” Mr. Cruz and 10 other new or returning Republican senators wrote in a joint statement over the weekend.

But there are also profound differences between that battle and this one. For one, the candidate claiming to be aggrieved this time, Mr. Trump, is the incumbent president with the power of the federal government at his disposal. For another, Mr. Trump’s claims of fraud have proved baseless, universally rejected by Republican and Democratic state election authorities, judges across the ideological spectrum and even by his own attorney general.

In 1876, unlike today, three swing states in the South still occupied by Union troops — Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida — sent competing slates of electors to Washington for Congress to consider. No state has done that this time and every state has certified its results, resulting in a decisive victory for Mr. Biden with 306 electoral votes to 232 for Mr. Trump.

“I don’t really imagine Ted Cruz knows that much about the election of 1876,” said Eric Foner, an emeritus history professor at Columbia University and a leading Reconstruction scholar. “The fundamental difference here is in 1876, there were disputed returns from three states. Today, there’s a lot of talk from Trump and others about fraud, but you don’t have two reports of electoral votes each claiming to be official from the states.”

Other presidential elections have been disputed over the years as well, though never challenged by a losing incumbent president as Mr. Trump has done. In 1800, no candidate received a majority of the Electoral College, so under the Constitution the decision was thrown to the House, which rewarded the presidency to Thomas Jefferson over John Adams, who accepted the decision without trying to hang onto power.

Twenty-four years later, Adams’s son, John Quincy Adams, came out on top when another election went to the House even though he had fewer popular votes than Andrew Jackson, his main opponent. Jackson was convinced that Adams won through a “corrupt bargain” with a third candidate, Henry Clay, who threw his support to Adams and later became secretary of state. Four years later, Jackson ran again and won his revenge, ousting Adams.

Other elections were challenged without intervention by Congress. Some Republicans suspected that John F. Kennedy’s victory in 1960 was based on fraud and filed lawsuits, but Richard M. Nixon disavowed the effort. George W. Bush won the presidency over Al Gore in 2000 only after a five-week recount battle was decided by the Supreme Court. Four years later, some Democrats objected to electors for Mr. Bush’s re-election when Congress tallied the votes, but the move was fruitless and disclaimed by the losing candidate, John F. Kerry.

The fireworks of 1876, however, were like none other and not just because it was the country’s centennial. Then as now, the election dispute had its roots in a major cleavage in American society. Barely a decade after the end of the Civil War, the country remained fractured by geography, economics, class and especially race.

The party that ended slavery won the presidency in the short term that year, but the white supremacists got what they wanted in the long term by agreeing to accept defeat in exchange for the end of Reconstruction, ultimately ushering in 90 years of legalized segregation and oppression of newly freed Blacks in the south.

The contest pitted two northern governors whose fate would be decided by southern states. Hayes, the Republican, had served as a Union general in the Civil War. He fought at Antietam and was wounded four times over the course of the conflict. A two-term congressman and three-term governor of Ohio, he was a restrained figure, “a magic lantern image without even a surface to be displayed upon,” in the biting words of Ambrose Bierce, the famed soldier-turned-writer of the era.

Tilden, the Democrat, was a lawyer and crusading reformer in New York who helped bring down Tammany Hall’s Boss Tweed and parlayed that into the governorship. With a drooping left eyelid, he “looked like a man in desperate need of a good night’s sleep,” as Roy Morris Jr. put it in “Fraud of the Century,” his 2003 account of the election dispute.

The election was replete with intimidation, fraud and efforts to suppress the Black vote. In South Carolina, white “rifle clubs” massacred scores of Black residents to frighten others not to vote. In Florida, Democrats strong-armed Black voters and others by having landlords, shopkeepers, doctors and lawyers charge a 25 percent surtax on anyone suspected of voting Republican. On the other side, the state-owned railroad fired employees who attended Democratic rallies. And votes were said to be for sale at $5 each.

On Nov. 7, 1876, Tilden received over 250,000 more votes than Hayes, but as the night wore on, he had secured just 184 of the 185 electoral votes he needed to win. Hayes trailed with 166. Left outstanding were the three southern states, the last yet to be “redeemed” by the federal government after the war, with a total of 19 electoral votes — exactly the number Hayes would need to win.

In all three states, Republican-led “returning boards” examined the votes and allegations of fraud to Hayes’s benefit. In Louisiana, where Tilden led by 6,300 votes, the board threw out 15,000 votes they deemed to be illegitimate, 13,000 of them from Democrats, tilting the state for Hayes. The states likewise disputed their own elections and had two competing state governments.

When the Electoral College met in state capitals on Dec. 6, all three states sent competing slates of electors to Washington for Congress to pick from. (There was also a dispute over a single elector from Oregon.) Like now, Democrats controlled the House and Republicans the Senate. Unable to choose between the competing electors, lawmakers punted by forming a 15-member commission with five members from the House, five from the Senate and five Supreme Court justices.

Fourteen of the members were considered partisans split down the middle so the 15th member was to be the decisive vote and it was expected to be Justice David Davis, who was considered independent. But the Illinois legislature offered him a seat in the United States Senate back when they were filled by appointment and he declined to serve on the commission.

The decisive commission seat then went to Justice Joseph Bradley, a farmer’s son who trained himself as a lawyer and intellectual with 16,000 books in his personal library.

Unlike now, Republicans argued that Congress only had the limited power to ensure the procedural validity of the electors, not to go beyond that and determine whether there was fraud. Justice Bradley accepted the view that external evidence could not be considered and so awarded the electors to Hayes.

But with the risk of another civil war, the real decision was made separately between party power brokers. While Tilden himself was antislavery, the Democratic Party in that era was the defender of white rule in the South and agreed to accept Hayes’s election when the commission reported back to Congress in exchange for an end to Reconstruction by the federal government. Hayes later ordered Union troops that had been protecting Republican governments in the disputed states to withdraw and Democrats again consolidated control of the region for generations.

At a joint session, Congress declared Hayes the winner at 4:10 a.m. on March 2, 1877, barely two days before the March 4 inauguration date then set by the Constitution. “This outcome was a testament to the ability of the American system of government to improvise solutions to even the most difficult and important problems,” Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote in 2004 in his own study of the episode.

Still, Hayes, who was called “His Fraudulency” and “Rutherfraud B. Hayes,” never shed the stigma and did not seek another term. Congress, for its part, resolved never to go through that ordeal again. In 1887, it passed a law setting out the procedures for counting electors, rules that have proved durable ever since. On Wednesday, they will be tested as never before.