(hat tip to Nick Schweiter on Facebook)
There have been dirty campaigns; there will always be dirty campaigns. The difference now perhaps is the instantaneous way “attack” ads are spread, social media, internet, “fact-checkers,” etc.
And lest you think this was an outlier, look at the election of 1828, where
both men would have wild stories circulated about their pasts, with lurid charges of murder, adultery, and procuring of women being plastered across the pages of partisan newspapers.
And then there was the one of 1860. Evidently, relations between Douglas and Lincoln that seemed so good during their famous debates had soured, because Douglas said Lincoln was
a “horrid-looking wretch, sooty and scoundrelly in aspect, a cross between the nutmeg dealer, the horse-swapper and the nightman.”
On Lincoln’s part,
Stephen Douglas … claimed that he was really just taking a leisurely train ride from D.C. to New York to visit his mom. Lincoln and his supporters took note of the fact that it took him over a month to get there and even put out a “Lost Child” handbill that said he “Left Washington, D.C. some time in July, to go home to his mother… who is very anxious about him. Seen in Philadelphia, New York City, Hartford, Conn., and at a clambake in Rhode Island. Answers to the name Little Giant. Talks a great deal, very loud, always about himself.”
And then there’s the election of 1884,
The election of 1884 … also a campaign marked by notorious mudslinging, including a paternity scandal.
Dirtiest campaign ever? It’s debatable.