Duncan Davidson
Saturday, August 22, 2020

🏛 Gore vs Bush in 2000 wasn’t the most contested election in American history.

Not even close.

In The New Yorker, Eric Lach tells the story of the 1876 election between Tilden and Hayes, where things got so bad that three Southern states each sent conflicting certifications of who won. The price that Democrats extracted from Republicans to concede ended Reconstruction and ushered in the Jim Crow era.

It’s a horrifying blueprint for what’s possible this fall in the upcoming elections. Even more worrisome, Lach goes on to describe the scenarios that the current day bi-partisan Transition Integrity Project hosted in June to game out what might happen this year:

It was 1876 all over again. Both campaigns called for their supporters to take to the streets. Trump invoked the Insurrection Act. Republicans in Congress declared that Vice-President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, was entitled to choose which certification from Michigan to accept as legitimate.

If you’re having the feeling that 2020 has a fair amount of chaos in reserve for the end of the year, you’re certainly not alone.