Although a galaxy of famous Republican speakers, and even Mark Twain, stumped for Hayes, he expected the Democrats to win. When the first returns seemed to confirm this, Hayes went to bed, believing he had lost. But in New York, Republican National Chairman Zachariah Chandler, aware of a loophole, wired leaders to stand firm: "Hayes has 185 votes and is elected." The popular vote evidently was 4,300,000 for Tilden to 4,036,000 for Hayes. Hayes' election, though, depended upon contested electoral votes in Louisiana, South Carolina, and Florida (Can we say "deja vu"?). If all the disputed electoral votes went to Hayes, he would win; a single one would elect Tilden.
Months of wrangling and confusion followed. In January 1877 Congress established an Electoral Commission to decide the dispute. The commission, made up of eight Republicans and seven Democrats, determined all the contests in favor of Hayes by eight to seven. The final electoral vote: 185 to 184. OUCH!
Riding the crest of reform sentiment, Tilden, a lawyer from New York, had been nominated for president by the Democrats in 1876. The infamous Disputed Election certainly held the potential to touch off a national crisis, but Tilden instructed his followers to accept a verdict that was clearly counter to the voters' will.
Tilden was approached again by the Democrats in 1880 and 1884, but he refused to consider another nomination. A portion of Tilden's fortune was left for the creation of a free public library (evidently my family did NOT inherit any of it); that bequest was merged with others in 1895 to establish the New York Public Library.
Samuel J. Tilden was a strange mixture for a politician. He was not an imposing man, tending to be nervous, small-voiced and almost timid. However, he overshadowed those qualities through intelligence and a strong sense of organization. Tilden was respected, not loved, by the voters. A number of historians have suggested that a more forceful figure would have managed to shame the Republicans out of their successful effort to steal the election in 1877. In TODAY'S elections, being respected appears to take a back seat to BEING "LOVED". Actually, I guess it did THEN, as well.
I have forecast that the Repubs will field Jeb Bush and Rudy Giuliani for Pres. and VP. This prediction is conditional, however, and depends entirely on whether George W. (in the eyes of the American people), despite his current low poll ratings, doesn't become a total pariah. That "capital" George inferred (however stupidly) he had "earned" following his last election HAS indeed been spent (I think we can also add that his account shows "INSUFFICIENT FUNDS"), there's no question about it, and lately he hasn't ingratiated himself overmuch with his own party (never mind the entire country). So, if "43" achieves OUTCAST status (either literally or figuratively), the Jeb prediction certainly becomes moot. In that event, John McCain appears poised to step into the top spot on the candidate list. Guliani, then, seems to add far too much moderation to the ticket for the Republicans' liking and a more conservative choice there is likely.
So WHO will the Democrats run if not Hillary, Vilsack, Gore or Obama for President? Well, since ELECTABLE must needs be the primary concern, Hillary, in the minds of the majority, owns too many "negatives". To become the first woman president will alone be quite a challenge, but when we add to that any Liberal "baggage" she seems to carry, and when you add to that the "William Jefferson effect", as in baseball the "strikes" against her will prevent her from getting to first base. Tom Vilsack, Governor of Iowa, would make a good president, but again due to a plentiful lack of charisma, he doesn't appear to possess a nationally appealing chance of winning. His speech-making, while intelligent, is lack-luster and likely would ward off too many citizens who require a sentient experience from candidates' speeches.
Al Gore might well make another run and could advance rather far, but he too is beset with various demerits in the minds of many, not the least of which is his association with (as well as his distancing himself FROM)Clinton.
If they were going for brains, Obama should CLEARLY get their nod; however, we come back to that necessary ingredient of ELECTABLE. Sad as it is, at this point an African-American person is going to be a hard-sell for the TOP SPOT on the ticket.
My choice, then, for the Democrat's best ticket would be John Edwards for President and Barak Obama for VP. Will this be the ultimate selection? Well, history has shown me that the BEST ticket hasn't necessarily been the one that runs. But the Edwards/Obama ticket presents attractiveness, charisma, brains, fantastic speech-making abilities and very little on the deficit side of the ledger. Think of them opposing Jeb/Rudy, or John/Rudy, or anyone the Repubs could run. What a contrast with the current dim-wit in there!!! Given the choice, who will Jack and Jill American want? They'll want an OPPOSITE to what we have now. Can you doubt it? What should Jack and Jill DEMOCRAT want? What they SHOULDN'T want is to "go up the HILL to get IMPALED on NOT HER!!!"