1880

PICKING PRESIDENTS 1788 -- 1992

September 24, 1992|By Theo Lippman Jr

This is the 52nd presidential election. The 24th in 1880 wa the first in 36 years in which race relations was not a primary issue. A few Republicans complained of Democratic disenfranchisement of former slaves, but since Republican President Rutherford B. Hayes had been a party to the deal that allowed that, little attention was paid.

Republicans flirted with renominating U.S. Grant, but settled on nominating Ohio Rep. James A. Garfield as a compromise choice. Democrats chose Winfield Hancock, a career soldier.

The candidates and parties differed on almost nothing but the tTC issue of a tariff. Republicans, coerced by their business constituents, favored a high one as protection. Democrats did not. Hancock seemed not to understand the issue and was criticized as a general unprepared for statecraft and politics.

Nonetheless, Republican popularity was wearing thin after 20 years in the White House. Garfield barely edged Hancock by 26,000 votes out of nearly 10 million cast.

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