The political mudslinging postcards seem to have gotten larger this year.

You know the ones.

Usually they are not promoting a particular candidate, rather the aim is to sling political rhetoric.

When I read some of the postcards, hear some of the advertisements on television or listen to some of the commercials on the radio, I often think, “That’s not right!” While the statements may be somewhat accurate, they are very slanted.

Having reported on the Kansas political scene in this part of the state for the last four elections, the positions of the candidates are pretty clear.

Often those political advertisements are not even endorsed by the candidate but rather distributed by political action committees.

Mudslinging seems to work.

It’s not new.

The art of publishing innuendo and false statements dates back to, well, the time of Alexander Hamilton, who himself attacked Thomas Jefferson writing under the pen name of “Phocion.”

In his farewell address in 1796 after refusing a third term in office, President George Washington warned future leaders about political parties, saying, “The alternate domination of one factor over another, sharpened by spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages the counties has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.”

We didn’t listen.

It didn’t taken long for the country to be split.

In the next election John Adams represented the Federalist Party while Thomas Jefferson stood for the Democratic-Republican Party. Adams received 71 electoral votes, all in the New England area, while Jefferson received 68, all in the western states at the time.

Despite the hostile environment of the election, and no doubt a dual or two, things really heated up in 1828.

John Quincy Adams represented the National Republican Party while Andrew Jackson was a Democrat.

Once again the country was divided by the east and west as Jackson represented the west, which had grown since 1796.

Adams supporters, much like those in today’s political environment, attacked Jackson’s family mostly through printed pamphlets, their version of today’s postcard campaigns.

Though Jackson’s mother had died, an Adams supporter wrote, “General Jackson’s mother was a COMMON PROSTITUTE brought to this country by British soldiers. She afterwards married a MULATTO MAN, with whom she had several children, of which General JACKSON IS ONE!!!”

Jackson’s wife Rachel, who was previously married and accidentally not completely divorced prior to her marriage to Jackson was called a “convicted adulteress.”

Jackson supporters fired back. They accused Adams of having premarital sex with his wife and being a pimp, claiming he arranged an American hooker for Russian Czar Alexander 1.

Adams supporters called Jackson a slave-trading, gambling, brawling murderer, which were somewhat true.

One of the handbills called Jackson a cannibal, saying that after massacring Indians one evening he had them for breakfast.

The information that might be in a sequel to the Broadway musical Hamilton could be very entertaining but may be R-rated.

Jackson won the election with 179 electoral votes from the Western states for the Democratic Party while Adams received 83 from the Eastern states.

More recently in the 2000 election, robo-calls were sent out asking primary voters if they would be “more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain if they knew that he fathered an illegitimate Black child.”

No doubt the Nov. 2020 election will be a doozy and set a new record when it comes to name calling,  if the current postcards are any indication. Do a little research before you cast your vote.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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