Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My Favorite Ghost Story, The 1960 Presidential Election

My minions will crush you, Nixon!
It's election day in the United States.  While only a midterm election, the anger and fear most Americans are feeling can be smelled a mile away.  Sorry Americans, the odor permeating the room from excessive anxiety can't be blamed on the poll worker who didn't wear deodorant. So sit back, relax and enjoy one of my favorite ghost stories.  It will help your perspiration.

The year is 1960.  Kennedy and Nixon are campaigning for president and the polls show a close race.  Despite misgivings about Kennedy's Catholic faith, he manages to attract a large number of supporters through his charisma and media appeal.  His appeal is so great that even the dead cannot wait to vote for him on election day.  On a cold, blustery election day, ghosts in Chicago and Texas awaken from their slumber and vote for Kennedy.

I promise to pardon all the souls in purgatory, who vote for me.

Maybe he promised them everlasting life, better meals in purgatory or  health care.  Whatever it was, ghosts came to the polls in record numbers.  One poll worker in Chicago, scared after she saw her dead husband voting said, "At first I screamed, but realizing it was my husband; I went to embrace him."  She continues, "I asked him why he was here and he told me the mayor of Chicago woke him up and threatened eternal damnation if he didn't vote for Kennedy."

Ok, so I made the last part up.  Never the less, the 1960 election was a close one.  Kennedy won the election by only 113,000 votes and in Texas and Illinois the tally was even closer.  When I was growing up, my father taught me that dead people in both Texas and Illinois voted.  Dead people didn't actually vote, however, just people pretending to be the dead person whose name was never erased from the voter registration. 

After the election Republicans cried foul and several people in Chicago were convicted of fraud.  Fraud in Chicago elections?  I know, it is hard to believe.  Evidence for fraud in other Illinois and Texas counties didn't turn up, but many historians, political commentators and dads across the country consider the 1960 Presidential Election stolen.  If Kennedy's groupies (politician don't get their hands dirty) had rigged the election, they did a wonderful job.  Now, didn't this story make you feel better?

You might also like:
Muslim and Catholic Kinship
Would You Like a Cup of Tea?

You might also enjoy:
Kennedy Vs. Humphrey, West Virginia, 1960: The Pivotal Battle for the Democratic Presidential Nomination 

1 comment:

  1. I would refer readers of this post to an article in Slate, "Was Nixon Robbed? The Legend of the Stolen 1960 Presidential Election" by David Greenberg (published on 10/16/2000). It is by no means a definitive account, but it does explain that while Nixon lost by only 113,000 votes, the vote in the Electoral College was 303 to 219. As a result neither the outcome in Texas or Illinois matter (these two states only had a total of 51 electoral votes).

    And as we know from the 2000 presidential election, the popular vote technically doesn't matter, as long as a candidate wins a majority in the Electoral College.

    I would also point out that millions of African-American voters in southern states were disenfranchised and could not vote until the 1965 Voting Rights Act was passed (Mississippi and Alabama voted for a segregation candidate in 1960).


Kind, thoughtful and intelligent comments are welcome! Debate is welcomed, but harsh, judgmental comment are not.

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