Craziest Elections Part II: 1860

The 1800s were turbulent time in America, with the nation discovering what it was. It was growing exponentially, assimilating tens of millions of new immigrants. America had captured the imagination of the entire world.

It was also a time of confronting the evil of slavery. The Founders had laid the groundwork, stopping the importation of slaves. But ending the practice of slavery itself would require the right leader, at the right time to see the country safely through to the other side. The election of 1860 was critically important to achieve this worthy goal, with Abraham Lincoln rising to capture the attention of the nation and secure his place in history.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: In this series, we're talking about crazy elections. And one of the more crazy elections happened in the 1800s. They were turbulent. It was an amazing century for the United States. The nation was discovering who it was, what it was. It was growing exponentially. It was assimilating tens of millions of new immigrants, and it was expanding. It was discovering, flexing its muscle. It had captured the imagination of the entire world.

But it was also the time when it was finally forced to confront the evil that it didn't end on its inception. The Founders had laid the groundwork. They stopped the importation of slaves, but the ending of slavery itself had to wait for the right leader at the right time in order to see the country safely through to the other side.

That is why the election of 1860 was so critically important. The two-party system at the time was just comprised of the Democrats and the Whigs. And the sitting Democratic president James Buchanan was so unpopular, that he wasn't even brought up by his party to be nominated to run for reelection.

They made the frontrunner, Democratic Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas. John Breckenridge, the vice president from Kentucky, he was representing the Southern Democratic Party. John Bell from Tennessee was the constitutional Union Whig Party candidate. And then representing a new 4-year-old Republican Party was an awkward, lanky Abraham Lincoln.

Here's the question I ask: Where there Americans in 1860 that were saying, you know, if you vote for Abraham Lincoln, you're just wasting your vote? Or that a vote for Lincoln is actually a vote for Breckenridge? Because Lincoln was the third party candidate in 1860.

And the country was a mess. Many Southern states were already threatening to secede in the lead-up to the election. And one of the things that was well-known in the South about Lincoln was that he hated slavery. And many in the South, especially the deep South, hated him for it.

At the time, Lincoln had no intention of going to war with the South, if elected. Which in part, won him the Republican nomination. But those in the South, they didn't believe him. Lincoln had an interesting strategy for the campaign which was very different from the plan that Douglas had.

VOICE: Photographs played a vital role in the election of Abraham Lincoln as the 16th US president.

In the final weeks of the campaign, instead of giving speeches, Lincoln took every available opportunity to pose for photographers and sculptors. Simultaneously, his old rival Stephen Douglas made the critical mistake of hitting the campaign trail.

In the 1800s, a presidential nominee who actively campaigned was ridiculed for seeming so desperate. And this is exactly how the public reacted to the Douglas whirlwind tour. Lincoln was campaigning just as hard, but not by making visits and giving speeches. Instead, by having his photograph show up everywhere in his place.

GLENN: Actively campaigning was seen as desperate in the 1800s. Oh, if we could only get that desperate part of our country back.

A lot of secession talk from the South. Rumors were swirling and scare tactic rhetoric was abundant, that if Lincoln won, there would be secession in war.

But Lincoln and his team ignored that. He carried the North and did well enough elsewhere to win the presidency by a significant margin, taking the popular vote 39.8 percent to 29.5 percent for Douglas and the electoral vote 180 to 72 over Breckenridge.

But by the time Lincoln was inaugurated, six states had already seceded from the Union. Nine more would follow, as well as the bloodiest war in American history.

Abraham Lincoln was perhaps the man born to see America through its most perilous period. In 1875, Ulysses S. Grant, the two-term president of the United States, about to attempt to become America's first three-term president ignoring the tradition set by George Washington to self-limit to two, Grant himself, despite the terrible economy -- in fact, a three-year depression that had left 3 million Americans unemployed and being bogged down in corruption and scandals, Grant was ready to go for the presidency again, as were his advisers.

But then Congress passed a resolution by a vote of 233 to 18 stating that Washington started the two-term tradition to avoid a dictatorship. And apparently, that helped sway the American public as it turned the tide in the thinking and the plans of Ulysses S. Grant.

In the end, he finally decided against running for a third term. That left the election to the eventual Republican nominee, Ohio governor Rutherford B. Hayes and the Democratic nominee Samuel Tilden, the governor of New York.

After winning the Republican nomination on the seventh ballot, political writer Roy Morris Jr. explained that Hayes...

VOICE: In his acceptance letter to the Republican convention -- nominees didn't appear at the convention in those days -- he promised a return to good honest government, a reform of the civil service system, and an elimination of bribery and corruption in Washington. Compared to the other Republican candidates such as Blaine and Conklin, he was squeaky clean. So was his wife, a tireless temperance crusader known as Lemonade Lucy, for her refusal to serve alcoholic beverages at official state functions.

GLENN: Tilden, on the other hand, presented by newspapermen at the time in a rather unusual way.

VOICE: He was a lifelong bachelor. And during the ensuing campaign, there were several cartoons ran showing him wearing a dress. Which was a not so subtle suggestion that he was gay.

GLENN: Even with the insinuation of Tilden being gay -- keeping in mind this is 1876 and a very different mindset -- still Samuel Tilden won the popular vote for presidency 51-48. Oh, we were such haters. He also won the electoral college vote, 184-165, with 20 electoral votes unresolved. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Yeah, you heard me right. I did just say that: Sam Tilden won both the popular and electoral vote. But we don't have President Sam Tilden anywhere. What happened?

Well, two days before inauguration day, March 2nd, 1877, facing a constitutional crisis the likes of which the nation had never experienced, Congress created a temporary group called the Electoral Commission, which superseded the electoral college. You want to talk about an election being stolen: They wanted to determine what to do with the 20 unresolved, uncommitted electoral votes.

The Democrats threatened to filibuster through Inauguration Day, in order just to get their nominee the necessary votes. But instead, a deal was struck with the Democrats. By the electoral commission, they would accept Republican Rutherford Hayes as president. And in exchange, they would withdraw the northern occupation troops from the South.

This turned out to be a really bad thing because it ended reconstruction, enabled the South to reenact all the laws that were discriminatory against the blacks. So, yes, once again, the Democrats and all the weasely politicians in Washington made a deal that somehow worked out for them, but not so much for the American people.

The 20 unresolved votes all went to Hayes, giving him the closest margin of victory in American history, 185 to 184 electoral votes. It was also the election with the highest percentage of voter turnout in American history. 82 percent. It was also the only time in American history where a candidate received more than 50 percent of the popular vote, but was denied the presidency.

It kind of puts the whole election mess of 2000 into perspective, doesn't it? The elections of 1912, progressive versus progressive. For the first time in American history. And the election of 1948 in the next episode.

Bill O'Reilly joined the "Glenn Beck Radio Program" on Friday for his weekly take on the 2020 presidential race.

O'Reilly emphasized what a dangerous candidate socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) really is, and how the media is working to mislead voters by depicting other Democratic candidates, such as former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as "moderate."

"The Democratic Party has been hijacked -- and this is no breaking news -- by the progressive left. Which is now being enabled by the national media," said O'Reilly.

"Bernie Sanders is a dangerous man. In any sane time, media time, that would be clear to everybody. But it's not," he added. "It's like, 'Oh, there's uncle Bernie and he just wants to give stuff away. What a great guy.' [He's] not a great guy, all right? He's a totalitarian. He'll take your freedom, in every area, away. Every area. There isn't one area, that Bernie Sanders wouldn't intrude upon, in your personal freedom. Yet, that's not reported. You don't know it unless you pay attention. It's all a bunch of dishonest blather that has obliterated the so-called moderate Democrat. And there are millions of those people. They don't know what to do because they have no voice in the media."

Glenn pointed out that the media has been "trying to make Pete Buttigieg into a moderate" ever since his strong showing in the Iowa caucuses last week.

"So, Pete Buttigieg: Harvard grad. Rhodes Scholar. Brilliant man, he is brilliant. Great speaker. Almost as good as Beck and I. Not quite, but almost," O'Reilly said. "He's only 38, all right? So, the guy goes out and runs for president after being the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, for eight years, and almost destroying that city. The city is in chaos, yet he's re-elected with 80% of the vote the second time. That's what a good BS'er Pete Buttigieg is.

The two went on to break down Buttegieg's radical policy plans on immigration, abortion, gun control, and more.

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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On the radio program Thursday, Glenn Beck and his chief researcher, Jason Buttrill, have uncovered new evidence that suggests the coronavirus death toll numbers coming from China are grossly inaccurate.

After vetting several deep-fake videos circulating on social media, Jason unearthed shocking whistleblower-videos released by citizens of the communist state that show entire warehouses filled with body bags, along with other atrocities.

Jason and Glenn break down the real numbers and discuss the possibilities of the outbreak coming to America. Watch the video below for more details:

Don't miss next Wednesday's TV special on the coronavirus in its new time slot at 9PM ET.

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream. Use code GLENN to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.


Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has surged in the polls in the past month.

With former Vice President Joe Biden dropping below far-left presidential candidates such as the unapologetically socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), and the almost equally extremist Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass), Democratic voters seeking a more moderate alternative are setting their sights on Mayor Pete.

But are Buttigieg's policies actually moderate? Not even close, Glenn Beck said Thursday on the radio program.

"[Pete Buttigieg] wants people to see him as a moderate. The mayor of a Midwest city in a red state ... and he's going for the middle, even though he is not a moderate candidate in any way," said Glenn.

Here are just a few example of where Buttigieg stands on the issues:

  • Supports late-term, partial-birth abortion
  • Eliminate the Electoral College
  • Buyback program for assault weapons
  • Raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour
  • Expand Medicare
  • Decriminalize illegal immigration
  • Pay for infrastructure through changing taxes on corporations, the wealthy
  • Study reparations
  • Legalize marijuana
  • Increase existing taxes on upper-income Americans
  • Cancel some student debt
  • Don't use tariffs to pressure countries
Watch the video clip below for more information:

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An official at the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations' health agency, has issued a warning, calling the coronavirus "the worst enemy you can imagine" and more of a threat than "any terrorist attack," during a media briefing on Tuesday.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO's director general, said that a vaccine for the coronavirus will likely take 18 months to develop. The virus has reportedly killed hundreds and infected tens of thousands of people, primarily in China.

"To be honest, a virus is more powerful in creating political, social and economic upheaval than any terrorist attack. It's the worst enemy you can imagine," added Ghebreyesus.

On the radio program Wednesday, Glenn Beck noted that the same agency in charge of developing this life-saving vaccine, has taken the time to officially change the disease's name to COVID-19, citing the concern of "stigmatizing" any specific geographical location, individual, or group of people.

Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Use code GLENN to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.