Properly, here we're once more, careening towards Election Day with many of the polls inside the margin of error. Could this be an additional year our president is selected, not by favorite choice, but by the vote of a single Supreme Court justice? Does this possibility conjure up ghosts of a past presidential election? A presidential election with early returns that used to coronate the Democratic nominee only to dash his hopes even before the celebrations could begin? A presidential election that left Florida's electoral lead to chaos with each sides rushing agents south to watch the count? A presidential election that elected a candidate who had actually lost the well-liked vote? A presidential election with fuzzed up election returns leaving the Democrat's feeling bitter and betrayed? Yeah, the presidential election of 1876 was arguably probably the most fiercely disputed election in American history. What's which you say; I got the year wrong? Read on. The Republican candidate was Rutherford B. Hayes. Born in Ohio in 1822, Hayes was educated at Kenyon College and Harvard Law School. He fought in the Civil War, and was wounded in action. Notwithstanding his injuries, Hays ascended to the rank of brevet main general. Even though still inside the Union Army, Hays won a seat inside the Property of Representatives in1865. Among 1867 and 1876 he served 3 terms as Governor of Ohio. Samuel J. Tilden was the Democratic nominee. Tilden was a veteran of New York politics that went back to Martin Van Buren. Tilden's role in exposing and prosecuting the Boss Tweed Ring propelled him towards the governorship of New York in 1874. Tilden was a rather curious option for the Democratic candidate. He was sixty-two years of age (old in terms of a politician's age in those days) plus a multimillionaire and so not genuinely deemed a populist (just about a requirement for a Democratic candidate right at that moment and perhaps even nowadays.) Nonetheless, the betting odds clearly favored Tilden with Hays prepared to concede even before the total was tallied. Sure, the early results of that election evening indicated that Tilden would readily win and Hays was grasping a towel, maybe not in his hand but surely in his mind with plans to toss it inside the following day. But inside the wee hours of that post election day, just as the New York Occasions editorial staff was about to announce Tilden the winner, a message arrived from the Democratic party with an invitation that diverted the flow of the election far from Tilden and toward Hays. The Demarcates asked the Occasions for an estimate of the electoral vote. Why would the Democrats request this estimate if they were confident of victory? This message conveyed enough insecurity by the Democrats to make the New York Occasions, a staunch Republican organ, to hang around its announcement of a Tilden win. In those days the New York Times was considered to be the final authority on all things enumerated. The Times rather than proclaiming Tilden the winner, announced that various states, including Florida, had been nonetheless to end to call leaving each sides short of a majority of electoral votes needed to win. Also, on that early post-election morning, John C. Reid, managing editor of the Occasions, prodded Republican operatives to send telegrams to party leaders in a variety of states alerting them that Hay's nonetheless had a chance of victory and that chance was hanging by the thread of securing electoral votes within the closely divided states. The Republicans controlled the state governments in a few of these states and thus the election machinery. And they surely weren't afraid to put a heavy thumb on an election scale. In Florida, the southern Democrats, the party of Jim Crow, in place of the party of civil rights applied intimidation and violence to keep blacks faraway from the polls. All of this with the firm determination of white voters to rid themselves of corrupt carpetbaggers from the control of nearby governments guaranteed the absence of any chance of a fair vote count. With the smell of a doable Democratic debacle in the air, the Republican controlled election boards in Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina eliminated Tilden majorities and instead proclaimed Hays the victor. In Oregon, where Hays had won a narrow victory, the Democrats contested a single electoral vote on a technicality, throwing the results into Tilden's column. Each the Democrats and the Republicans provided electoral votes in opposition towards the respective board certified votes from these states. A divided congress, with a Democratic controlled Property along with a Republican controlled Senate, had to determine which of the double sets of the (twenty total) electoral votes in dispute ought to be accepted. A joint committee of these two houses finally decided right after a lot wrangling that an Electoral Commission consisting of fifteen participants with 5 each and every from the Senate, the Property as well as the Supreme Court would be established. The Home and the Senate elected representatives based on 3 for most and two for the minority from every. The five Supreme Court justices had been selected established on two each from recognized political allegiance and 1 justice of uncertain party affiliation. Justice David Davis was to be that impartial representative. Tilden essential only an additional electoral vote to win, plus the Democrats felt certain that the commission wouldn't be so partisan as to reward all twenty votes to Hays, and so felt confident of victory. The Democrat's hopes were dimmed, yet, on the pretty day that the by-partisan commission bill passed the lower home. News arrived that on the preceding day a coalition of Democrats and independents had elected Justice Davis towards the US Senate, and therefore disqualifying him for the Electoral Commission. All the remaining justices were known Republicans plus the Democrats had to decide on the choice of Joseph P. Bradley who looked as if it would be by far the most independent of the bunch. #randurls[1|1|,|list1a|]# Of course Bradley went along with his follow Republicans on each and every disputed electoral vote and Hays was named the winner. The quaintest part of this whole sorted story is that a great many Democrats essentially considered that the judicial members of the committee would set aside their partisan views and operate using the fair-mindedness of true judges. Even within the 2000 race, I suspect a lot of Democrats did not recognize the election was lost soon after the Supreme Court got its dogmatistic stained mitts on the electoral method. 1 factor is specific, if the correct wing of the Supreme Court gets its opportunity to extra-constitutionally usurp the American election procedure again in 2008, you could bet your house that it will be John McCain for the following four years.