It seems that every year, the U.S. presidential election gets more and more heated. And recently, it seems to have been just extra intense. But Lindsay Graham (not the Senator) knows that they’ve pretty much always been this way since George Washington decided to step off of his post in the late 1790s. “American Elections: Wicked Game” is here to review the entire history of America’s elections and prove that there was a “good ole days” when it comes to politics.
Since the premiere and global praise of Hamilton, you’d think that people would realize that the presidential election has always been played dirty. It’s always been heated; it’s always been strenuous. And John Adams was truly the first to face the heat. While “American Elections: Wicked Game” starts off with Washington’s terms starting in ’89 and ’92, those were virtually unanimous. There was never going to be any contest as to who would be the first leader of this new country.
It wasn’t until 1796 that the first contest came to be. Truthfully, we all know too much about these very early elections thanks to Lin-Manuel Miranda. And for you Hamilton fans, the 1796 and 1800 presidential elections are what set the stage for Hamilton’s death and Aaron Burr’s ultimate downfall. The details that Graham gets into are the ones that couldn’t fit into a two-and-a-half-hour musical.
The way the American people elect their president has changed drastically through the centuries as the number of states and citizens grew. And, despite Washington’s warning, political parties came and went until we were left with the two-party system of today. Even before we could all read what our relatives post on social media, people were screaming, yelling and raging in venomous political disagreements.
Hear about the first accidental president with the election of Polk and the unsurprisingly divisive election of 1860 between Lincoln and Douglas. Hear just how Franklin D. Roosevelt managed to secure his third and fourth terms, and all of the salacious acts that went on behind the curtain of Kennedy vs. Nixon in 1960. Make your way all the way through to 2020 before you decide which election was truly the most rancorous of all.
“American Elections: Wicked Game” gets its name from a letter John Adams wrote to his wife in 1796. The wicked game, he called it, as the people were finally allowed to voice their opinions, print them in papers, and go to war within their own factions. But has this wicked game truly gotten wickeder? Maybe make yourself feel a little better (or a little worse) to learn that American politics have always been this way.