Attack Politics Nothing New
Andrew Sullivan posts some reader quotes from the election of 1800, pitting John Adams against his ostensible vice president, Thomas Jefferson. As those who have studied such things already knew, they aren’t pretty.
There are an alarming number that sound like they came straight from this election: Adams was mocked for being old. Jefferson was considered a man of the people despite coming from a wealthy background. Adams was considered “elite” despite having more humble beginnings. They are both criticized for having questionable associates.
If anything, I’d argue that our political campaigns have gotten much more congenial. The main difference, aside from differing technology, is that people in 1800 seemed to take political attacks for what they were. Now, everything is taken as if it’s a secret code standing in for something else, be it race, patriotism, age, or what have you.
Photo credit: National Park Service