Horatio Seymour, the Great Decliner of 1868.

Horatio Seymour, Governor of New York, Democrat, most certainly did NOT want to be a candidate for president. The same as he had not wanted to be Governor, or Senator, or Mayor of Utica, or anything really except an upstate farmer and amateur historian.

But he didn’t get his wish. Although maybe he did in the end – he was routed by General Ulysses S. Grant in the election of 1868.

What would life have been like if the Great Decliner had refused himself into office?

Listen here.

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The quintessential Horatio Seymour. Warm eyes. Bald head. Epic neckbeard.

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The neckbeard persisted, even in the painted form.

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The older statesman.

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The younger, very reluctant upstart.

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The Democratic ticket gets photographed, 1868.

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Typical pamphlet of the time.

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And the typical Tribune-style mockery of Seymour.

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From Horatio Seymour! the Video Game.

 

 

 

George McClellan – the Donald Trump of 1864.

We are finally back with a new episode! And we’re back to the Civil War, where the American people wanted to replace an Illinois liberal with an inexperienced non-politician with authoritarian / dictatorial tendencies and a habit of thinking he was the best thing since sliced bread… sorta like today, huh?

Listen up here

Below are some sweet pics of General George Brinton McClellan.

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The classic Napoleonic pose. Hand stuffed in jacket to make sure all nipples are still present.

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Now one from the side.

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With the wife, Nellie. She looks a tad over it.

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“Make sure you make me look awesome, okay? Do I look awesome? Okay, make sure.”

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His horse was always prancing, because it was always 10 miles off the battlefield.

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Staring up at Lincoln after Antietam. The mood is awkward.

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In later life, as Governor of New Jersey.

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His tiny tiny campaign poster.

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Political commentary.

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Caricaturists loved discussing his height. Just like Trump’s hands.

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And his wartime cowardice.

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But the man still makes covers today, so who are we to judge?

 

 

Barry Goldwater: the Ted Cruz of 1964

In your back, you know we’re… back.

Okay, sorry for the awful rhyme. But we’re back! With a brand new episode all about conservative-libertarian uber-icon Barry Goldwater! By all accounts, Goldwater would have been the most conservative president of probably all time – much like our own recent ex-candidate Ted Cruz.

Goldwater, a war hero, businessman and Senator, lost in a nuclear landslide to Lyndon B. Johnson. But in doing so, he repositioned the GOP as a conservative, Southern and Midwestern party, ushering in the rise of Nixon, Reagan, the Bushes and the GOP dominance of the nation that persists today.

But how would he have been as president? Would he, as he stated, use nuclear weapons to obliterate Vietnam? And if so, what would happen?

Listen here to find out

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Your quintessential Goldwater. The glasses. The lantern jaw. The I-can-tell-you’re-bullshitting-me stare.

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Goldwater in mid-speech.

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A 1980s Goldwater – apparently taken at his family’s department store, Goldwater’s.

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Goldwater with his VP choice, Bill Miller.

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Remember chemistry class? No? Okay, then this button means nothing to you.

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When Goldwater came out with THIS tagline…

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The Democrats responded with THIS tagline.

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A younger, 1950s Goldwater.

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A younger, 1940s Goldwater.

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How young we going here?

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This is my favorite. Barry just looks awesome here.

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“I don’t always run for President… But when I do, I promise to nuke Vietnam and roll back civil rights.”

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But guess who hearted Goldwater? Yep, America’s little darling, Hillary Rodham.

James M. Cox: the John Kasich of 1920

A Governor of Ohio… successful businessman… ran after 8 years of Democratic rule… only to lose to a man with very little ideology and even less idea of how politics work…

No, I’m not talking about 2016’s John Kasich losing the primary to Donald Trump.

I’m talking about Gov. James Cox, the Democrat’s 1920 candidate, and maybe one of the strongest candidates ever to run… as well as the one who lost by the widest possible popular vote. Figures.

Listen up here!

Here’s the pics:

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Quintessential Cox: intense, serious, glasses pinched precariously on his nasion.

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But from another angle… well, he’s basically the same.

 

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Even more serious. And do I spy a milk mustache?

 

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A younger, more light-hearted Cox.

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Cox and Woodrow Wilson (left, corpse-like).

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Cox in typical 19-diggity-four finery.

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I want one!

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Cox’s running mate, Franklin D. Somethingorother.

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Cox and Franklin took a lot of pics together.

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Here they take a quiet walk. Franklin could totally walk!

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Cox working up the nerve to kiss Franklin. Franklin sees it coming.

 

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Did you know? In the 1910s, every human male had to walk around with a self-identification tag that told your stereotype.

1860 Part 3. John Breckinridge.

 

UPDATE!: I have also included a dramatic reading of the premature New York Times obituary of John Breckinridge, given while he was thought killed as a Confederate General in the Civil War… but actually still alive. Oops. But it’s awesome. Listen here.

FINALLY, we wrap up the divisive election of 1860. With perhaps the most interesting man of the three, John Cabell Breckinridge. He was the youngest Vice President, a scion of a powerful political family, and later a Confederate general and perhaps the most-hated man in the United States. In other circumstances, he could have been one of the greats. Oh well. That’s history for you.

Listen here.

And then take a gander at Breckinridge, who might possibly be our dreamiest Loser.

 

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Vice President Breckinridge.

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Slightly younger Breck, just as handsome.

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Your basic drawing of Breck.

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Young, spooky-eyed Breckinridge.

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Breckinridge in living color.

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Currier and Ives print of Lincoln and the election.

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Election paraphenalia!

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The beginning of the war, and the moustache.

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Check the moustache on this Confederate Breckinridge.

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That moustache deserves its own Vice Presidency.

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Breckinridge with an octopus on his head. As you do.

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The most important Breckinridge, ‘Bunny’, as he appeared in Plan 9 from Outer Space.

 

1860 Part 2. John Bell.

Hey! Just in time for the New Hampshire primary (well, one day after), here’s John Bell of Tennessee, the runner-up to the runner-up to the runner-up of the popular vote of 1860. He was a very boring dude, I’m not going to lie to you. Still. Let’s talk about him.

Listen Here.

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Classic grumpy, scowly John Bell.

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Ready for his close-up.

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From the other side.

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And back out again. not a lot of pictures of this guy.

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I think he looks like Huckabee here.

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Even grumpy in drawings.

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And in etchings.

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And in paintings.

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Not the right John Bell! This is John Bell Hood. But he looks like a much cooler choice.

 

BONUS! Antebellum Era Recap.

Hey look at that. We’ve come to the bloody end of the Antebellum Era. So let’s recap – right here with this bonus episode. We’ll talk about alternate losers of the era, like Sam Houston, John Randolph of Roanoke and Charles Sumner. We’ll review our loserly firsts, and award our Loser of the Era.

And we’ll also go over our ranking of losers. Here it is in list form – all presidential wannabes up through 1856:

GREAT PRESIDENTS

  1. Winfield Scott, Whig, 1852 (if the Civil War had broken out)
  2. Henry Clay, National Republican, 1832

VERY GOOD PRESIDENTS

  1. Daniel Webster, Whig, 1836, 1840 or 1848
  2. Dewitt Clinton, Federalist / Democratic-Republican, 1812

 

ABOVE AVERAGE PRESIDENTS

 

  1. Lewis Cass, Democrat, 1848
  2. Winfield Scott, Whig, 1852 (if the Civil War hadn’t broken out)

 

AVERAGE PRESIDENTS

 

  1. Henry Clay, Whig, 1844
  2. TIE!
    1. Rufus King, Federalist, 1816
    2. Henry Clay, Democratic-Republican, 1824
  3. William Wirt, Anti-Mason, 1832
  4. Amos Ellmaker, Anti-Mason Vice Presidential Candidate, 1832
    1. would have ascended on death of Wirt

 

POOR OR MEDIOCRE PRESIDENTS

 

  1. Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Federalist, 1804, 1808
  2. William Crawford, Democratic-Republican, 1824
  3. Hugh Lawson White, Whig, 1836

 

DANGEROUS PRESIDENTS

 

  1. TIE!
    1. John C. Fremont, Republican, 1856
    2. Aaron Burr, Democratic-Republican, 1800
  2. John Calhoun, Democratic-Republican Vice Presidential Candidate, 1824
    1. would have ascended on death of Crawford