The Dirtiest Election

Grover Cleveland had seduced a widow; James G. Blaine had peddled influence lied about it. In 1884, voters had to choose between two tarnished champions

The first volleys in America’s “vilest” presidential campaign were fired on July 21, 1884, when a small Buffalo paper exposed a shocking personal scandal involving ihe Democratic candidate, Grover Cleveland, then governor of New York. Cleveland, big, slow-moving, forthright, “foursquare,” had become a popular image of decency and public honesty; he had been elected on a reform ticket by a 200,000 majority over an entrenched Republican machine, and he was expected to cleanse New York of corruption.

 
 
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