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Letter: Divisive election campaign bears similarities to 1860

Divisive election campaign bears similarities to 1860

With news today of neocons and ultra-religious conservatives of the Republican Party seriously considering fielding an alternative to the apparently unstoppable Donald Trump, one is struck with the similarities to the election of 1860.

Then, as the burning question of slavery reached its crisis, the Democratic Party split itself in two or three candidates around the question of “purity” to the “principles” of guaranteeing the rights of the states and territories to enslave other human beings, thus handing the election to the Republican dark horse outsider, Abraham Lincoln, who had overcome the obvious, much stronger candidate, William Seward, in becoming the nominee.

Today, Trump’s rhetoric and followers are redolent of hate, racism, tribalism, self-pity (there was a pro-Trump letter last week boohooing the fate of poor white people) and entitlement – really the worst emotional and political excesses of the last 50 years. Well, as Lincoln said, maybe “better out than in.” The beast is now clearly visible, and we may choose.

On the other side, the Democrats, the dark horse outsider would clearly be Bernie Sanders. If the Republicans do totally split up, he would have a fighting chance as the nominee.

Interesting times, interesting times!

Mark Ebersole

East Aurora