How to Buy an Election (1960)

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by Brian Brushwood & Jason Murphy

Today on The Modern Rogue, we’re trying something a little bit different. Thousands of you visit this site every day to read about all sorts of fascinating facts on history and science and super badass rogues who have made their mark on the world. What you may be less familiar with is that we have this amazing collection of videos where we explore what it means to be the ultimate “gentleman, warrior, and scoundrel.” It’s where Brian and Jason play with swords and potato cannons, learn what goes into creating the perfect burger or craft cocktail, and then show you how to make improvised weapons like a razor blade flail or a stun gun powered by lemons.

But this time we’re taking a look at history, and learning how in the very recent past getting elected to a prominent position in government wasn’t too far off from the insane shenanigans we hear about in the media, albeit in countries we consider less politically progressive. Just 40 or 50 years ago, there were men in smoky back rooms calling all the shots, and literally putting a price tag on individual votes that enforcers would go out and obtain. It’s all pretty harrowing to know that while today, we live in a world where private money seems to govern election results, it was way more blatant not too long ago.

Justin Young visits The Modern Rogue in this episode, and uncovers details about how political machines have historically guaranteed candidates’ success. He discusses how tribal politics is a new invention, how primaries used to be political suicide, and why the famous JFK/Nixon debate was not the decide-all that many people remember it as. Today, your social media feed may incite a level of anger only rivaled by wrap rage, but at least the process is more open than it’s ever been.

The elections, not the package. You still have to suffer through that hardcore plastic with an industrial pair of scissors while screaming profanities at no one in particular, because the universe hates you.


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Tracy Flick might be the only president who hasn’t bought votes.

Unedited footage for this episode ($5+ patrons):

Additional Information: The Making of the President 1960 -

Big thanks to Justin for coming on the show!

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