It has long been the conventional wisdom that the Irish in America trend Democratic in their voting tendencies. This was more true in the late 19th Century and in the 1880s, Republican Party election committees were hell-bent on mitigating that trend.
The large Irish population, concentrated as it was in several northeastern cities, made it relatively easy for political parties to ‘segment the market’ and target voters. New York State, with its 36 electoral college votes, was seen as the make-or-break state – a strategic objective for campaign planners.
By the campaign of 1880 senior Irish American Republicans were determined to facilitate an ‘Irish bolt’ from the Democratic party. In New York State, Republican party operatives were especially challenged in this as they had to confront the formidable power of Tammany. Dirty campaign tactics, muckraking, and bigotry contributed to the voter coercion and vote manipulation widely practiced by both parties. [Read more…] about Collections Mystery: The Emancipator Newspaper in 1888