Collecting Political Losers


1848’s GRUMPIEST CANDIDATE: Lewis Cass, who served in the presidential cabinets of Andrew Jackson and James Buchanan, fell short in his own White House bid against Zachary Taylor. (Photo courtesy of Heritage Auctions)

I know why Democrat Lewis Cass lost to President Zachary Taylor in the 1848 election. Cass looks absolutely PISSED on his campaign buttons. Given that the above portrait is a drawing, wouldn’t you think that the political consultants would insist on drawing a smile or even a half-smirk?

Yet, according to Heritage Auctions, the Cass campaign button recently sold for $7,767, while the same style Taylor button fetched $4,182.


THE BEST CAMPAIGN SOUVENIRS don’t always translate to victory.

Despite losing the 1964 election to LBJ by an embarrassing margin, Republican nominee Barry Goldwater is still popular with political memorabilia collectors. (I happen to own a rusting can of 1964 “Gold Water,” which is literally what you think it is.)

Cass and Goldwater are anomalies, however. Usually, the political memorabilia of a second place presidential candidate winds up in the same closet as Super Bowl runners up and gracious Academy Award nominees.

John Kerry = Al Gore = Mike Dukakis = John McCain = Mitt Romney.

In my latest feature for The Hill’s quirky Capital Living section, I explore the fate of “Political Losers” and how they fare in the minds of history buffs and packrats.  Double click the newspaper image below or click here for an easy-on-the-eyes enlargement:

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Filed under Election 2012, politics, The Hill

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