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Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises in U.S. Presidential Campaigns Paperback – August 1, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Dirty tricks of the covert and the sleazy.”—New York Times Magazine
 
“a compendium of ‘dirty tricks, cheap shots and October surprises.’”—Playboy
 
Anything For a Vote will strike a chord.”—McClatchy-Tribune News Service
 
“hoot to read.”—The Oregonian

About the Author

Joseph Cummins is the author of several nonfiction books and one novel. He lives in New Jersey.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Quirk Books; First Edition edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594741565
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594741562
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #495,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Wine on October 23, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book. While you could read it in snippets - search out on one or two elections that were high on the sleaze-o-meter (the author gives nearly every election a rating for its dirty tricks quotient) I found it both enlighting and enjoyable to read it all the way through. Cummins has a clever, relaxed style and a real eye for quirky details. He also has no political agenda which means every party has to face up to their dirty past -Democrats, Republicans, and Democratic Republicans. After delving into several decades worth of elections I began to feel a bit better about our era, if only because dirty tricks and cheating seems to go in cycles. The public can be snowed for awhile but they always come to their senses, and there's something reassuring about learning that. And while 2000 was awful, between the hanging chads and the Supremes deciding the election, at least not too many dead people voted, as in previous elections, and we no longer have drunks being paid in whisky to vote a few dozen times.
Every page has another colorful tidbit. For example, my old TV hero Davy Crocket was actually a Whig attack dog, accusing Martin Van Buren of dressing in corsetts. And I loved finding out about the men who ran for President and lost, and what happened to them afterwards (poor Horace Greeley died within months of losing.)
Also, there were some colorful Vice Presidential candidates over the years. And I had my eyes opened about several of our chief executives. Talk about anything for a vote...Finally there were many relevant comparisons you could make to the present election season. For example, Taft made no apologies for his religion. "If the American public is so narrow as not to elect a Unitarian, well and good, I can stand it." I wish Mitt Romney were so direct.
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Format: Paperback
The book is entertaining and has a lot of great facts, but it misses the mark on a few too many simple facts. For example, it says that Calvin Coolidge became the President by winning the 1924 election; ignoring that he became President when Harding died. It also identifies Robert Kennedy as a Senator from Massachusetts, when in reality he represented New York.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A good read for the upcoming conventions and 2016 elections. Not much has changed in In American politics in the last two hundred plus years. A few minor errors. The Democratic convention in 1956 had a contested race for the vide-presidency between Estes Kefauver and John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Adlai Stevenson did not publicly have a preference for a VP pick. I have a hunch that this book will be passé this time nest year.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Turn on the news, listen to talk radio, open the papers, watch the debates, and I can guarantee you will not be impressed with the field of presidential candidates from either party. You might ask, "How did it get so bad?" As Joseph Cummins reminds us in his book Anything for a Vote: Dirty Tricks, Cheap Shots, and October Surprises in U.S. Presidential Campaigns, it didn't get this bad. It's pretty much always been this bad.

Cummins doesn't aim to make the candidates look good. (However, it may have just been my own bias, but he seemed to take more pleasure in making conservatives look bad. . . .) Presidential campaigns have long been full of lies, dirty tricks, and bad character. Cummins takes each presidential election, from George Washington (unopposed) to Obama v. Romney. (The book was first published in 2007, updated in 2015.)

Anything for a Vote is history as anecdote, written more as entertainment than as history. Cummins definitely delights in the tawdrier elements of campaigns; that's no surprise. He makes some entertaining observations and asides, like, "Warren G. Harding was the most libidinous candidate to run for president until Bill Clinton waltzed in from Arkansas seventy years later." (Although I wonder where JFK ranks among libidinous presidents?)

Have some fun with history. Anything for a Vote won't take the place of serious histories of presidential elections. But who wants to read one of those? Cummins reminds us that presidential candidates are just as flawed as anyone else, probably more than most. Whether you lean red or blue, you will find plenty not to like about your favorite presidents.

Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent reference to counter the,"It's never been worse than this", argument.
Clear,concise well written book utilizing brevity artfully.
Parallels my college textbook,"Diplomatic History of the United States", by T A Bailey.
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Format: Paperback
Anything For A Vote
Joseph Cummins
4/5

Presidential elections are truly an American form of entertainment. Sure, the content is meant to be serious and the stakes are high, but you can’t help but laugh over some of the antics and shenanigans that have occurred. Joseph Cummins examines at our election process and captures both the seriousness and humor involved.

=== The Good Stuff ===

* Each election is summarized in a few pages. Obviously, in a book of this length, there are not going to be detailed discussions of every factor in every election. But Cummins is able to capture the essence of most of the elections, along with a brief description of the candidates.

* The book does make me feel a little better about current politics and candidates. While the technology is certainly different, today’s 24/7 partisan news channels have nothing on the pamphleteers, rumormongers and scoundrels of earlier elections. Literally, nothing seemed to be off-limits, and truth had nothing to do with the accusations. If anything, today’s ranting and raving is almost calmer and more civilized.

* Cummins rewards his readers with some chuckle-out-loud humor. In 1844, riverboats travelled the Mississippi, with party hacks stopping in every town along the way and voting. Franklin Pierce used his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne to write his press copy, which the author compares to having Franz Kafka managing your PR. FDR relied on silent films of his campaign speeches, and was not above babbling out nonsense for the cameras.

* There was also a serious side to the book, and this seemed to get better with more recent elections.
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