by Robert E. Wright
The American Institute for Economic Research
One of the few nice things about the hyper-partisanship currently enveloping the American political scene is that it sometimes opens up avenues of liberty long considered impossible. Like selling your vote to the highest bidder.
Until the late nineteenth century, it was as American as apple pie for voters to favor one side or another based on sundry types of side payments, from punch parties to lease extensions. Cash undoubtedly traded hands too, “under the table” as Americans used to say.
Votes could be exchanged because voting was not then secret so bargains could be enforced, if only extra-legally.