LBJ's stolen election

(AP Photo)

I’m sure you’ve heard people saying this before. Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself. ‘Those Democrats stole the election.’ And in this case, you’d be correct, but it’s probably not the election you’re thinking about. The Associated Press has an interesting walk down memory lane this week discovered in a set of tapes that were donated to the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library and Museum last summer. On the tapes, a former South Texas election judge told a reporter that the 1948 Texas Senate primary election was stolen in favor of LBJ and he described exactly how it was done. Democratic officials “found” some extra votes for Johnson in a box that became known as “box 13.” (Is any of this sounding familiar yet?) That allowed Johnson to move on to win the general election, ascend to the Senate, and eventually the presidency.

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The story was a blockbuster: A former Texas voting official was on the record detailing how nearly three decades earlier, votes were falsified to give then-congressman Lyndon B. Johnson a win that propelled the future president into the U.S. Senate.

The audio recordings from Associated Press reporter James W. Mangan’s interviews for the 1977 story were posted this week on the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum’s archival website, Discover LBJ. After Mangan’s death in 2015 at the age of 87, his family found the labeled cassette tapes at his San Antonio home and donated them last summer to the library on the campus of the University at Texas at Austin.

Luis Salas, the former South Texas election judge, told Mangan for the story: “Johnson did not win that election; It was stolen for him. And I know exactly how it was done.”

You can read more details along with the original story that ran in June of 1977 here. It’s a sordid tale of a part of Texas run by a handful of corrupt Democratic party bosses who were able to dictate the outcomes of nearly any election and silence anyone who tried to object.

Just imagine for a moment how different history might have been if this election hadn’t been stolen. If Johnson had lost and remained in the House or even left the federal government entirely, he almost certainly never would have been selected to serve as JFK’s Vice President. Then, after Kennedy’s assassination, someone else would have wound up in the White House.

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Johnson’s “great society” vision involved some of the most rapid legislative actions ever seen. He had some admirable goals in terms of protecting wilderness lands and the environment, and he created many national parks. But that also set a trend in motion of the federal government acquiring control over more and more land at the expense of the autonomy of the states.

Similarly, Johnson set about combatting racism and establishing a social “safety net” for the poor. Those proved to be very popular programs, of course. But they were also the cornerstones of increased levels of welfare and governmental “free stuff” that would later balloon completely out of control under one Democratic administration after another.

As I suggested at the top, the method of election fraud used in 1948 isn’t much different than stories that we sometimes hear in the modern era. We still have election officials “finding” boxes of ballots at the last moment. Some of those may turn out to be completely legitimate votes while others seem far more suspicious. Look no further than the boxes of ballots found in an election official’s car putting Al Franken over the top in the 2008 election. So when you see things like that happening, don’t be cowed into silence by claims that it’s all a conspiracy theory. Demand transparency. As LBJ shows us, it doesn’t take much to change the entire course of history.

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David Strom 8:00 AM | July 25, 2024
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