Swill the Planters with Bumbo: The Bizarre Past (and Present) of Booze and Voting

If you’re one of the elite few who turned up to vote in the municipal elections over the past week, you deserve a reward in the name of democracy. Pour yourself a drink while we talk about the wild, weird and wacky intertwining relationship between voting and alcohol.

Politicians Used to Get People Wasted for Votes

Though laws have changed over the decades, Americans have swayed elections with booze throughout history. I even offered to change my vote in trade for booze from a local distillery recently (a joke, for legal reasons).

It’s always been illegal to trade gifts for votes — in the eyes of the law, that’s a “bribe.” But the law is dumb and inconsistent, so for a good portion of American history, when a politician bought drinks for constituents, the law considered it — and this is the legal term — “totally-not-a-bribe.

Starting with the Founding Fathers, politicians were purposefully getting their constituents just as hammered as possible before throwing them into the voting booth with clear instructions: “vote for me before you puke or pass out.”

Pictured: John Adams knew this wasn’t a face you’d vote for sober.

The practice was called “swilling the planters with bumbo” (“planters” was a term for land-owning men who could vote, and “bumbo” is a type of rum). It was such a common practice that elections were often lost if candidates failed to do it. Drinking on election day became kind of an American tradition and many candidates would hold large, luxurious booze-fests.

While it became illegal for politicians to provide alcohol in 1948, America never quite got over its infatuation with alcohol on election day, even after its brief flirtation with prohibition. Now, however, it’s illegal to ply voters with alcohol: Capitol City Brewing company learned this when it faced heavy fines for trying to give out free mugs of beer to anyone with an I voted sticker.

You Can Still Get Hammered at the Polls

The woman was rushed to the hospital. Police were unsure if voting under the influence was a crime in New Mexico — it turns out it’s not (though taking liquor into a polling place and causing a public disturbance are).

Because the woman hadn’t finished voting, her ballot was turned in by hand. So at least the system works. It was a simpler time.

Modern Day Nazis are Trying to Prevent People From Voting With Beer (In The Stupidest, Most Racist Way Possible)

During the 2016 election, founder of the neo-nazi website The Daily Stormer and absolute swilling bumbo Andrew Anglin (a frequent KKK collaborator categorized as an extremist and hate group leader by the ACLU) aligned with another alt-right/neo-nazi website called Right Stuff to support the Trump campaign in a way that’s somehow simultaneously grossly offensive and just bumblingly ignorant and stupid (but don’t worry, this section is going to end on a happy note).

That’s right, you guessed it, he swole them plant bumbs.

Or at least that’s what he suggested doing (in a way). Did you pour that drink we mentioned in the first paragraph? ‘Cause if you aren’t drinking yet, you’ll want to be in a moment.

Now available in small, medium, and “It’s 2019 and Nazis are in the Mainstream Somehow” sizes.

Among other efforts to suppress voter turnout specifically among African Americans, the group cartoonishly said they were: “going into the ghettos in Philly with 40s and weed to give out to the local residents, which we think will lead to more of them staying home. We have had success with this in the past.

They claimed to have done the same thing in Detroit during the Democratic primary.

Yeah, those are some really fucking old racist stereotypes, especially considering white people are the most likely racial demographic to have tried marijuana — and marijuana use across all races stays equal within the marigin of error of just a few percentage points. But you can’t expect racists to stay up to date — they’re the South Carolina of people.

There’s no evidence the campaign was actually implemented — and it probably wasn’t, because Andrew Anglin is an enormous failure who, while notorious for saying just graphically stupid and offensively racist things online, is infamous for floudering miserably when it comes to real-world action.

Anyway, I said this would end on a happy note, so here’s a picture of a kitten sitting like a person.

Thanks for reading. And remember to make wise life decisions — Hitler didn’t drink alcohol, but he did do meth (to stop his awful farts). When you’re deciding what to do with your night off, please don’t do meth — pour yourself a Moscow Mule in one of these copper mugs. Do it for freedom and democracy.

Here at hmmwhat2drink.com, we strive for a commitment to excellence. We enjoy our beers, spirits, and specialty drinks as much as the next, but we urge you to drink responsibly. These articles and recipes are intended for adults and as such, should be used in the proper context. So have fun, relax, but do it responsibly in your home or with a designated driver. If you have any suggestions please email us at hmmwhat2drink@gmail.com.

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