His opponent, James G. Blaine, was on his way to victory, but a week before the election disaster struck. While attending a campaign event, Blaine sat silently while a minister denounced the Democratic Party as the party of "rum, Romanism, and rebellion."
The obvious slam at Catholic, and particularly Irish, voters, resonated. The gaffe cost Blaine the votes of New York City, thus New York State, and Cleveland became the first Democrat to win the White House in a quarter-century.
Blaine supporters had been taunting Cleveland by chanting, "Ma, Ma, where's my Pa?"
Cleveland voters got the last laugh by responding, "Gone to the White House, ha, ha, ha."
More: Election of 1884
Illustration: Grover Cleveland/Library of Congress
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