6.6% of the nation

Title

6.6% of the nation

Description

This is not a thread about the pros and cons of 3rd-party candidates. This is just to say that Woodrow Wilson became President of the United States with the consent of very few Americans.

Incumbent William Howard Taft was a Republican, and very conservative. With him, the party moved further away from being the party of Lincoln. Teddy Roosevelt was appalled by Taft, and created a Progressive Party (aka "Bull Moose") to seek a 3rd term.

They split the Republican vote. Woodrow Wilson was a Democrat, a Southerner, and not at all a Progressive. But Progressivism was gaining traction, and he faked it - contradicting his own writing about states’ rights and race. There was no Google then, no YouTube.

* Wilson got 42% of the popular vote and swept the Electoral College.
* TR got 27% of the vote.
* Taft, the sitting President, got 23%.
* Eugene V. Debs ran also, winning 6%, or nearly a million votes (nearly his best showing in 4 tries).

A million votes was an impressive number in a country of just over 95 million, of whom only a small fraction could vote. In November 1912 women could vote for President in 8 western states, but altogether fewer than 4 million women lived in those.

Black men in southern states were barred from voting by a terrorist regime. The Great Migration had not yet begun, and in 1912 most of the African American population of about 10 million still lived in the South. Native people could not vote, as they were not citizens.

Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian immigrants could not naturalize (though their American-born children could vote). Among a population of more than 95 million souls, 14,806,798 people cast a ballot in the 1912 Presidential election: 15.5% of the population.

For context, 42% of the U.S. population voted for President in 2016. The rest were too young, too immigrant, too criminalized, or didn’t vote for other reasons. (Data 👇🏾from Theda Skocpol.)

Woodrow Wilson won the Presidency with 6,296,284 votes. Put another way, 6.6% of the country voted for him. That’s not much of a mandate. As 1913 began, his Inauguration was approaching. #Suffrage100

Creator

Daily Suffragist

Date

26/06/2020

Files

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Citation

Daily Suffragist, “6.6% of the nation,” Daily Suffragist, accessed October 3, 2022, https://dailysuffragist.omeka.net/items/show/425.

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