1912 Presidential Election and Woodrow Wilson
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In 1912, the United States was faced with an interesting election prospect: William Howard Taft, the Republican incumbent, was seeking re-election. Simultaneously, Theodore Roosevelt, displeased with Taft’s action while in office, sought the White House yet again, this time running as a Progressive candidate. A former Republican party member himself, Roosevelt’s inadvertent impact on the election would be to split the Republican vote. The Democrats nominated Governor Woodrow Wilson of New Jersey to be representative of their party. Finally, as a symbol of the changing political spectrum in the United States, Eugene V. Debs represented the Socialist ticket. When all was said and done, Woodrow Wilson handily defeated his opponents in this election, and became President of the United States.
1912 Presidential Election
There were several factors that contributed to Woodrow Wilson’s victory in the 1912 election. The most important component came as a result of the actions of the Republican Party. Because Theodore Roosevelt was enormously popular with the American people, his desire to seek office yet again, this time as a Progressive candidate, would only serve to siphon voters from the Republican ticket.
The campaign for Eugene Debs was miniscule at best due to the following:
- Relied on a significantly smaller campaign budget than any of his opponents.
- As a third party, it was unlikely he would have encountered success, no mater what happened with the two major parties.
- Wilson was appealing to conservative voters throughout the country, it is unlikely that the election of 1912 could have ended in any other way, even if the Republican ticket had been given to Theodore Roosevelt as opposed to the incumbent Taft.
Wilson was the people’s choice to run the nation in these years prior to World War I, and the election results clearly demonstrated this.