As I’ve blogged before the 1912 presidential election is a very important and interesting election for many reasons. I mean if you’re a political junky such as myself the 1912 election is not the Super Bowl of American politics, but its the best Super Bowl of all-time. It’s the Super Bowls of Super Bowls and not like the modern Super Bowl or NFL where the last Super Bowl is automatically pumped up and sold as the greatest Super Bowl of all-time by the media and even the NFL, until the next Super Bowl. But this election was really the best ever I believe because of the clear choices that the American voters had.
1912 wasn’t about Democrat versus Republican and perhaps a charming entertaining third-party candidate who has hopes of getting 5% of the vote and sneak into the presidential debates. If there was TV back in 1912 at least 3-4 presidential candidates would’ve been invited to the debates and in the debates. Perhaps even all four with Socialist candidate Eugene Debs who got about 6% of the vote getting into the debates as well. Because the old progressive faction of the Republican Party thanks to Theodore Roosevelt, broke away from the Republican Party in 1912 and formed their Progressive Party.
The only thing that could’ve made the 1912 presidential elections better, perhaps along with TV, but instead of having two Conservatives in that election ( not to take a shot at Conservatives ) but have one Conservative being President William Taft. One Liberal whoever the Democratic candidate is. Along with the Progressive being Teddy Roosevelt and the Socialist being Gene Debs. But instead there were two Conservatives ( again, not to take a shot at Conservatives ) with President Taft and Governor Woodrow Wilson, and a Progressive, as well as a Socialist. Taft and Wilson, differed a little on economic policy, but tended to agree on the other issues. TR and Debs, differed a lot from Taft and Wilson and also differed a lot from each other. TR was truly a Progressive and Debs was truly a pacifist-isolationist Democratic Socialist. Similar to Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party today.
Liberal democratic politics meaning liberal democracy and not the Democratic Party necessarily and American politics in general, should be about choice. And not just one or the other like trying to decide if you want the chicken or fish on an airline flight, but several choices with each candidate looking different from the others. That is what the 1912 presidential election represented and what American politics should be about generally. And if that means having runoffs and reforming the Electoral College so the winner doesn’t win the election with 40% of the vote which is what Woodrow Wilson won with in 1912, then I would be in favor of that.