We’ve had other presidential elections where you’ve had an actual Progressive, against an actual Conservative. Instead of the media labeling one a Conservative and the other a Progressive, or the top presidential candidates self-proclaiming themselves as the Conservative and as the Progressive. Even though one candidate might have anti-conservative views and be against the free press and who doesn’t support civil liberties, like with Richard Nixon. Who did have real conservative views as it related to foreign policy and economic policy. But was a big government authoritarian especially when he could get away with it as it related to the press, checks and balances, and Americans civil liberties and individual rights. Or with the Democratic Party with George McGovern who was labeled as the Liberal candidate in 1972, but who actually was a big government Socialist and didn’t put many if any limits on governmental power.
1932 with President Herbert Hoover versus Governor Franklin Roosevelt, is an example of a real Conservative in President Hoover and a real Progressive in FDR. 1964 with President Lyndon Johnson and Senator Barry Goldwater, is an example of a real Progressive in LBJ and a real Conservative in Senator Goldwater. 1984 with President Ronald Reagan and former Vice President Walter Mondale, another example of a real Conservative in President Reagan and a real Progressive in Vice President Mondale.
But 1912 I believe is the first real example of where America had a real choice between a Conservative and a Progressive and perhaps a Conservative against two Progressives, if you label Woodrow Wilson also as a Progressive. If there was ever a Libertarian Utopia and pre-Progressive Era America is the only point in this country where you even try to make a case that America was a Libertarian Society, it was pre-Roosevelt Administration in the 1900s. Meaning (The first ten years of the 20th Century) And the election of 1912 was an election where you had a Conservative President in William H. Taft, who wanted to conserve that Libertarian Ayn Rand Society, where there was basically no Federal government at least involvement in the economy. And Teddy Roosevelt who wanted to build off of his Square Deal from his time as President and create what was later labeled as the New Deal and the American safety net that was created in the 1930s under FDR.
The presidential election of 1912 represents the conservative establishment of where America had been up to that point economically and where we were as far as how we dealt with the rest of the world, represented by President William Taft. Against the anti-establishment Progressive presidential candidate in Theodore Roosevelt. America had a real choice between a real hard-core Conservative in Taft. Who saw his job as to conserve and protect the status-quo and keep America as it was.
Against a real hard-core Progressive in Teddy Roosevelt who wanted to blow up the establishment. Build off of what made America great and worked well for the country. But use government especially the Federal Government build a society where more Americans could succeed, where all Americans would have a good opportunity to succeed. Where not all of the power in the country was centralized with the wealthy and their businesses. And was a choice that American voters deserved to have and be able to decide for them was the current America good enough, or do we need to do something else and bring progress and move quicker as a country.