Congress in the Archives will feature monthly staff posts on our blog. Today’s post comes from Jessie Kratz.
The 1912 presidential election was a three-way contest among former President Theodore Roosevelt for the Progressive (Bull Moose) Party, New Jersey Governor Woodrow Wilson for the Democratic Party, and incumbent President William Howard Taft for the Republican Party. As the election neared, Taft, who had given no major campaign speeches in the months leading up to the election, was living up to the moniker that Roosevelt had given him in September - “a dead cock in the pit.” Despite his lackluster campaign performance, Taft’s campaign managers continued to argue that he was still a contender in the race. They even announced a prediction for the election outcome: Taft would win with 280 electoral votes. In this cartoon, published just weeks before Election Day in the Washington Evening Star, the Democratic donkey and the Bull Moose are shown laughing hysterically. In the general election, held on November 5, 1912, Taft gained a mere eight electoral votes compared with Roosevelt, who gained 88 and Wilson—the winner—who gained 435.
G.O.P Bulletin by Clifford Berryman, Washington Evening Star, 10/18/1912, U.S. Senate Collection (ARC 6040976)