Who Would Win Alt. 1920 Election?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by LuckyLuciano, Oct 10, 2019.


Who Would Win?

  1. (D) Woodrow Wilson - Robert Latham Owen

    10 vote(s)
  2. (R) Charles Evan Hughes - Warren G Harding

    25 vote(s)
  1. LuckyLuciano Well-Known Member

    May 15, 2018
    Assuming Hughes wins California in 1916 but loses the popular vote, who wins in this alternate election?
    gap80 likes this.
  2. Mikestone8 Well-Known Member

    Mar 13, 2010
    Peterborough, UK.
    Assuming that Hughes still goes to war in 1917and the resulting economic hardships are the same, then almost certainly Wilson. That war was a poisoned chalice for whoever was in power during it.
    Landmass Wave, gap80, Amadeus and 2 others like this.
  3. Jonathan Corbynite with fire in heart & food in belly

    Nov 30, 2013
    Kent, England, United Kingdom
    I doubt Woodrow Wilson would stand similar to Cleveland, have two non consecutive terms, especially if Wilson still suffers a severe stroke in October 1919, like in OTL.
    gap80 likes this.
  4. Amadeus Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2017
    I think it's very possible that Hughes would've handled WWI and the post-war peace better than Wilson, but I don't know how much he could've done about the economic and social chaos of 1919-1920. If Wilson wins the popular vote in 1916, he could easily win again in 1920 by arguing "I would've kept you out of war," and by promising to end the post-war economic depression.
    gap80 likes this.
  5. David T Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2007
    I rather doubt that Wilson will be the Democrats' candidate in 1920--I think his health will be a problem even if he isn't in the White House, and besides, some Democrats from the Bryanite wing of the party will say he was too pro-British and partly to blame for the US getting into the War, even though it happened under Hughes.

    I think, though, that any Democrat is likely to defeat Hughes. Even when people support a war (and most people will at first rally behind Hughes' decision to go to war in 1917) they quickly come to resent the hardships and regimentation war brings, no matter which party is conducting it. Moreover, postwar disillusionment is almost inevitable. Any peace treaty is going to be unpopular with voters, especially ethnic ones (try satisfying both Germans and Poles or both Italians and South Slavs or both Slovaks and Hungarians; and of course the Irish will complain that the treaty doesn't guarantee Ireland's freedom) and idealists who don't like the necessary deals and compromises the treaty inevitably includes. Moreover, there will almost certainly be the same pattern of wartime boom and inflation followed by depression.
    gap80 and tomasqs like this.
  6. Ricardolindo Well-Known Member

    Sep 16, 2018
    Without the stress of the war and the peace negotiations, he may not have suffered a stroke.

    Did you change your mind? You previously said that you thought that without the stress of the war and the peace negotiations, Wilson may not have suffered a stroke and, thus, would have had an excellent chance of making a Cleveland-style comeback in a 1920.
    gap80 likes this.
  7. David T Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2007
    I'm just not certain about this--after all, campaigning for the presidency creates its own stress, not necessarily much less than campaigning for the League of Nations, so even if he begins a campaign, there may be a health event during it...
    gap80 likes this.
  8. raharris1973 Well-Known Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    You've often said this, but does it really matter?

    When somebody feels like a loser, usually somebody else feels like a winner. Was there a distinctive swing of the ethnic German and Hungarian votes away from the Dems in 1920? Only the Germans and Irish seem to matter numerically.

    Were ethnic groups so attuned to the details that, for example, did the Dem vote stayed high for South Slavs but Italian-American went heavy GOP when Italy got publicly bitter about the mutilated peace?

    If one were to design an approach to a European settlemen to appeal to a majority of American voters with strong ethnoreligious identities and sympathies, I'm sure there's some set of positions an American leader could champion that is clearly on the side of ones with more rather than less voters. It should be as simple as counting.
  9. David T Well-Known Member

    Nov 8, 2007
    Was there a disproportionate swing to the GOP among German Americans? Well, let's consider Stearns County, MN (St. Cloud)--a heavily German Catholic county that went three times for Bryan, rejected Wilson in 1916, and as for 1920:


    86.3 percent for Harding! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stearns_County,_Minnesota

    The Irish vote? "In 1920, when, among the Irish, registered Democrats vastly outnumbered Republicans, Warren Harding carried one group and was competitive in the others. Harding received one-third of the vote cast by the lower-class Irish of South Boston, Uphams Comer, Charlestown, and Mission Hill at a time when only 6 percent of those identifying with a party considered themselves Republican. Similarly, in lower-middle-class Brighton, Harding received 53 percent of the vote cast, carrying a population three-quarters of whose party enrollees were registered Democrats..." https://books.google.com/books?id=FvZsms2NMcYC&pg=PA153

    The Italian American vote? In Chicago, it "overwhelmingly chose Harding over Cox and Debs, as returns from representative Italian precincts show." https://www.google.com/search?hl=en...-ab..0.0.0....0.Ril1tei746w#spf=1570842617759 In Boston, "In 1920, Republican presidential candidate Warren G. Harding received 53.7 percent and 70.1 percent of the vote in the city's "Little Italies" located in East Boston and in the North End." https://www.google.com/search?hl=en..... A study of the normally Democratic Italian--American voters in Providence indicates that Fiume was definitely a factor in their swing to Harding. https://books.google.com/books?id=vtP0KA_L9WAC&pg=PA52

    The Polish vote in 1920? It shows that it is not necessarily true that if you alienate ethnic group A you get support from rival group B. Giving Poznan, the Corridor, part of Upper Silesia, etc. to Poland hurt the Democrats with the Germans but didn't help them much with the Poles. Harding got 44.22 percent of the vote in Chicago's Polonia--slightly behind TR's 46.15 percent in the 1904 landslide but Hughes had gotten less than 30 percent in 1916. https://books.google.com/books?id=dt1hXjPYgxAC&pg=PA243&lpg=PA243 Some Poles resented the minorities provisions of the Versailles Treaty, which they saw as granting "special privileges" for Jews. https://books.google.com/books?id=dt1hXjPYgxAC&pg=PA118

    Well, you might say, if the Poles thought Wilson too pro-Jewish, surely the Jews must have voted Democratic? Wrong again! Cox trailed not only Harding but Debs in heavily Jewish parts of Boston:



    I don't think it should be necessary to go on to show that there was indeed a massive ethnic backlash against the Democrats in 1920 caused at least in part by the Treaty. Maybe Hughes could negotiate a treaty that would avoid such losses, but I doubt it.

    (One might add that whichever party got the US into the war would probably do poorly with Scandinavian-American voters, many of whom were pacifists and/or didn't like going to war with German fellow-Lutherans. Cox got 19.4 percent of the vote in MN in 1920, and Scandinavians as well as Germans contributed to that result.)