The crowds that had come to hear him speak during the campaign had been huge and adoring. They clung to his every word. They roared at his every suggestion. They promised fidelity to his every cause.
It had been an ugly election, a classic liberal versus conservative fight. Hatred peaked—on both sides. When a statement was made, the opposition attacked it with a venom that brought out the worst in people. The media divided into the two camps and used all their influence to sway the election in whatever way they considered right. Acts of violence occurred.
The ex-President was accused of spreading lies.
There were concerns the ex-President was acting from ego alone, not for the good of the country. Fear was expressed he would seek reelection after reelection in moves that essentially would create a king.
The ex-President would not accept his loss and was willing to destroy the party that had originally elected him.
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It didn’t work out too well for the ex-President.
Theodore Roosevelt lost to William Howard Taft. Roosevelt espoused the liberal cause and the conservatives of the party backed Taft for a second term. Taft was in a tough spot because he too was a liberal. But he was caught up in the necessity to seek help from the conservatives of his party because he believed it was important not to allow Roosevelt to destroy the party and thought winning would accomplish that. It was the delegate election to pick the 1912 Republican presidential nominee that Roosevelt lost.
Roosevelt, unlike Taft, did not concern himself about the dangers of ruining his party and wound up running as the candidate of the newly formed Progressive party, nicknamed the “Bull Moose” party after a much earlier Roosevelt declaration that he felt “strong as a bull moose.” Taft headed the Republican Party ticket.
Both men lost to Democrat Woodrow Wilson who received 435 electoral votes while Roosevelt garnered 88 and Taft a measly 8. The popular vote went the same way but was much closer. Wilson received less than 50% of the total votes cast.
Obviously, the first part of this posting was an attempt to show similarity to what is our current situation. But I don’t want to make too much of that as there are important differences. Roosevelt, for example, was basically an honorable man.
However, I found it discouraging that human intolerance, greed, and lust for power has not diminished over the last century. In fact, I fear it has increased and those demonstrating it have gotten nastier.
Will we never learn?
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