The 1912 Presidential Election
The presidential election of 1912 was significant because it included a viable third party. Professor Sidney Milkis, author of Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy, joins NPR host Robert Siegel for a discussion on this important centennial. Highlights include recorded snippets of speeches from Taft, Wilson, and Roosevelt. (A transcript is available.)
A lot of people were beginning to look at the socialist party, which was developing into a very important reform party with a very popular candidate in Debs as the alternative to the Republican Party.
And I’ve argued that had T.R. not, so to speak, preempted the socialist party, short-circuited it and stolen its thunder by proposing a more moderate form of reform, then the socialist party might have gotten many more votes than it did get in 1912.