I Heart Indies

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Presidential Losers #31: John Davis, Robert La Follette

Robert La Follette
Harding, having died in office, the reins of the presidency fell to Calvin “Mr Personality” Coolidge.  His campaign slogan, "Keep cool with Coolidge," helped convey the president's breezy, informal social style.  

Coolidge (Republican) ran on a platform of limited government, low taxes, and low regulation.  His Democratic opponent, John Davis ran on a platform of low regulation, low taxes, and limited government.  You can see what a dogfight this was shaping up to be.  

Davis seems to have had all the electric personal magnetism of Coolidge but without a cool nickname like "Silent Cal."  After losing the election, Davis continued an illustrious legal career, arguing two cases before the Supreme Court, once in defense of a Steel Mill and once upholding the doctrine of "separate but equal."  1

La Follette entered the race in case any voters out there supported labor unions, higher taxes on the wealthy, and restraints on Big Business.  Evidently there weren't.  (Parenthetically, what is it about these leftie candidates?  They're either chrome-domes like Eugene Debs or their hair looks like they just stuck their tongue in a light socket like La Follette.)  

La Follette's enemies accused him of being unstable.  At a speech before a gathering of newspaper and magazine editors, La Follette had gone on a long and rambling tirade, repeating himself and frequently abusing - of all things, advertisers.  Attacking advertisers in front of a bunch of editors is as disastrous as coming out against basset hounds at a veterinarians' convention.  

La Follette had also vociferously opposed the Great War, opining that the sinking of the Lusitania had been justified.  (Like a lot of great orators, La Follette had no idea when to keep his mouth shut.)  

Anyway, the election was a landslide; the voters evidently deciding since there were two Republicans in the race, to vote for the one who called himself Republican.  Davis took the anti-Republican south, La Follette took his home state of sunny Wisconsin, and Coolidge took the rest.


Calvin Coolidge: 382
John Davis: 136
Robert La Follette: 13

1. And keep in mind, this guy was the Democrat.

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