Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Today -100: November 8, 1916: Election results

Headline of the Day -100:

In truth, the presidential race is too close to call. Indeed, Hughes won’t concede for two weeks. 

But of course we know better than the Times, because we are magical gods from the future. Wilson actually got 49% of the popular vote and Hughes 46%. Eugene Debs is for once not running for president, so there’s a weaker Socialist vote than usual, 3% for Allan Benson. Wilson loses the entire North East except for New Hampshire, which he wins by 52 votes. He fails to win New Jersey, where he was governor. Hughes does very well in the Midwest, but Wilson takes Ohio. Wilson is strong in the South, of course, and the West and, decisively for this election, wins California, barely. Hughes will for the rest of his life blame that loss on that one time he was in the same hotel as Gov. Hiram Johnson and failed to go say hello. Wilson will wind up with 277 electoral votes to Hughes’s 254.

House of Representatives: R’s gain 20 seats, to 216. D’s lose 16 seats, to 214, but there are 3 Progressives, one Socialist (Meyer London of NY) and 1 Prohibitionist (Charles Randall of California), which in practice will mean a shaky working majority for the D’s.

Senate: R’s gain 2 seats, but D’s still hold a 54-42 majority.

California’s Progressive governor Hiram Johnson is elected to the US Senate, easily defeating George S. Patton, the father of the face-slapping general. Patton is a Democrat but is to the right of Johnson on most issues.

New York Governor Charles Whitman (R) is reelected. Republican Walter E. Edge is elected governor of New Jersey. His campaign manager was none other than “Nucky” Johnson, sort of played by Steve Buscemi in Boardwalk Empire. John Cornwell is elected governor of West Virginia, the only Democrat elected to statewide office. Thomas Campbell (R) is elected governor of Arizona – or is he? More on that later.

State referenda:

Women’s suffrage is defeated in South Dakota by 52% of the voters and in West Virginia by 72%.

Florida voters reject a constitutional amendment aimed at eliminating the few remaining black voters by restricting voting to those who could pass a literacy test (including being able to “interpret” as well as read the constitution) and who own $500 in property, with a grandfather clause exempting those whose ancestors could vote in 1867, before the 15th Amendment. This was placed on the ballot by the state legislature before last year’s Supreme Court ruling invalidating Oklahoma’s grandfather clause.

Oregon voters narrowly reject a measure to remove the clauses in the state constitution discriminating against voting by negroes and mulattoes. These provisions will be removed from the constitution (also the one against “chinamen”) by a referendum in 1927.

Oregon also rejects a measure banning compulsory vaccination.

The Single Tax (on land, excluding buildings) loses in California 69% to 31%. As does prohibition, by 55%. San Francisco bans picketing.

Arizona voters pass the strongest form of prohibition in the nation, making it illegal even to possess alcohol. They abolish the death penalty by a very narrow majority, but fail to abolish the state senate.

Prohibition passes in Idaho by 72%, Nebraska by 55%, South Dakota by 55%, Montana by 58%, and Michigan. It fails in California by 55% and Maryland by 65%. North Dakota passes a measure defining bootlegging; so that’s actually a legal term. Oregon bans the importation of booze from outside the state. The majority of states are now dry. Typically, cities vote against prohibition, rural areas for it.

Women in Illinois vote for president for the first time. Jane Addams says “I believe that every voting woman in Chicago is feeling moved and thrilled by the experience”. Since women in Illinois have the right to vote for some offices but not others, there are separate ballots so we have something we don’t in any other state: a breakdown by sex of how women voted for president. Not much different from men, as it happens (Hughes easily wins the state, even Chicago). This leads the NYT to write a dickish editorial about how this proves that there’s no reason for women’s suffrage. It also prints a letter from Everett Pepperrell Wheeler, one-time failed candidate for governor of New York, about how it’s only fair to leave women’s suffrage to the states. Indeed, he says, the one time the federal government tried to intervene in the suffrage (the 15th Amendment), “It is now agreed by both whites and blacks that this was a great mistake and that it would have been far better to leave the regulation of this subject to each Southern State.”

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