Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Today -100: November 3, 1920: Pleased but not exultant

Headline of the Day -100:  

Harding gets 60.2% of the popular vote, a record, 16,152,200 votes to Cox’s 9,147,353.  Socialist Party candidate Eugene Debs gets nearly 1 million votes, 3.4%.

Harding says he is “more given to prayer to God to make me capable of playing my part.” Spoiler Alert: God will say no.

Debs, from prison, says Socialists will sweep the 1924 elections. Spoiler Alert: yes, that will totally happen.

It’s a landslide for Republicans everywhere.

Thirty-four governorships were up for grabs. Republicans capture twenty-five. Alfred E. Smith, future Democratic candidate for president, loses his re-election bid for governor of New York to Nathan Miller (he’ll get it back in ‘22). 4 of the 5 Socialists the NY Legislature keeps refusing to take their seats are elected again (um, I think this is wrong), but the state senate gets its first Socialist ever, Edmund Seidel. The strong opposition of women who remembered US Sen. James Wadsworth Jr (R)’s vociferous opposition to women’s suffrage does not prevent his re-election.

In the House of Representatives, R’s gain 61 seats. They will have 299 v. 131 for the D’s. Socialist Victor Berger, expelled by the House in 1919, loses for re-election, but will be back. Meyer London of Manhattan is now the only Socialist. Other D’s losing their seats: former Speaker of the House Champ Clark, future secretary of state Cordell Hull.

Rep. Andrew Volstead (R-Minn.) of Volstead Act fame is re-elected. I must have missed this: he actually lost his primary, but the winner was disqualified for having libeled Volstead.

There’s a woman in the House again, the second after Jeanette Rankin, Oklahoma’s Alice M. Robertson, a 66-year-old spinster former teacher in Indian boarding schools and, um, president of the state Anti-Suffrage Association. Campaign motto: “I am a Christian. I am an American. I am a Republican.” She will serve one term.

The Republican majority in the Senate, slight in the 66th Congress, expands to 59-37.

In New Jersey, only one Democrat, Harry Runyon of Warren County, is elected to the Legislature’s lower house, meaning he’ll be on every single committee.

Eleanor Roosevelt casts her first vote.

Election judges in Savannah, Georgia, ignore the ruling that the registration period doesn’t apply to women this time and refuse to let black women vote. Why just black women, beyond the obvious? Evidently no white women showed up at the polls.

KDKA Pittsburgh begins operating, the first commercially licensed radio in the US (give or take), whose first broadcast is the election results.

California overwhelmingly passes the racist Alien Land initiative, making it illegal to lease to Japanese people or companies owned by them. It will be overturned by the US Supreme Court in 1952. A California ballot measure to ban vivisection fails. One to add kindergartens to the public school system succeeds.

Baron Pyotr Wrangel, the last White general standing, is carrying out a “strategic retreat.”

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