1920 United States presidential election in Washington (state)

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1920 United States presidential election in Washington (state)

← 1916 November 2, 1920 1924 →
  Warren G Harding portrait as senator June 1920.jpg James M. Cox 1920.jpg Parley Parker Christensen circa 1920 (cropped).jpg
Nominee Warren G. Harding James M. Cox Parley P. Christensen
Party Republican Democratic Farmer–Labor
Home state Ohio Ohio Illinois
Running mate Calvin Coolidge Franklin D. Roosevelt Max S. Hayes
Electoral vote 7 0 0
Popular vote 223,137 84,298 77,246
Percentage 55.96% 21.14% 19.37%

Washington presidential election results 1920.svg
County Results
Harding
  40-50%
  50-60%
  60-70%


President before election

Woodrow Wilson
Democratic

Elected President

Warren G. Harding
Republican

The 1920 United States presidential election in Washington took place on November 2, 1920, as part of the 1920 United States presidential election in which all 48 states participated. State voters chose seven electors to represent them in the Electoral College via a popular vote pitting Democratic nominee James M. Cox and his running mate, Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt, against Republican challenger U.S. Senator Warren G. Harding and his running mate, Governor Calvin Coolidge.

Background[edit]

By the beginning of 1920 skyrocketing inflation and President Woodrow Wilson's focus upon his proposed League of Nations at the expense of domestic policy had helped make the incumbent President very unpopular[1] – besides which Wilson also had major health problems that had left First Lady Edith effectively running the nation.

Political unrest observed in the Palmer Raids and the "Red Scare" further added to the unpopularity of the Democratic Party, since this global political turmoil produced considerable fear of alien revolutionaries invading the country.[2] Demand in the West for exclusion of Asian immigrants became even stronger than it had been before.[3] Another issue was the anti-Cox position taken by the Ku Klux Klan because Cox was viewed by the Klan as too lenient towards Catholicism,[4] and Cox's inconsistent stance on newly passed Prohibition – he had been a "wet" but announced he would support Prohibition enforcement in August[4]

The West had been the chief presidential battleground ever since the "System of 1896" emerged following that election.[5] For this reason, Cox chose to tour the entire nation[6] and after touring the Pacific Northwest Cox went to California to defend his proposed League of Nations and to convince the region that large sums of money were being spent by Harding simply to put Republicans in the White House.[7] Cox argued that the League could have stopped the Asian conflicts – like the Japanese seizure of Shandong – but his apparent defence of Chinese immigrants in the Bay Area was very unpopular and large numbers of hecklers attacked the Democrat.[8] Moreover, the only attention Cox received in the Western press was severe criticism,[8] and he completely ignored charges against misadministration by the Wilson Administration, and in liberal, heavily unionized Washington State where strikes had been particularly extreme since the war ended, Cox's failure to address labour issues proved also very costly.[7]

Vote[edit]

By October, it was clear that the Northwest – where Charles Evans Hughes had carried only Oregon in 1916 – was strongly in favor of the Republicans: in Washington Harding led a combined poll of male and female voters 680 to Cox's 256.[9] A week later polls strongly suggested Cox would not register a majority in any antebellum free or postbellum state, and in the Evergreen State he was trialing four to one out of around 2,100 people polled.[10] Although there were some gains by the Democratic ticket in later polls, with Cox approaching a 1-to-2 ratio to Harding's support at the end of October,[11] a minimum forty thousand vote plurality was predicted by the Washington Post at the same time.[12]

Ultimately Harding took Washington in a landslide beyond the late-October polls' prediction, defeating Cox by a 138,839 vote margin. Parley Christensen, the nominee of the recently created Farmer-Labor Party, performed very well in the state and nearly drove Cox into third place, with only 7,052 votes between the two.

Harding proved the third and last Republican, following on from Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 and William Howard Taft in 1908, to sweep every county in Washington State. This feat has been equalled only by Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who ironically was Cox's running mate in this election, in both 1932 and 1936. This would prove the last election until Richard Nixon in 1968 when the Republican Party carried Ferry County.[13]

Results[edit]

1920 United States presidential election in Washington
Party Candidate Running mate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Republican Warren G. Harding Calvin Coolidge 223,137 55.96% 7
Democratic James M. Cox Franklin D. Roosevelt 84,298 21.14% 0
Farmer-Labor Parley P. Christensen Max S. Hayes 77,246 19.37% 0
Socialist Eugene V. Debs Seymour Stedman 8,913 2.24% 0
Prohibition Aaron S. Watkins D. Leigh Colvin 3,800 0.95% 0
Socialist Labor William Wesley Cox August Gillhaus 1,321 0.33% 0
Totals 398,715 100.00% 7

Results by county[edit]

County Warren Gamaliel Harding
Republican
James Middleton Cox
Democratic
Parley Parker Christensen
Farmer-Labor
Eugene Victor Debs
Socialist
Aaron Sherman Watkins
Prohibition
William Wesley Cox
Socialist Labor
Margin Total votes cast[14]
# % # % # % # % # % # % # %
Adams 1,525 67.15% 515 22.68% 167 7.35% 42 1.85% 17 0.75% 5 0.22% 1,010 44.47% 2,271
Asotin 1,210 64.84% 497 26.63% 61 3.27% 49 2.63% 46 2.47% 3 0.16% 713 38.21% 1,866
Benton 2,001 52.01% 975 25.34% 764 19.86% 51 1.33% 50 1.30% 6 0.16% 1,026 26.67% 3,847
Chelan 3,885 58.55% 1,540 23.21% 957 14.42% 110 1.66% 132 1.99% 11 0.17% 2,345 35.34% 6,635
Clallam 1,775 53.76% 489 14.81% 966 29.25% 43 1.30% 20 0.61% 9 0.27% 809[a] 24.51% 3,302
Clark 4,852 52.20% 2,941 31.64% 1,127 12.12% 234 2.52% 125 1.34% 16 0.17% 1,911 20.56% 9,295
Columbia 1,376 64.18% 662 30.88% 57 2.66% 36 1.68% 10 0.47% 3 0.14% 714 33.30% 2,144
Cowlitz 2,267 61.49% 801 21.72% 464 12.58% 115 3.12% 34 0.92% 6 0.16% 1,466 39.77% 3,687
Douglas 1,587 57.86% 918 33.47% 171 6.23% 45 1.64% 19 0.69% 3 0.11% 669 24.39% 2,743
Ferry 592 43.56% 505 37.16% 214 15.75% 41 3.02% 3 0.22% 4 0.29% 87 6.40% 1,359
Franklin 839 44.46% 571 30.26% 397 21.04% 62 3.29% 14 0.74% 4 0.21% 268 14.20% 1,887
Garfield 869 66.03% 370 28.12% 62 4.71% 7 0.53% 8 0.61% 0 0.00% 499 37.91% 1,316
Grant 1,378 58.24% 684 28.91% 216 9.13% 60 2.54% 28 1.18% 0 0.00% 694 29.33% 2,366
Grays Harbor 5,920 50.94% 3,378 29.07% 1,978 17.02% 240 2.07% 81 0.70% 25 0.22% 2,542 21.87% 11,622
Island 883 51.19% 285 16.52% 488 28.29% 52 3.01% 15 0.87% 2 0.12% 395[a] 22.90% 1,725
Jefferson 1,128 61.57% 322 17.58% 321 17.52% 36 1.97% 22 1.20% 3 0.16% 806 43.99% 1,832
King 58,584 54.69% 17,369 16.21% 26,768 24.99% 3,081 2.88% 690 0.64% 632 0.59% 31,816[a] 29.70% 107,124
Kitsap 4,989 49.41% 1,350 13.37% 3,326 32.94% 325 3.22% 85 0.84% 23 0.23% 1,663[a] 16.47% 10,098
Kittitas 2,837 54.54% 1,119 21.51% 1,054 20.26% 134 2.58% 41 0.79% 17 0.33% 1,718 33.03% 5,202
Klickitat 1,649 59.38% 745 26.83% 298 10.73% 45 1.62% 39 1.40% 1 0.04% 904 32.55% 2,777
Lewis 6,160 54.59% 2,212 19.60% 2,520 22.33% 259 2.30% 117 1.04% 17 0.15% 3,640[a] 32.26% 11,285
Lincoln 3,038 65.04% 1,395 29.87% 144 3.08% 55 1.18% 34 0.73% 5 0.11% 1,643 35.17% 4,671
Mason 997 56.04% 383 21.53% 351 19.73% 25 1.41% 19 1.07% 4 0.22% 614 34.51% 1,779
Okanogan 2,784 54.98% 1,260 24.88% 809 15.98% 128 2.53% 66 1.30% 17 0.34% 1,524 30.10% 5,064
Pacific 2,607 65.57% 874 21.98% 372 9.36% 87 2.19% 28 0.70% 8 0.20% 1,733 43.59% 3,976
Pend Oreille 1,079 54.30% 651 32.76% 167 8.40% 67 3.37% 12 0.60% 11 0.55% 428 21.54% 1,987
Pierce 22,048 51.89% 8,259 19.44% 10,836 25.50% 779 1.83% 436 1.03% 133 0.31% 11,212[a] 26.39% 42,491
San Juan 833 66.64% 196 15.68% 172 13.76% 37 2.96% 10 0.80% 2 0.16% 637 50.96% 1,250
Skagit 5,320 51.62% 1,840 17.85% 2,756 26.74% 208 2.02% 159 1.54% 23 0.22% 2,564[a] 24.88% 10,306
Skamania 409 52.71% 247 31.83% 87 11.21% 24 3.09% 7 0.90% 2 0.26% 162 20.88% 776
Snohomish 10,793 52.48% 3,056 14.86% 6,146 29.88% 356 1.73% 181 0.88% 35 0.17% 4,647[a] 22.60% 20,567
Spokane 26,219 60.55% 13,412 30.97% 2,373 5.48% 777 1.79% 360 0.83% 160 0.37% 12,807 29.58% 43,301
Stevens 3,282 55.68% 1,452 24.64% 914 15.51% 175 2.97% 61 1.03% 10 0.17% 1,830 31.04% 5,894
Thurston 3,899 52.77% 1,367 18.50% 1,849 25.03% 114 1.54% 147 1.99% 12 0.16% 2,050[a] 27.74% 7,388
Wahkiakum 494 57.64% 164 19.14% 75 8.75% 109 12.72% 3 0.35% 12 1.40% 330 38.50% 857
Walla Walla 5,957 46.65% 2,338 18.31% 3,744 29.32% 481 3.77% 205 1.61% 45 0.35% 2,213[a] 17.33% 12,770
Whatcom 9,157 57.52% 2,288 14.37% 3,744 23.52% 481 3.02% 205 1.29% 45 0.28% 5,413[a] 34.00% 15,920
Whitman 6,344 64.68% 2,806 28.61% 425 4.33% 119 1.21% 99 1.01% 16 0.16% 3,538 36.07% 9,809
Yakima 11,571 59.39% 4,062 20.85% 3,301 16.94% 226 1.16% 303 1.56% 21 0.11% 7,509 38.54% 19,484
Totals 223,137 55.41% 84,298 20.93% 80,641 20.03% 9,315 2.31% 3,931 0.98% 1,351 0.34% 138,839 34.48% 402,673

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k In this county where Christensen ran second ahead of James Cox, margin given is Harding vote minus Christensen vote and percentage margin Harding percentage minus Christensen percentage.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goldberg, David Joseph; Discontented America: The United States in the 1920s, p. 44 ISBN 0801860059
  2. ^ Leuchtenburg, William E.; The Perils of Prosperity, 1914-1932, p. 75 ISBN 0226473724
  3. ^ Vought, Hans P. ; The Bully Pulpit and the Melting Pot: American Presidents And The Immigrant, 1897-1933, p. 167 ISBN 0865548870
  4. ^ a b Brake, Robert J.; 'The porch and the stump: Campaign strategies in the 1920 presidential election'; Quarterly Journal of Speech, 55(3), pp. 256-267
  5. ^ Faykosh, Joseph D., Bowling Green State University; The Front Porch of the American People: James Cox and the Presidential Election of 1920 (thesis), p. 68
  6. ^ Faykosh, The Front Porch of the American People (thesis), p. 69
  7. ^ a b 'The Passing of Woodrow Wilson', The Round Table, 11:41 (November 1920), pp. 14-31
  8. ^ a b Faykosh, The Front Porch of the American People (thesis), p. 74
  9. ^ 'First Straw Vote Favors Harding'; Boston Daily Globe, September 26, 1920, p. 6
  10. ^ 'Harding Leads in the Straw Vote: Cox Weak in North and West in Rexall Balloting'; Boston Daily Globe, October 3, 1920, p.
  11. ^ 'Cox Gains in Straw Vote: Late Returns Give Him Missouri – Some Other States Close'; The New York Times, October 31, 1920, p. 6
  12. ^ 'Harding 363 Votes, Cox 168, Is Result Obtained From Estimates by 47 Editors' (Special to The Washington Post); Washington Post, October 31, 1920, p. 1
  13. ^ Menendez, Albert J.; The Geography of Presidential Elections in the United States, 1868-2004, pp. 332-333 ISBN 0786422173
  14. ^ Washington Secretary of State Elections; Abstract of Votes Polled in the State of Washington at the General Election Held November 2, 1920