Progressive Party Of 1924

Donald Trump Could Be On Way To Worst Major Party Candidate Popular Vote Percentage Since William Howard Taft In 1912 And John W. Davis In 1924!

As Donald Trump moves forward, proving ever more his ability to alienate traditional Republicans and conservatives, and his racism, nativism, misogyny, and xenophobia leading to a likely low percentage among African Americans, Hispanic and Latino Americans, Asian Americans, Muslim Americans, Jews, Social Justice Catholics, women, college educated, environmentalists, gays, disabled, and every other conceivable group, the likelihood that he might be on the way to the worst possible major party candidate popular vote percentage since 1912 and 1924 seems a strong possibility.

In 1912, President William Howard Taft, challenged by former President Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive Party, ended up third, the only time a major party nominee ended up other than first or second, and only received 23.2 percent of the vote, winning 2 states and 8 electoral votes, and Woodrow Wilson winning the election. TR as the third party nominee won six states and 27.4 percent of the total national vote that year.

Once we get past that unusual situation, the next worst performance by a losing major party candidate is John W. Davis , who lost to Calvin Coolidge in 1924 and won only 28.8 percent of the total popular vote, winning twelve states and 136 electoral votes. However, Progressive Party candidate Robert M. La Follette Sr won 16.6 percent of the vote in that election.

Next was James Cox, who lost to Warren G. Harding in 1920, receiving only 34.2 percent of the vote, winning eleven states and 127 electoral votes.

Next was Alf Landon, who lost to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936, winning only 36.5 percent of the vote, and two states and 8 electoral votes.

Next was George H. W. Bush who won only 37.4 percent of the vote in 1992 against Bill Clinton, but Ross Perot won 18.9 percent of the vote that year as an Independent nominee. Bush won 18 states and 168 electoral votes in that election.

Next on the list is George McGovern who won 37.5 percent of the vote in 1972 against Richard Nixon, winning only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia and 17 electoral votes.

Next is Alton B. Parker who won 37.6 percent of the vote in 1904 against Theodore Roosevelt in 1904, but also won 13 states and 140 electoral votes.

Barry Goldwater, losing to Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964, won only 38.5 percent of the vote, and had 6 states and 52 electoral votes.

Finally, President Herbert Hoover, losing to Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, had only 39.7 percent of the vote, and won 6 states and 59 electoral votes.

So nine times, a major party nominee since the Civil War has won less than 40 percent of the total national popular vote, but with three times, 1912, 1924, and 1992, being complicated by a strong third party vote.

Five of these candidates who won less than 40 percent of the vote were Republicans—Presidents Taft, Hoover and the first Bush, and also Landon and Goldwater.

The other four were Democrats—Davis, Cox, McGovern, and Parker.

Wisconsin Political History: Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde!

The state of Wisconsin, the cheese and dairy state, has had a distinguished history in many respects.

It was the base of the great Mr. Progressive, Governor and Senator Robert La Follette, Sr, who also was the Progressive Party nominee for President in 1924, and had the third best percentage of the vote of any third party nominee in history, with one out of every six voters backing him.

It was the state of his son, Senator Robert La Follette, Jr, and also of his second son, Governor Philip La Follette, both leading Progressives in the 1930s.

It was the state of Senator Gaylord Nelson,  Senator Herb Kohl, Senator William Proxmire, and Senator Russ Feingold, the latter now seeking to regain his Senate seat that he lost to Ron Johnson in 2010, with these two men running against each other again in 2016.  It was also the state of Governor Patrick Lucey and Gaylord Nelson, before the latter became a Senator.

It is the state of Senator Tammy Baldwin, the first lesbian US Senator.

However, it was also the state of Senator Joseph McCarthy, the infamous Red Scare leader in the 1950s.

It is also the state of the disgraceful Governor Scott Walker; Senator Ron Johnson; and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, all very willing to work against the interests of the middle class and the poor.

How a state with a progressive tradition can often “go off the rails” is hard to understand.

But the progressive-liberal tradition remains a significant part of the Wisconsin historical story!

Now it is becoming the center of attention again, after Scott Walker endorsed Ted Cruz in the Republican primary to be held next week, with Cruz leading Donald Trump in polls; and Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton in polls for the Democrats.

A Liberal-Progressive Mount Rushmore And A Conservative Mount Rushmore: Who Would Be On Such Mount Rushmores?

Last Friday, Joe Scarborough and MORNING JOE on MSNBC had distinguished historians assess which Presidents might be on a new, second Mount Rushmore, if such a monument were ever built.

This brought to mind the idea of who might be on a Liberal-Progressive Mount Rushmore, and who would be on a Conservative Mount Rushmore, if such were ever constructed anywhere in America.

This is mostly just interesting scholarly speculation, but here goes my suggestions for such honoring on both sides of the political spectrum.


Robert La Follette, Sr.–Republican Governor (1900-1906) and Senator (1906-1925) of Wisconsin–Mr. Progressive of the early 20th century and 1924 Progressive Party nominee for President.

George Norris–Republican Congressman (1902-1912) and Senator (1912-1942) of Nebraska–the most creative reform figure and longevity of the first half of the 20th century, a bridge between the Progressive Era of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson and the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Hubert H. Humphrey–Democratic Mayor Of Minneapolis (1945-1949), Senator (1949-1964, 1970-1978) of Minnesota, and Vice President of the United States (1965-1969) and Democratic Presidential nominee in 1968, who had the most creative record of promoting reform in the years after World War II throughout the 1960s.

Ted Kennedy–Democratic Senator (1962-2009) of Massachusetts, the fourth longest serving US Senator in American history, and the most creative reformer in the years from the 1970s until his death in 2009.

A possible alternative would be Democratic Senator George McGovern of
South Dakota (1922-2012), who ran for President in 1972, and was a major critic of the Vietnam War, one of the most decent men ever in American politics, serving in the Senate from 1963-1981.


Arthur Vandenberg–Republican Senator (1928-1951) of Michigan, who opposed the New Deal and was an isolationist in foreign policy through World War II, but then became an internationalist in support of the United Nations and President Harry Truman’s Cold War policy against the Soviet Union after World War II, and potential Presidential candidate twice.

Robert Taft–Republican Senator (1939-1953) of Ohio, son of President and Chief Justice William Howard Taft, promoted the anti labor union Taft-Hartley Act, promoted an isolationist foreign policy, and considered Mr. Conservative by his party, and a potential Presidential candidate numerous times.

Barry Goldwater–Senator (1952-1964, 1968-1986) of Arizona, succeeding Robert Taft as Mr. Conservative, and 1964 Republican nominee for President, becoming the hero of conservatives long term, and having an effect on President Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan–Republican Governor of California (1966-1974), and President of the United States (1981-1989), after a career as a movie actor, influenced by the principles and ideas of Barry Goldwater, who he publicly backed in a famous speech in 1964.

The author welcomes commentary on these selections!

The Need For Supreme Court Reform By Constitutional Amendment

THe controversy over the US Supreme Court has grown in recent years, with the Bush V. Gore case of 2000, where the Court, by partisan majority, chose a President; and the Citizens United case of 2010, which also, by partisan majority, the Court claimed that corporations and labor unions had the same right to freedom of speech in politics as did ordinary citizens, and has led to the Super PACs that are now distorting campaign finance in the Presidential Election of 2012.

That, along with the concern that the Court might strike down the Obama Health Care legislation by another 5-4 partisan majority, and the Strip Search decision of the Court this past Monday, also by partisan majority, makes many wonder if there is not a need for Supreme Court reform.

This is nothing new, as a century ago, during their Progressive Party campaigns for President of former President Theodore Roosevelt in 1912 and Wisconsin Senator Robert La Follette, Sr. in 1924, as well as proposals of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, suggestions for changes, including constitutional amendment changes by TR and La Follette. were advocated.

Of course, the constitutional amendment route is a very difficult one, and it could be a long road to necessary change, but even if not imminent, the changes that this blogger proposes are worthy of consideration, if not adoption.

These proposed changes would include the following:

A term on the Supreme Court should not be lifetime, but instead 15 years maximum, which in most cases, would mean the Justice would be over 70 at the end of the term.

No one should serve on the Supreme Court past the age of 80, with only a handful who have so served, including outstanding men, such as Oliver Wendell Holmes and John Paul Stevens. Losing such luminaries at age 80 is a shame, but no one can be considered as irreplaceable, as the President and the Pope are replaceable, as well as any other position in any government!

While 5-4 decisions on normal cases would continue, any attempt to override legislation passed by Congress should require a super majority of 6-3 to have such effect. Since we have a two thirds vote for a constitutional amendment to pass Congress and go to the states for ratification; a two thirds vote to override a Presidential veto; and a two thirds vote to ratify a treaty in the US Senate, it seems reasonable that a two thirds vote should be necessary to overturn a congressional law.

What these suggested amendments do is allow turnover on the Court more regularly, and stop the image of the Supreme Court as being out of touch with America, and as an arrogant, unelected group that can hold back progress!

The Supreme Court On Trial IF It Destroys Health Care Reform: Creation Of A Constitutional Crisis

The US Supreme Court is in the midst of a crisis of massive proportions, if it destroys the Obama Health Care reform in June.

It will create a crisis in health care for about 50 million Americans, and affect young adults, senior citizens, and people with pre-existing conditions in a massively negative way.

It will undermine the major effort of the Obama Administration to bring health care into the 21st century, and on the same level as every other democratic nation in the world, many of whom have had national health care for all for decades.

It will also put the Supreme Court as an institution on trial, as it is already perceived as overly partisan, with many of the decisions decided on party line vote, based on which party’s President chose the members of the Court.

It will also make it even more obvious that the election will have the effect of deciding the future direction of the Court, based on which party gains the Presidency and has control of the US Senate. This has always been true, and has been mentioned by this author numerous times on this blog.

This Court could undermine public faith and respect for the institution itself, doing even more damage than the Bush V. Gore case of 2000, and the Citizens United case of 2010.

The Court has been a hot political issue in the past in election years, including:

1800-Thomas Jefferson vs. John Adams, with the power of the Court a key issue, and Adams’ last minute appointment of Chief Justice John Marshall leading, despite opposition of Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and Andrew Jackson, to a very powerful Supreme Court shaped by Marshall.

1860–The election of Abraham Lincoln, who attacked the Dred Scott decision that stated that a slave owner could take his slave anywhere in the United States, and helping to lead to the secession of the South, and the coming of the Civil War.

1876–An election where the popular vote loser, Rutherford B. Hayes, was chosen by a committee which included five Supreme Court Justices, when no one was able to win the contested electoral votes of three Southern states–Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida.

1912 and 1924–Third party (Progressive Party) candidates Theodore Roosevelt and Robert La Follette, Sr., respectively, proposed limitations on the powers of the Supreme Court .

1936–Franklin D. Roosevelt made the Court an issue because of its constant declaration of New Deal laws as unconstitutional, and tried to “pack” the Court by a proposal to add six new Justices for each one on the Court over the age of 70, an idea soundly defeated in 1937.

1968–Richard Nixon campaigned against the “liberal” Court of Chief Justice Earl Warren, who then had to swear him as President in January 1969, but retired shortly after.

2000–The Supreme Court on a partisan vote stopped the vote count in the state of Florida, thereby awarding George W. Bush the Presidency over Al Gore, with a margin of victory in Florida of 537 votes statewide.

2012 could be another such case of a President confronting a defiant Supreme Court to the will of the majority in Congress and the American people!