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JIM: A political prognostication, 1916

It looked like a Republican year, and that's how the correspondent from Owensby in Russell County saw it in his letter to the Adair County News


The presidential election of 1916 was a red-hot affair, with Woodrow Wilson, the incumbent, facing stiff opposition from Republican challenger Charles Hughes, a well known and well respected jurist. Four years earlier, Wilson had won in a cakewalk over then-incumbent William Howard Taft, who finished a distant third (in a four-man race) to Wilson, a Democrat, and Theodore Roosevelt of the breakaway Bull Moose party.

By the fall of 1916, the Bull Moose party for the most part had (perhaps somewhat sheepishly) re-entered the Republican fold, and as election day loomed near, candidate Hughes seemed a shoo-in to be the next resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So well was Hughes faring, in fact, the News correspondent from Owensby in neighboring Russell County, in a prognostication nearly as wrong as some of those made ninety-six years later, boldly proclaimed thus:
"[I]t appears that the old Elephant and Moose will be running side by side at break neck speed, while the old donkey will be snorting and panting in an effort to keep in sight."
However, when the smoke cleared and the votes were tallied that long ago November, the "old donkey" had crossed the finish line first, amassing enough popular and Electoral College votes to continue occupancy of the White House.

This story was posted on 2014-02-27 10:32:03
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