Election deja vu

Almost exactly a century ago, writers for The New Era, Riverton’s hometown newspaper, took stock of the recent presidential contest and engaged in some post-election analysis.

Influenced by four prior years marked by war, a global pandemic, weather’s death and destruction, terrorist attacks, demonstrations against racial injustice, a hostile reaction to the incumbent (Woodrow Wilson), a recession, and unemployment, voters went to the polls.

This was the first election in which women from every state were allowed to vote, following the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in August 1920.

Poll workers braced for the heavy voter turnout and there was concern that “ballot boxes would be unequal to the task of holding all the ballots cast.”

An electorate weary of chaotic world events chose the candidate whose slogan was “Back to normalcy.”

They chose Republican Warren B. Harding as the 29th President of the United States.

The editors of The New Era said of the voter turnout, “…it’s some record!” They also noted the impact of the women’s vote and wondered if public sentiment might “compel the Legislature to simplify the election laws…”

How will history characterize the Presidential Election of 2020?


The New Era, Nov. 5, 1920, p2

Published by

John McCormick

Teacher at Riverton School 1974-2019, author, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member 2007-2023, newsletter editor 2007-2023, website editor 2011-2023

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