1920 United States presidential election in California

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

United States presidential election in California, 1920

← 1916 November 2, 1920 1924 →
  Warren G Harding-Harris & Ewing.jpg James M. Cox 1920.jpg EugeneVictorDebs.jpg
Nominee Warren G. Harding James M. Cox Eugene V. Debs
Party Republican Democratic Socialist
Home state Ohio Ohio Indiana
Running mate Calvin Coolidge Franklin D. Roosevelt Seymour Stedman
Electoral vote 13 0 0
Popular vote 624,992 229,191 64,076
Percentage 66.20% 24.28% 6.79%

California presidential election results 1920.svg
County Results
Harding
  40-50%
  50-60%
  60-70%
  70-80%
  90-100%


President before election

Woodrow Wilson
Democratic

Elected President

Warren G. Harding
Republican

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 Wilson 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,[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. 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 Democratic candidate.[7] Moreover, the only attention Cox received in the Western press was severe criticism.[7]

In September, several opinion polls were conducted, all predicting that Harding would carry California, which had been extremely close in the two preceding elections, by over one hundred thousand votes.[8] By the end of October, although no more opinion polls had been published, most observers were even more convinced that the Republicans would take complete control of all branches of government.[9] On election day, Warren Harding carried California by a margin much larger than early polls predicted, winning with 66.20 percent of the vote to James Cox's 24.28 percent. Harding became the first of only two presidential nominees to sweep all of California's counties; the only other one was Franklin D. Roosevelt, the losing 1920 vice-presidential candidate, sixteen years later. Harding's 66.20 percent of the vote was the largest fraction for any presidential candidate in California until Roosevelt won with 66.95 percent in 1936, though his 41.92-percentage-point margin of victory is the largest for any candidate in the state.

This was the first time Mariposa County and Colusa County, the only counties in the Pacific States to support Democratic nominee Alton B. Parker in 1904, had ever voted Republican.[10] Plumas County would never vote Republican again until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and Amador, El Dorado and Placer Counties would not vote Republican again until Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952.[10]

ResultsEdit

United States presidential election in California, 1920[11]
Party Candidate Votes Percentage Electoral votes
Republican Warren G. Harding 624,992 66.20% 13
Democratic James M. Cox 229,191 24.28% 0
Socialist Eugene V. Debs 64,076 6.79% 0
Prohibition Aaron S. Watkins 25,204 2.67% 0
No party Others 587 0.06% 0
Totals 944,050 100.00% 13
Voter turnout

Results by countyEdit

County Warren Gamaliel Harding
Republican
James Middleton Cox
Democratic
Eugene Victor Debs
Socialist
Aaron Sherman Watkins
Prohibition
Various candidates
Write-ins
Margin
% # % # % # % # % # % #
Alpine 91.43% 64 8.57% 6 0.00% 0 0.00% 0 82.86% 58
Ventura 76.00% 5,231 18.96% 1,305 2.63% 181 2.41% 166 57.04% 3,926
Orange 71.52% 12,797 19.57% 3,502 3.53% 632 5.38% 962 51.95% 9,295
San Mateo 70.52% 7,205 19.16% 1,958 9.36% 956 0.96% 98 51.36% 5,247
Humboldt 69.89% 6,528 19.04% 1,778 8.17% 763 2.90% 271 50.85% 4,750
Sierra 72.18% 506 22.54% 158 3.42% 24 1.85% 13 49.64% 348
Alameda 69.11% 73,177 20.27% 21,468 8.75% 9,266 1.87% 1,978 48.84% 51,709
Riverside 69.55% 9,124 21.33% 2,798 5.26% 690 3.86% 506 48.22% 6,326
Napa 70.99% 4,448 23.05% 1,444 4.37% 274 1.60% 100 47.94% 3,004
Los Angeles 69.10% 178,117 21.59% 55,661 5.69% 14,674 3.42% 8,812 0.20% 506 47.51% 122,456
Marin 68.80% 5,375 21.61% 1,688 8.09% 632 1.51% 118 47.19% 3,687
Sutter 70.32% 1,862 24.02% 636 2.61% 69 3.06% 81 46.30% 1,226
Yuba 70.70% 2,012 24.46% 696 2.88% 82 1.97% 56 46.24% 1,316
Santa Clara 68.09% 19,565 22.57% 6,485 5.80% 1,667 3.53% 1,015 45.52% 13,080
Mono 67.73% 170 22.31% 56 8.76% 22 1.20% 3 45.42% 114
San Francisco 65.18% 96,105 22.13% 32,637 11.56% 17,049 1.11% 1,630 0.02% 29 43.05% 63,468
Monterey 67.76% 4,817 24.91% 1,771 3.70% 263 3.63% 258 42.85% 3,046
Santa Barbara 67.48% 6,970 25.04% 2,586 4.80% 496 2.68% 277 42.44% 4,384
Santa Cruz 66.28% 5,285 24.54% 1,957 5.17% 412 4.01% 320 41.74% 3,328
Nevada 64.97% 2,055 23.62% 747 8.82% 279 2.59% 82 41.35% 1,308
Sonoma 66.90% 10,377 26.24% 4,070 4.38% 680 2.48% 385 40.66% 6,307
Mendocino 65.83% 4,443 26.51% 1,789 5.94% 401 1.72% 116 39.32% 2,654
Lassen 66.22% 1,582 26.92% 643 4.06% 97 2.80% 67 39.30% 939
Contra Costa 63.75% 9,041 24.56% 3,483 9.94% 1,410 1.75% 248 39.19% 5,558
Butte 65.69% 5,409 27.47% 2,262 4.12% 339 2.72% 224 38.22% 3,147
Plumas 63.96% 999 25.80% 403 7.30% 114 2.94% 46 38.16% 596
Solano 64.77% 7,102 26.94% 2,954 6.78% 743 1.51% 166 37.83% 4,148
San Luis Obispo 61.31% 4,123 23.88% 1,606 9.56% 643 4.48% 301 0.77% 52 37.43% 2,517
Imperial 64.51% 4,699 27.76% 2,022 5.13% 374 2.59% 189 36.75% 2,677
San Diego 63.78% 19,826 27.27% 8,478 5.83% 1,812 3.12% 971 36.51% 11,348
Calaveras 63.96% 1,480 27.70% 641 4.80% 111 3.54% 82 36.26% 839
El Dorado 64.36% 1,636 28.56% 726 4.52% 115 2.56% 65 35.80% 910
San Benito 65.00% 1,965 29.77% 900 2.45% 74 2.78% 84 35.23% 1,065
Sacramento 64.87% 15,634 29.67% 7,150 3.92% 944 1.54% 372 35.20% 8,484
Merced 62.99% 3,457 28.01% 1,537 6.03% 331 2.97% 163 34.98% 1,920
Stanislaus 61.61% 7,038 26.74% 3,055 5.09% 582 6.55% 748 34.87% 3,983
Tehama 61.81% 2,462 27.09% 1,079 5.80% 231 5.30% 211 34.72% 1,383
San Bernardino 62.84% 12,518 28.21% 5,620 4.47% 890 4.48% 893 34.63% 6,898
Trinity 62.89% 622 28.82% 285 7.58% 75 0.71% 7 34.07% 337
Glenn 64.19% 1,916 30.22% 902 2.98% 89 2.61% 78 33.97% 1,014
Amador 64.13% 1,350 30.36% 639 2.99% 63 2.52% 53 33.77% 711
Del Norte 62.61% 596 29.31% 279 5.15% 49 2.94% 28 33.30% 317
Shasta 62.07% 2,108 30.27% 1,028 6.04% 205 1.62% 55 31.80% 1,080
Yolo 61.95% 3,375 32.80% 1,787 2.44% 133 2.81% 153 29.15% 1,588
Siskiyou 60.05% 2,909 31.01% 1,502 6.96% 337 1.98% 96 29.04% 1,407
Tuolumne 59.38% 1,285 30.45% 659 7.26% 157 2.91% 63 28.93% 626
Modoc 62.59% 992 33.75% 535 2.27% 36 1.39% 22 28.84% 457
Tulare 61.26% 9,136 32.43% 4,837 3.53% 527 2.78% 414 28.83% 4,299
San Joaquin 60.94% 12,003 32.93% 6,487 3.53% 695 2.60% 513 28.01% 5,516
Colusa 61.24% 1,645 33.77% 907 2.68% 72 2.31% 62 27.47% 738
Placer 59.44% 2,894 32.02% 1,559 5.91% 288 2.63% 128 27.42% 1,335
Kings 59.61% 2,806 34.08% 1,604 3.82% 180 2.49% 117 25.53% 1,202
Inyo 57.20% 1,195 32.65% 682 8.62% 180 1.53% 32 24.55% 513
Lake 57.23% 993 32.91% 571 4.32% 75 5.53% 96 24.32% 422
Madera 55.46% 1,779 35.69% 1,145 5.64% 181 3.21% 103 19.77% 634
Fresno 55.36% 14,621 36.39% 9,613 5.40% 1,426 2.85% 753 18.97% 5,008
Mariposa 55.38% 484 36.61% 320 6.06% 53 1.95% 17 18.77% 164
Kern 49.01% 7,079 42.20% 6,095 6.46% 933 2.33% 337 6.81% 984

ReferencesEdit

  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 Faykosh, The Front Porch of the American People (thesis), p. 74
  8. ^ 'Predict Republican Victory in California: Senator Harding Pleases Delegation; Majority of 100,000 Forecast'; Los Angeles Times, September 16, 1920, p. 12
  9. ^ 'Republicans Going to Win: Prospects of a Complete Victory'; The Observer, October 31, 1920, p. 13
  10. ^ a b Menendez, Albert J.; The Geography of Presidential Elections in the United States, 1868-2004, pp. 153-155 ISBN 0786422173
  11. ^ "1920 Presidential General Election Results - California". Dave Leip's U.S. Election Atlas. Retrieved 2008-08-25.