United States presidential election in California, 1920

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United States presidential election in California, 1920
California
← 1916 November 2, 1920 1924 →
  Warren G Harding portrait as senator June 1920.jpg James M. Cox 1920.jpg Debs penitentiary.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—<50%
  Harding—50-60%
  Harding—60-70%
  Harding—70-80%
  Harding—>90%

President before election

Woodrow Wilson
Democratic

Elected President

Warren G. Harding
Republican

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 nine 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.

By the beginning of 1920 skyrocketing inflation and 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,[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 Democrat.[7] Moreover, the only attention Cox received in the Western press was severe criticism.[7]

In September, several opinion polls were conducted, and all predicted that California, which had been extremely close in the two preceding elections, would be carried by Harding 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 – ironically the only other one was his opponent’s running mate sixteen years later.

This was the first time Mariposa County and Colusa County, the only counties in the Pacific States to support Alton B. Parker sixteen years previously, had ever voted Republican.[10] Plumas County would never vote Republican again until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and Amador, El Dorado and Placer Counties were not carried by the Republicans again until 1952.[10]

Results[edit]

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 county[edit]

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

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 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.