The Democrats' nightmare scenario in 2016

Pew’s numbers look eerily similar to the results of the 1920 election, the biggest repudiation of a president’s party ever. Woodrow Wilson was president then and his party’s nominee, James M. Cox, won only 34 percent of the vote. Republican Warren G. Harding won 60 percent and carried every non-Southern state.

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Wilson and Obama have some things in common. Both were happy to live in university communities. Both had minimal experience in high political office. Both got heavily Democratic Congresses to pass major legislation in their first terms. Both were cheered by crowds of thousands in Europe.

Wilson led the nation to victory in World War I, but his last two years were disastrous. He suffered a disabling stroke. His Versailles Treaty was rejected by the Senate. The nation was hit by inflation and recession, waves of strikes, race riots and terrorist bombings.

The Democrats’ collapse in 1920 was the voters’ response. It wasn’t because of a weak ticket. Cox was a three-term Ohio governor who created the Cox Communications empire; today his 94-year-old daughter is worth $12 billion. His running mate was Franklin D. Roosevelt.

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