Are we repeating the pandemic election year of a century ago?

The idea that 2020 is a centennial revival of 1920’s travails should be comforting to Biden supporters because “normalcy” candidate Harding won by a huge landslide. His 26-point popular vote margin over Democrat James Cox (Harding won 60 percent to Cox’s 34 percent) has never been matched in the entire post-Civil-War history of presidential elections.

Mallon’s general hypothesis is that in the turmoil following World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic, all occurring in the shadow of a highly controversial president who remade the global image of his country, the electorate chose the aggressively bland Harding who straddled divisions in his own Republican Party and oozed reassurance to the point of putting audiences to sleep…

While Wilson was unable to pursue the third term he clearly coveted due to a debilitating stroke (which left his wife Edith virtually in charge of the country), his policies, and particularly his frustrated desire for U.S. accession to the League of Nations, hamstrung Democratic nominee and Ohio Governor James Cox. But to an extent, Fallon does not acknowledge, the “normalcy” Harding represented was a natural Republican majority that returned after two Wilson terms.