Friday, June 10, 2016

100 Years Ago: The Republican Convention

John N. "Ding" Darling, in Des Moines Register and Leader, April/May (?), 1916
I usually save these retrospectives for Saturdays, but there are enough cartoons this time to warrant making two posts out of it. 100 years ago this week, the Republicans met at the Colosseum in Chicago to nominate their candidate for President of the United States.
John McCutcheon for Chicago Tribune, June 7, 1916
It's important to note that a century ago, presidential nominations were decided at the party conventions, not by the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire. There were state party caucuses, of course, and newfangled primary elections, but you didn't have a "presumptive nominee" coasting into the convention unless he were the incumbent president. The candidate who arrived at the convention having won the most primaries (five) with the most votes was Iowa Senator Albert B. Cummins; but he came in fifth on the first and second ballots, released his delegates on the third, and that's why you have never heard of him. (I think he may be the fellow in the sousaphone in Ding's cartoon atop this post.)
John McCutcheon for Chicago Tribune, June 8, 1916
Theodore Roosevelt was a personal friend of cartoonist John T. McCutcheon, and as we've seen, he and the Tribune publishers were Ready for Teddy in 1916. The Republican Old Guard, however, were determined not to accept the progressive Roosevelt as their standard bearer.

The Progressive Party (distinct from progressives in the Republican Party) renominated Roosevelt at its convention, also in Chicago, even though the former president had turned his back on that party as soon as the 1912 campaign was over. Roosevelt nevertheless sent conventioneers at the Colosseum a note threatening to run as a Bull Moose a second time if the Republicans nominated Charles Evans Hughes...
Billy Ireland for the Columbus Dispatch, June, 1916
...but once the Republicans nominated Hughes anyway, Roosevelt ended up telling the Progressive Party that he would support the Supreme Court Justice.

I see no "entHughesiasm" in McCutcheon's convention week cartoons for the Republican nominee. It appears to me that McCutcheon was more impressed with the keynote speech of the man who would be the Republican nominee four years later. Ohio Senator Warren G. Harding appears in consecutive McCutcheon cartoons on Thursday and Friday.
John McCutcheon for Chicago Tribune, June 9, 1916
Instead of the usual McCutcheon cartoon, the front page of the Sunday Tribune carries a picture of Hughes so huge that the headline reporting his nomination is only one column wide. (The Saturday Trib did sport a banner headline anticipating the Hughes nomination, but there was no McCutcheon cartoon that day.)

Meanwhile, at the New York Herald, a full page editorial cartoon by W.A. Rogers was an established feature of the Sunday newspaper:
William A. Rogers for New York Herald, June 11, 1916
Rogers's cartoon appears to be a full-throated endorsement of the Republican nominee, but if you look carefully, you'll see that he was warning the country that a victory for Hughes would be a victory for the Daleks.

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