*This scenario was greatly updated by the Historical Scenario Commission on August 29, 2017. It can be downloaded here: United States – 1908 v. 2.0
Theodore Roosevelt fulfills his promise to not run for a 3rd term. Roosevelt proved to be the most powerful president up to that time. The 1908 election takes place in an increasingly progressive era. Which candidate is the best to lead the nation after Roosevelt? The president’s handpicked successor is Taft, who seems nearly unstoppable in both the primaries and the general election.
For the Republicans, as mentioned above, Taft is the clear front-runner. However, he faces challenges from both the left and the right. Robert La Follette is the progressive icon of the party and hopes to improve upon Roosevelt’s progressive actions. Philander Knox is the favorite among more conservative Republicans. Other major candidates are the moderate conservative Charles Evans Hughes, Speaker Joseph Cannon, VP Charles Fairbanks, and a few favorite son candidates.
The Democrats are attempting to recover from a crushing defeat in 1904, when they nominated a conservative, pro-business (Bourbon Democrat) nominee, Alton B. Parker. They have now turned their eyes towards their two-time nominee, William Jennnings Bryan, the leader of the populist, progressive wing of the Democratic party. His only challengers come from two more moderate Democrats, George Gray and John A. Johnson.
Eugene Debs leads the Socialist Party.
This election allows for many what-if scenarios:
- What if Theodore Roosevelt broke his promise and ran for a 3rd term?
- What if Elihu Root, the brilliant cabinet member under Roosevelt, ran for the presidency?
- William Randolph Hearst was a pro-labor Democrat and the most powerful publishers in America. He would make an attractive alternative to Bryan among populists. What if he ran?
- What if the 1904 nominee, Alton B. Parker, tried to win with his Bourbon Democrat platform?
- What if Woodrow Wilson attempted to run for the presidency four years earlier? Can he win without gubernatorial experience?
Feedback and suggestions are desired to fix my errors and to make the game more enjoyable.