The Republican Nomination


 “The Motorist”
  Cartoonist:  Edward Windsor Kemble
  Source:  Harper's Weekly
  Date:   November 25, 1911, p. 7

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This Harper’s Weekly cartoon suggests the difficult time President William Howard Taft will have in being renominated by the Republican Party. In the foreground, Senator Robert La Follette of Wisconsin is a mischievous boy who has placed tacks in the road to flatten the tires on the president’s campaign car. The dog represents the “insurgent press” loyal to the progressive wing of the GOP. Cartoonists had previously used the term “My Policies” to mock President Theodore Roosevelt’s egotism, and depicted him passing them to Taft in 1908. Here, the “My Policies” tire has gone flat, symbolizing how Taft had allegedly not safeguarded Roosevelt’s legacy (at least in the estimation of the former president and other progressives).

The bigger obstacle for Taft in this cartoon is the brick wall upon which Roosevelt rests and the detour sign indicating that the road to the convention is the Rough Rider’s private property. The three men competed for the 1912 Republican presidential nomination throughout a raucous primary season and convention. It ended when most disputed delegates were awarded to Taft, allowing him to win renomination. An angry Roosevelt bolted the convention and ran for president on the Progressive Party ticket. In the general election, La Follette did not endorse Taft and harshly criticized Roosevelt.













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