Weather/Political Trivia

Hurricane Sandy is not only making weather news, but also creating political headaches with only a week to go before Election Day.

Let us consider another election and the impact weather had on it–or nearly did.

President Woodrow Wilson might have lost his reelection bid in 1916. In one of the closest elections in history, Democratic incumbent Wilson defeated Republican Charles Evans Hughes and went on to take the United States into World War I in 1917. Wilson won the state of California by less than 2,000 votes on a day when heavy snow kept Democratic turnout low in mountain counties. Had the storm been worse, Hughes would have won the state and the national election. America probably would have entered the war anyway; Wilson had been regarded as the peace candidate. But as historian Paul F. Boller Jr. said, Wilson “made world pacification. . .the primary objective of American foreign policy,” a position that has shaped our history and the world’s—ever since.

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