Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
U.S. presidential election, 1940
The U.S. presidential election of 1940 was fought in the shadow of World War II, which had started the previous September. The continuing crisis in Europe made voters desire a strong and experienced president, so incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt broke with tradition and ran for a third term as president. This, in turn, would lead to the passage of the 22nd Amendment, limiting presidents to two terms.
Democratic Party nomination
Roosevelt dithered about whether to run for a third term, but there was strong Democratic support for it and he chose to accept the nomination.
Republican Party nomination
Former Democrat Wendell Willkie developed strong grassroots support for his candidacy, and after a long convention struggle triumphed over establishment candidates including Manhattan District Attorney Thomas E. Dewey and Ohio Senator Robert A. Taft.
Willkie campaigned against the New Deal and the government's lack of military preparedness. During the election, Roosevelt preempted the military issue by expanding military contracts. Willkie then reversed his approach and accused Roosevelt of warmongering. On election day Roosevelt received 27 million votes to Willkie's 22 million, and in the Electoral College, Roosevelt defeated Willkie 449 to 82.
The election was held on November 5, 1940.
|- | Wendell Lewis Willkie | Republican | New York | style="text-align:right;" | 22,305,198 | style="text-align:right;" | 44.8% | style="text-align:right;" | 82 | Charles L. McNary | Oregon | style="text-align:right;" | 82
|- | Norman Thomas | Socialist | New York | style="text-align:right;" | 116,410 | style="text-align:right;" | 0.2% | style="text-align:right;" | 0 | Maynard C. Krueger | Illinois | style="text-align:right;" | 0 (a) '
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