In the Wall Street Journal, CBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield reviews the new book “Theodore Roosevelt, the Progressive Party, and the Transformation of American Democracy” by Sidney Milkis.
Greenfield writews that of all the presidential campaigns in U.S. history, he would have most liked to cover “the Roosevelt-Wilson-Taft-Debs fight” of 1912. That year, Roosevelt’s Progressive Party “suffered from the dominance of middle-class and affluent reformers — forerunners of today’s ‘limousine liberals’ –who were only weakly connected to organized labor, immigrants or blacks. Still, Roosevelt won 27% of the vote and carried six states. No third party has done nearly so well since.” Most of the rest of the review is devoted to the impact of the Progressive Party and figures like Hiram Johnson and Robert La Follette on policy.