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Niall Ferguson

A Craving for Normalcy Spells the End of a Populist Presidency

There are nine reasons Trump may still win, but none seems likely.

Woodrow Wilson and Warren Harding. Normal?

Woodrow Wilson and Warren Harding. Normal?

Photographer: Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive via Getty Images

“America’s present need,” the candidate declared, “is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy … My best judgment of America’s need is to steady down, to get squarely on our feet, to make sure of the right path. Let’s get out of the fevered delirium.”

The candidate was the Republican Warren G. Harding and the date was May 14, 1920. Six months later, Harding won a landslide victory over the Democratic nominee, James M. Cox, winning 60% of the popular vote and 404 Electoral College votes.