As William H. Taft began to abandon some of the progressive policies implemented by Roosevelt, he lost support from the progressive faction of the Republican party. The strength of Taft loyalists, however, meant that the incumbent president was still nominated to run again. In reaction to Taft’s more conservative standpoint, Roosevelt returned to public politics and started the Progressive (Bull Moose) party, effectively splitting, disrupting and weakening the Republican party. The Democrats, meanwhile, had found a convincing and talented candidate in the progressive, Woodrow Wilson. The election soon became a battle of progressivism between Roosevelt and his ‘New Nationalism’, and Wilson and his ‘New Freedom’ programme. Roosevelt survived an assassination attempt that briefly halted campaigning, but Wilson went on to win with 435 electoral votes, but only 42 per cent of the popular vote.
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