Watch Willkie Wilt

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White and blue text on a button divided half blue and half white.

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Wendell Willkie was the Republican nominee for the 1940 presidential election. He was a dark horse candidate because he did not run in the primaries, and he had been a registered Democrat until 1939. In 1940, the Republican Party was split over the war in Europe, and Willkie campaigned as an outsider. He found favor with many Republicans disaffected with the party establishment, and eventually got the nomination after six convention votes. Fans in the balconies chanted, “We want Willkie!” Democrat opponents thought Willkie was a johnny-come-lately and derided his popularty with “Watch Willkie Wilt.” The Democrats were right. Willkie lost by a slight margin to Franklin Delano Roosevelt who enjoyed an unprecedented third term.


TEHS - Quarterly Archives. (2020). Retrieved from

Wendell Willkie. (2020). Retrieved from

Catalog ID PO0710