(33.) JAMES MIDDLETON COX (1870-1957)
Democrat Cox/Franklin D. Roosevelt
Defeated by Republican Warren G. Harding/Calvin Coolidge, 1920
Cox began his public life as a reporter, and then was a private secretary for a congressman. He bought the Democratic Dayton News, borrowing money to finance it. His paper was a reform sheet, especially interested in school systems and contributing much to improvements, which spread to other communities.
Cox spent four years in Congress, but told himself, “Back to your newspaper, Jimmy Cox, you have no business in politics.” He was chosen, however, to contest Warrant G. Harding for the presidency and lost.
One writer said, “James Cox was the right man running at the wrong time.” Another sums up a parallel between Cox and Greeley, in that both ran against the two men who proved to be the weakest presidents we have had.
Cox unequivocally endorsed the League of Nations. His actions as a president would have been diametrically opposed to those of Harding. As Wilson put it, no matter what Warren Harding had proclaimed in the campaign, when he once got into office he “lapsed into sullen and selfish isolation.”