The U.S. presidential election of 1940 proved in hindsight to be one of the most important events in U.S./C.S. relations. The election became a referendum on the Richmond Agreement, and was a critical moment in the lead-up to the Second Great War.
Smith arrived in office in 1937 with a series of issues, domestic and foreign, that had mounted since the end of the Great War, and that none of his predecessors had successfully resolved. These included Mormon unrest, the ongoing economic depression, and tensions with the newly militant Confederacy under PresidentJake Featherston. Territories taken from the C.S. at the end of the Great War had grown increasingly restive as Featherston and the Freedom Party took hold in the C.S.
Deciding the substantial costs of continued occupation were no longer worth it, Smith reintegrated Utah. In 1939, Smith met with Featherston and hammared out the Richmond Agreement, which called for plebiscites in Kentucky, Houston, and Sequoyah. The agreement in place, although dependent upon Smith's victory the following year, Smith launched a campaign based on the premise that he'd kept the country out of war.
Democrat Robert Taft campaigned against the plebiscites, arguing that the U.S. had paid for the territories with a great deal of blood and treasure. Taft also promised a much harder line on Featherston and the C.S.
As in previous elections, the Republican Party did run a token candidate in the form of Wendell Willkie, who proved inconsequential.
The extremely popular Franklin D. Roosevelt made the controversial decision to seek a third term, in defiance of long-standing Presidential tradition. John Nance Garner had apparently expected Roosevelt to step aside and endorse Garner's candidacy for president. When Roosevelt did not do so, Garner mounted a primary challenge. He was handily defeated and Roosevelt replaced him on his ticket with Henry Wallace. Roosevelt-Wallace then easily defeated a Republican ticket of Wendell Willkie and Charles McNary. Willkie took advantage of his alliterative name to use the rather lame slogan "Win With Wendell," which was referenced as an inside joke in Southern Victory.