In 1940, the Republican party was in disarray. A confused mixture of internationalists, New Dealers, isolationists, and minimal government types, the Republican party had no real direction, no coherent philosophy, and no real platform.
FDR’s approval rating hovered around 60%, and he was running for his third term. The Republicans figured that they would nominate Wendell Wilkie, a New Deal Republican who was little different from FDR in policy. Since they were so alike, the Wilkie campaign focused on trying to beat FDR in a personality contest. However, FDR had a compliant press, and no one was going to beat FDR in a personality contest.
There are many parallels to this year: The Republican party is in disarray, and they are appointing an Obama clone as his opponent (Romney). This will be a personality contest, which Obama may well win, to which I say: good. If I am going to have to face four more years of a tax and spend Keynesian in the Whitehouse, I would just assume that he has an unfriendly congress to deal with.