This is the 52nd presidential election. The 33rd was held in 1916. Woodrow Wilson's domestic record had many pluses -- the Federal Reserve Act, the Federal Trade Commission, an anti-trust act, child-labor laws -- but many progressives believed he had not gone far enough. At any rate the biggest issue was not domestic but international. World War I was raging in Europe. Wilson ran with the slogan "He kept us out of war!"
Republicans reunited after their 1912 split and nominated Supreme Court Justice Charles Evans Hughes, whose political views on most issues were unknown. Both candidates campaigned vigorously. The popular and electoral vote was the closest in years. Wilson carried California by 3,400 votes and its 13 electoral votes were the difference between winning and losing.
A month after he was reinaugurated, he declared that "the right is more precious than peace" and asked Congress to declare war on the German Empire, which it did.