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51  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: September 06, 2014, 03:34:16 pm
#23: The Election of 1856


Coming in at number twenty-three is the election of 1856. This election is a pleasing campaign for all fans of the Civil War Era as well as those who revel in the immortal rivalry between the Democrats and Republicans. With a bleeding Kansas and a nation poised on the brink of Civil War as the backdrop to this historic election, election history buffs should find this contest a great treat.
The first reason why 1856 stands out as a good election is that the times that surrounded the campaign could not be any better. The year 1856 was a year of violence. "We are treading upon a volcano," grimly stated Senator Thomas Hart Benton. The volcano, Benton feared, would erupt at the slightest trouble and engulf the nation. The troubles of 1856 were long in coming. The major issue of sectionalism had been annoyed time and time again by the politicians in Washington. The overarching issue of slavery seemed to be the most perplexing of the sectional issues which threatened the unity of the United States. President Franklin Pierce, who had been overwhelmingly elected in 1852 over a hapless Winfield Scott, had tried to appease both sides during his presidency. Pierce vetoed unconstitutional internal improvement laws to appear Southern and Eastern Democrats. In 1854, with the backing of Northern Democrats and Senator Stephen Douglas, Pierce signed the Kansas-Nebraska Act. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 was a law introduced by Douglas, a Northerner, for Northern industrialists and farmers. The point of the law was to organize Kansas and Nebraska intro territories so that they could elect a legislature. The legislatures would then issue land grants to Northern farmers and those wishing to invest in a Transcontinental Railroad. Douglas himself owned land in Nebraska and was hoping a railroad through the land would make him a wealthy man. Countless Northern businessmen lobbied for the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

The South, however, was opposed. Southerners did not want the law because a transcontinental railroad would only diminish the usage of the Mississippi River and Southern ports such as Mobile and New Orleans. Pierce, whom wanted to unite the Democratic Party across the nation, and Douglas, whom desired the White House in 1856, introduced to the bill what seemed to be a fine compromise. Southerners desired an expansion of their political and economic power yet their entire political and economic system was based on chattel slavery. The expansion of this odious institution was strongly opposed by Northern capitalists for multiple reasons. First, the Western territories, won during the Mexican War, were lands fertile for free labor and free men. The territories, according to free soil Whigs and Democrats, were meant for free white farmers. Congressman David Wilmot expressed this idea clearly in his famous Wilmot Proviso. Second, Northerners did not want slaves to enter territories due to the fact that they would give the South extra votes in Congress under the 3/5th Compromise. Despite these arguments Pierce and Douglas introduced to the Northern-backed Kansas-Nebraska Act the stipulation of popular sovereignty. This term meant simply that those who moved to a territory were given the right to vote on the issue of slavery in the territory. This is why the term is sometimes referred to as "squatter sovereignty"- in reference to the right of squatters, settlers to decide the issue of slavery in the territory.

Senator Douglas and President Pierce saw the Kansas-Nebraska Act as the answer to all the sectional strife of the last several years. The North would get great deals of nearly free farm land and a transcontinental railroad. The South would get very little except the chance that they would be given new slave states. To Douglas slavery was not the problem, the slavery controversy was. The Little Giant of Illinois believed that the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which passed comfortably, would cement his path to the presidency. Senator Douglas was completely wrong on all fronts. The Kansas-Nebraska Act is a fine example of how the best laid political plans of mice and men can go wrong in an eic way. The creation of the Kansas and Nebraska Territories opened up a bloody battle for domination which sensational newspapermen in the East dubbed "Bleeding Kansas."
Free-soilers and pro-slavery settlers descended on Kansas Territory like a plague of locusts. Both sides were driven by a lust for political power and the blood of their enemies. Missouri slavers crossed the border and stuffed ballot boxes when the elections for the first Kansas Legislature occurred. More people voted in the elections than lived in the territory and the pro-slavery side won. The Lecompton Constitution was written with Kansas as a slave state. Anti-slavery forces, armed illegally with rifles from anti-slavery minister Henry Ward Beecher which arrived in boxes marked "Bible", formed their own government in Topeka and adopted a constitution admitting Kansas as a free state. A brief civil war broke out in Kansas. While it can be argued how bloody Bleeding Kansas really was, there is no denying that a crop of crazies were indeed raised amongst the wheat and sunflowers of the Prairie State. John Brown, a perennial bankrupt and deadbeat, declared that God had spoken with him and that he had commanded him to kill all pro-slavery settlers in Kansas. Brown, his sons and followers massacred unarmed men who did not even own slaves with broad swords at Pottawatomie Creek. The madness in Kansas added to the stress of the year.

Nothing, however, makes a finer backdrop to the 1856 election than the proceedings on the floor of the United States Senate in May 1856. Senator Charles Sumner, a stuffy yet brilliant barrister from Massachusetts, delivered a blistering speech for two days called "The Crime against Kansas." This feat of excessive hyperbole skewered the South for the practice of slavery and Sumner attacked South Carolina Senator Andrew F. Butler of South Carolina most fiercely. Sumer declared that Butler was the "Don Quixote of Slavery" and mocked him as choosing, "a mistress to whom he has made his vows, and who, though ugly to others, is always lovely to him...the harlot Slavery!" This line gained applause from the abolitionist press but the anger of Congressman Preston Brooks, the nephew of Senator Butler. On May 22, 1856, Brooks appeared on the floor of the United States Senate with a cane in hand and a mission of blood in his mind. "Mr. Sumner I have read your speech twice over carefully!" Brooks boldly declared to a stunned Sumner, at work at his desk. "It is a libel to South Carolina and to Mr. Butler, who is a relative of mine..." As Sumner sighed and looked up in his haughty manner, Brooks beat the Massachusetts radical over his thickly maimed head with a stout gutta-percha cane. Blood blinded Sumner as he fell from his desk, pulling it from the bolts on the floor. "Don't kill him!" cried the elderly statesman from Kentucky John J. Crittenden. Brooks guffawed: "I did not intend to kill him but I did intend to whip him!" Two New York Congressmen entered the chamber and held back the angry South Carolinian. This caning stunned the nation. Southern fire-eaters cheered Brooks and sent him new canes to beat Sumner with. "Hit him again!" cried the Richmond Whig, whom also lauded the beating as "a good deed." Northern presses were frightened by the beating. While an investigation chided Brooks the congressman resigned his post only to be reelected to it by a landslide in the special election. Northern Congressmen began to arm themselves and one even challenged Brooks to a duel in Canada, where the anti-dueling laws of the U.S. would not affect them. Brooks turned down the duel as was mocked by Northern press:

To Canada Brooks was asked to go,
To waste a pound of powder or so,
But he quickly answered, NO, No, No.
For I'm afraid, afraid, afraid,
Billy Brooks's afraid
52  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: Midwest Voting Booth: War Powers Amendment on: September 04, 2014, 08:58:25 am
Nay
53  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: August 28, 2014, 09:10:01 pm
1796  election, Part III

Hamilton realized that the only way he could get Pinckney elected president was to steal votes from Adams. To elevate Pinckney to the post of president and relegate Jefferson into the powerless position as vice-president was far too sweet a perspective for Hamilton to turn his scheming mind away from. The mischievous Hamilton began working behind the scenes to elect Pinckney over Adams by convincing Jefferson electors from South Carolina to cast their second votes for Pinckney. This would lead Adams to finish third and go home to Braintree a bitter former vice-president. Hamilton’s little scheme ultimately failed when one of the South Carolina electors chose to go public with the deal, but it set the stage for tension between Adams and Hamilton for the next four years. In Pennsylvania supposed Federalists electors did listen to Hamilton and bolted to Jefferson’s fold. In February 1797, Samuel Miles, Federalist electors from Pennsylvania, cast one of his votes in the Electoral College for Jefferson. “What!” cried an angry “Gazette of the United States”, “Do I choose Samuel Miles to determine for me whether John Adams or Thomas Jefferson shall be President? No! In choose him to act, bot think!” That is one of the greatest comments in the history of voting.

In the end Adams, at the age of sixty-one and boasting few functional teeth, was elected the second president but not by a wide margin. When the balloting was over, Adams won71 electoral votes to 68 for Jefferson, 59 for Pinckney and a mere 30 for the devious Burr. Republicans jeered Adams as “president by three votes” and Federalists let out a collective sigh of relief. It was assumed that the Hamilton-Washington economic system was safe for four more years. Despite the backstabbing and name calling one also has to applaud Adams and Jefferson for remaining friends during the struggle. Jefferson shook hands happily with Adams and declared that he, “has always been my senior.” The last great treat of the 1796 election is the fact that America ended up with a divided executive branch for the first and only time in its history. The Federalist President John Adams and Republican Vice-President Thomas Jefferson took the oath of office on March 4th, 1797, as Washington watched on. The nation saw a peaceful transfer of power.

The 1796 election was a wonderful contest. Two men of high skill and intelligence ran against each other as the world burned behind them. They stayed as friends as their two parties waged bitter partisan and personal warfare. The political environment of partisanship that Washington had wrought through his years at the helm was seen perfectly through the kaleidoscope of the 1796 presidential contest. The election of 1796 is a fantastic election with good characters, high drama and a flash finish ending. All students of early American history should study the election of 1796. It perfectly shows the challenges which Washington, Adams, Jefferson and Hamilton faced as the American Republic was awkwardly finding its place in the world.      
54  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: August 28, 2014, 09:09:32 pm
1796 election, Part II

Why such anger at a man who should have been a national hero? Had the frozen waters of the Delaware and the drunken Prussian blood of Trenton lost its staying power? The answer is a simple yes. One of the reasons why 1796 is a great election for election buffs is because it falls during one of the greatest moments in the history of human freedom. The French Revolution was still festering in Europe. The Council on Public Safety had fallen, Robespierre had his jaw and head removed, Marat was murdered and the Directory ruled in Paris. The Terror was over, yet the Hamiltonian Federalists had not forgotten it. Benjamin Franklin Bache hated Washington primarily for his perceived “treason” against France, America’s first ally. The Neutrality Act, declaring that America would not side with France or Britain in their never ending war over the Revolution, was viewed by the Republicans as a blanket endorsement of British economic and foreign policy goals. Jay’s Treaty, which Washington saw as his signal foreign policy achievement, was also hated by Jeffersonian Republicans due to the fact that it named Britain as America’s chief trading partner while refusing to mention the crisis of American impressment and slavery to the Royal Navy. Jefferson saw Washington as a puppet of Hamilton. Hamilton saw Jefferson as a radical Jacobin atheist who would not rest until the crimson blood of capitalists dripped from his agrarian collectivist fangs. “Washington’s Farewell Address,” remarked Congressman Fisher Ames of Massachusetts, “was a signal, like dropping of a hat, for the party races to start.”

1796 could not ask for a better cast of characters. The luminous names of the combatants for the presidential crown are something to behold. The Federalist Party presidential nomination was not a contest of wills, but the struggle of two men. Alexander Hamilton did not like John Adams, the rotund vice-president of the United States. The bald, almost toothless but highly intelligent Adams had served eight miserable years as vice-president. He was refused the honor to speak in the Senate, made a few tie breaking votes and twiddled his thumbs as he waited for his chance to win the leading role. Hamilton, whom Adams referred to as the “bastard brat”, far preferred Thomas Pinckney, former Governor of South Carolina. The son of one of America wealthiest women, Pinckney looked to Hamilton like the perfect puppet to keep him in power for four years more. Adams, “The Atlas of Independence”, proved himself to be more than a match for Hamilton’s machinations. While by no means as popular as Washington, John Adams was admired the nation over for his statesmanship during the Second Continental Congress and his eloquence as the first American Ambassador to the Court of St. James. Federalists electors around the nation seemed to agree on Adams for president and Pinckney for vice-president, much to the chagrin of Hamilton. Hamilton would not be beaten so easily and he would plot to deny the presidency to Adams.

The Republicans did not have a Judas-like figure such as Hamilton to throw mockey wrenches into their system. They instead had a marble man in the form of the imperfect Thomas Jefferson. A deist who denied the existence of miracles and invented swivel chairs in his spare time, Jefferson was the renaissance man of his time. They did, however, have Aaron Burr. The wily New Yorker Burr had bested Phillip Schuyler, Hamilton’s wealthy father-in-law, in a New York Senate election and had tried for the vice-presidency in 1792. The brilliant but abominable Burr had built a powerful Republican political network in New York and was being credited with the Jeffersonian comeback in the Empire State. The son of a president of Princeton University, Aaron Burr expected the Republicans to give him their nod for vice-president. Jefferson was supported by most Republicans but Burr was not. The New Yorker gave even his own Republican Governor George Clinton a terrible feeling. It seemed to Clinton that Burr wanted power too much and commented that Burr should remember what ambition had done to Lucifer. One can only imagine that Burr would not have minded having a kingdom in Hell; at least he would have a kingdom.

The first real presidential contest in American history is deliciously venomous. It is worth reading about to simply list the number of sins that Jefferson and Adams are accused of by the unfair and highly biased news publications of the day. Federalists painted Jefferson as the “candidate of guillotines.” The former Secretary of State was attacked as being an atheist, Jacobin and parlor Robespierre. Publications spread rumors that Jefferson was planning to outlaw religion and that his presidency would be marked by children’s heads impaled upon pikes and piles of Bibles being burned in the streets. Jefferson was a riotous revolutionary who would instill an American Terror to achieve an agricultural anarchy in his time. The Republican presses and pamphlets gave as well as they took. Adams was a highly unlikable figure. Short tempered, vain and egotistical, Adams had a dislike of the common people that entered the realm of elitism and bordered on monarchism. The Republican press mocked Adams’s lack of faith in the people and his preference for high handed government. Adams was attacked as being an “avowed friend of monarchy” who was preparing to name his sons as his “seigneurs and lords of this free country.” Jefferson, on the other hand, was the opposite of a king for the Federalists. He was a rabble rouser who was the leader of “cut-throats who walk in rags and sleep amidst filth and vermin.” One should comment that the comments made about young Obama voters in 2008 and 2012 were polite when compared to that previous statement. The viler the campaign the more fun it is to watch and 1796 is one of the most vile.  

Foreign policy is another great boon to the campaign. In October 1796 the Republican Party was embarrassed by Pierre Adet, the French ambassador to the United States. Monsieur Adet publicly denounced the Federalist foreign policy and proudly declared that French-American relations would improve under a Jefferson Presidency. While Republican campaign partisans quickly denounced and sitanced themselves from Adet the damage was done. Federalists reminded people that Jefferson had dined with the controversial Citizen Edmond-Charles Genêt, the French ambassador to the United States, during the French Revolution. Citizen Genêt had publicly called for America to war with Britain on behalf of Revolutionary France, had used American ports to build privateers from captured British ships and had used his position to raise an American Army to battle British troops in France. Genêt had been removed from his position when the Terror government had fallen and was ordered to return to France to face trial and execution. Washington had granted Genêt asylum in New York City and he had faded into supposed obscurity. The Adet issue brought the forgotten citizen back into the forefront and Federalists reminded the nation that Jefferson had honored the controversial Genêt with dinners and toasts. Jefferson had never disavowed his support of Genêt and now the Adams Campaign made sure the nation knew it. They loudly screamed that Adet’s statement was “an outrageous attempt on the dignity of an independent nation” and indignantly claimed that it proved that Jefferson was the tool of a foreign power. The Republican campaign never really recovered from Adet’s not very adept comments.

The final great moment of the campaign came during the weeks of balloting that marked the first several elections in American history. States voted for presidential electors in many different ways. Some elected them by popular votes, others had the governor appoint them to the position while others gave the job of selecting presidential electors to the state legislatures. Aaron Burr worked hard in New York City to win the state of New York for the Republican legislature candidates. He was not successful in 1796 with the wind of Washington’s legacy in his face. Burr would be back in four years and he would not fail. The failure of Republicans to win the legislatures in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey doomed Jefferson and Burr in terms of the election. However, salvation came in a strange form for Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton did not want to see Adams as the second president of the United States. Hamilton knew that Adams, a smart and independent man, would never allow his government to be manipulated by him. Hamilton needed Pinckney to be his willing puppet at the president’s chair. The fact that electors were allowed to vote for two candidates allowed Hamilton to try his hand at manipulating the presidential field in 1796.      
55  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: August 28, 2014, 09:08:24 pm
#24: The Election of 1796


Taking the number twenty-four spot is America’s third presidential campaign and first partisan throw down. The Washington Presidency- the deceiving lull of partisan agreement- was drawing to a conclusion. As a weary George Washington prepared to hand over the yoke of public office to a worthy successor the nation prepared for a battle royale between two of the Founding generations’ most accomplished statesmen. The development of political parties charge this election as nothing had since Franklin’s lightning rod.

The 1796 campaign arguably began as soon as George Washington started his second term as president. The “spirit of party” overtook Washington’s brilliant cabinet. Thomas Jefferson, his brilliant Secretary of State, and Alexander Hamilton, his ambitious Secretary of the Treasury and close friend, saw America as two different nations. Hamilton, who had risen from poverty to become the chief advisor to the nation’s first president, viewed America as an expansive industrial empire of finance, factories and high finance. His shining city on a hill was a modern city of bankers, lenders and merchants. Jefferson, the son of agriculture, saw this city as the city of Dis. Jefferson dreamed of a nation separated into small wards, a government small enough to drown in a washtub and an economy based on farmers, small shopkeepers and simple pleasures. The struggle between the Hamiltonian central authority and the Jeffersonian agricultural system smothered Washington, whom fancied himself “above” the business of party.

This is as if Washington was a non-partisan. The American Fabius was hardly above the political games of the 1790s. Firmly in the Hamiltonian camp, President Washington added a great deal to the partisan rancor of the time. His presidency established a powerful national bank, opened up a pro-British foreign policy in the form of Jay’s Treaty and brutally enforced federal taxation, such as the unfair Whiskey Act introduced with the hope that Hamilton and his cronies could skim money off the top. While Washington played innocent when Thomas Jefferson angrily resigned his cabinet position, there is no denial that he had played on Hamilton’s side in terms of all major foreign and domestic policy questions. Hamilton was the son Washington never had.

One could easily argue that the greatest moment of the 1796 election came from Washington himself. In September 1796 Washington, who had wanted to retire four years earlier, officially released his much lauded Farewell Address. The first president warned against the political party system his policies had nourished, urged no foreign entanglements while his treaties seemed to always favor Britain against France and applauded his centralized economic system as the proper vision for the nation’s future. Like all farewell addresses President Washington’s was highly partisan and political, even though he claimed that it was not meant in that spirit. Washington’s valedictory attracted praise from Federalists and anger from Republicans. Hamilton praised the farewell as a “reservoir of wisdom” and circulated copies of the speech in every major Federalist publication. Republicans saw the speech as nothing less than an unabashedly partisan Hamiltonian screed. The Republican newspaper Aurora was not shy in sharing their open feelings about Washington’s final public address.  Editor William Duane panned the Farwell as, “fraught with incalculable evils to your country” and declared: “Would to God [Washington] would have retired to a private station four years ago…” Duane’s negative review was a mere love tap when compared to what Benjamin Franklin Bache, Dr. Franklin’s grandson, said about Washington. Lightning Rod, Junior, wrote bluntly: “If ever a nation has been debauched the American nation has been debauched by Washington.” When it came to telling it like it is the grandson was just like his celebrated grandfather.  The irascible pamphleteer Thomas Paine, recently imprisoned in Revolutionary France, added to the assault on Washington's reputation by calling him a treacherous man unworthy of his fame as a military and political hero. Paine described Washington as an incompetent commander and a vain and ungrateful person. In a scathing open letter to President Washington in 1796, he wrote: “the world will be puzzled to decide whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles or whether you ever had any.”
56  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 1832 Presidential Election on: August 27, 2014, 03:43:24 pm
Jackson was the far preferable choice in this race.
57  Forum Community / Off-topic Board / Re: Do teachers these days still use overhead projectors? on: August 27, 2014, 10:42:51 am
I use one weekly. I just refuse to assimilate to the computer culture. I am sure one day the forces that be will take it from me.
58  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Teddy Kennedy, 5 years gone on: August 27, 2014, 10:00:59 am
I heard that Teddy was pretty good at bridge.
59  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Past Election What-ifs (US) / Re: 1948: MacArthur (R) vs. Truman (D) on: August 24, 2014, 08:15:50 pm


MacArthur/Halleck (R): 297 EV
Truman/Barkley (D): 196 EV
Thurmond/Wright (Dixiecrat): 38 EV

MacArthur runs a far more aggresive campaign than Dewey did in real life. He attacks Truman relentlessly on the issue of Soviet expansion and Truman responds belligerently. This serves to alienate some more liberal Democrats and thus Wallace would have done a little bit better than he did in real life. Wallace may break 2 million votes, thus finishing ahead of Thurmond in terms of popular votes but still fail to break into the electoral college. Wallace's percentage in New York would increase from a considerable 8% to 10-15% of the total  vote of the state. This is what tips New York to MacArthur and with it the election.

A President MacArthur from 1949-1953 creates a great deal of alternative paths to follow. Truman, in our timeline, intervened in the Korean War and did not rule out nuclear strikes. This was primarily for effect. However, President MacArthur may not have simply thought about usage of tactical nuclear weapons in Korea or to save Nationalist China. This creates a Cold War scenario which could become quite hot and quite soon.
60  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Past Election What-ifs (US) / 1948: MacArthur (R) vs. Truman (D) on: August 24, 2014, 02:05:43 pm
In 1948 General Douglas MacArthur was seriously talked about as a top tier presidential candidate. He made a half-hearted bid for the Republican nomination which got nowhere. He apparently hoped he would be drafted at the convention and by that time Governor Dewey had already dispatched of Taft and Stassen in the primary season.

What would have happened if MacArthur had seriously entered thwe 1948 Republican Primaries and bsted Dewey in the New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Oregon Primaries? MacArthur is nominated on the 1st balllot and paired with conservative Congressman Charles Halleck of Indiana as his running-mate. The war hero of the Pacific Theater declares that he and Halleck will run a strongly anti-communist campaign and attack Truman for cost of living issues.

President Truman is nominated as in our timleline and is still paired with the ancient Senator  Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky as his running-mate.

It's Truman vs. MacArtur three years earlier! Who wins this heavyweight battle for the White House? I'll make a map soon.
61  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: Opinion of right-to-work laws on: August 24, 2014, 01:42:13 pm
They are laws needed for prosperity to flourish.
62  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: August 22, 2014, 09:12:47 pm
Election of 1940, III

The election of 1940 saw a general election with two huge personalities. Wilkie and Roosevelt were charming, articulate and well read. However, the election is akin to a professional wrestling match. Both sides claim to hate one another when in the end it does not really matter who wins. Ironically, Wilkie and FDR promised that they would not send any American boys into a foreign war. Wilkie, who had only won the Republican nomination because of his support for intervention on the side of Britain, tried to appeal to the Taft wing by claiming he was never pro-intervention and declaring that the New Deal, which he supported in 1933, had failed to restore the economic growth of the 1920s. These talking points would have meant something coming from the mouth of Taft, Dewey, Hoover, Charles Lindbergh or Joseph Martin. These talking points from Wilkie simply came off as forced. He did not believe them, they were simply lip service.

FDR could hardly believe his luck in running against Wilkie. “You know Wilkie would have made a good Democrat,” FDR told Hopkins in October 1940. FDR’s campaign was not that active. While Wilkie traveled over 34,000 miles and thirty-four states and made over 500 speeches, FDR did relatively little campaigning. On September 3rd Roosevelt pulled off the coup of the campaign when he issued an executive order issuing the British destroyers for long-term leases on some bases in the Caribbean. FDR attacked the Republicans (“Martin, Barton and Fish”) for opposing defense bills in the 1930s. Wilkie, who was no fan of the conservative Congressman Martin, Barton and Fish, had no real way of responding to Roosevelt. After all, he supported intervention in the war. His only attack on Roosevelt was that he had not spoken to Congress before making the decision. This was a good point but running on the Constitution is not way to win a presidential election.

Wilkie did not have much to offer the nation that Roosevelt had not already given them. This led his campaign to focus on some trivial issues that diminished the campaign. In October 1940 Wilkie, flailing for a good attack strategy, attacked Roosevelt for appointing his son Eliot as a captain in the Army Air Corp. Wilkie mocked Eliot as an “overnight captain” and questioned how effective an army led by such men would be in combatting the armies of Germany. FDR, as always, had a ready reply. “I wanna be a captain too!” Republicans jeered, but no one realty listened. Wilkie attempted to question FDR’s health by pointing out his lack of campaigning. When FDR started a train tour in October 1940 Wilkie mocked this as a “show of strength.” Wilkie simply did not have much to offer as a general election candidate. The big money backers he had for the GOP primary seemed to mean nothing in the general election.

The election of 1940 is best remembered as the election in which a president won a third term. Yes, the Republicans tried to make this an issue. Juvenile Republicans mocked Democrats as “Third Termites” and asked, “Maybe Roosevelt is all you deserve?” Democrats shot back, “Rather a third termer than a third rater.” When one looks at the fact that the world was burning in 1940 this nit picking tit for tat seems to shrink from the world stage. Thus one may ask, “Why include this election as number twenty-five?” It was not close. FDR won by over five million votes and took 449 electoral votes to Wilkie’s anemic 82. The candidates had so much in common that after the election FDR hired Wendell Wilkie as a good will ambassador. Wilkie befriended Eleanor Roosevelt and the First Lady of the World attended Wilkie’s funeral in 1944. There seemed to be so little difference in the general election. Why make this race number twenty-five?

It comes down to the British Cabal. The fact that Stephenson was able to manipulate a convention as well as he did is incredible. His story is told by the man himself in his 1976 work “A Man Called Intrepid” and it is incredible to read. The GOP Convention, and the Democratic one, are marked by high drama and carnival. Intrigue at the level of an Ian Fleming novel can be seen in June 1940 in both Philadelphia and Chicago. The election of 1940 is a fascinating election due to the fact that it shows how cool professionals can manage human emotion and politics like a well-oiled corporation. The general election was the FDR Show. A nation, fearing war at any minute, was not going to remove the tested FDR for the untried Wilkie. It is human nature to turn to what we know when we are scared. In a time of peace Wilke may well have scraped by with his big money backers against another Democrat. FDR was not that Democrat. The election of 1940 is a race in which the opening outshone the ending. It is an historic race and a fun one to read about if one revels in behind the scenes machinations. It well deserves its spot on the list.   

63  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: August 22, 2014, 09:12:12 pm
Election of 1940, II

Backed by wealthy internationalist such as Oren Root, Junior, and Fortune editor Russell Davenport, Wilkie entered the 1940 campaign with no political experience but the money and support of the British Cabal. The pro-war lords of the press, such as Henry Luce of Time, and wealthy New York bankers tossed their money behind the pro-intervention Wilkie. The “We Want Wilkie” boom of 1940 is something the Koch Brothers wish they could replicate. Wilkie went from being an embittered corporate attorney to a front-runner for the 1940 presidential nomination almost overnight. Despite the fact that less than 2% of Republican voters backed Wilkie in public opinion polls in 1939 by June 1940 Wilkie polled second to only the unstoppable Dewey. Money talks, even if we would rather be forever in blue jeans. Stephenson, a man named Intrepid, made duplicate tickets for the Republican Convention and handed them out to pro-Wilkie Republicans. Cash gifts were offered to iffy delegates from the American South. The Union Jack was not flown over the Wilkie Headquarters but it might as well have been.

The battle for the Republican Presidential nominee was a thrill ride. The eventual candidate was not. Dewey led on the first ballot and Taft was at his heels. The epic struggle between these two Republican heavyweights would be played out again in 1948 but 1940 was the first struggle. Just like when Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston, the first fight is always the better one. At the 1940 Republican National Convention itself, keynote speaker Harold Stassen, the Governor of Minnesota, announced his support for Willkie and became his official floor manager. The future perennial candidate was the “Wonderboy” governor of Minnesota in 1940 and his endorsement of Wilkie carried a lot of weight, especially in the mostly pro-Taft Midwest. By the fourth ballot all of the British machinations had worked. Wilkie took the lead and he never looked back. Wilkie, in all fairness, was not simply helped by Intrepid and the Brits. He was greatly helped by the fact that Dewey and Taft’s forces disliked each other so much they refused to join forces. A “Stop Wilkie” dream ticket of Dewey for president and Taft for vice-president was rejected by Mr. Republican Taft himself and Dewey simply could not muster the power to win with Taft pulling him down. On the 6th ballot Wilkie took the nomination. The drama was over in Philadelphia and the internationalist bankers and lawyers had won. The Republicans adopted a platform written by the ward bosses, but their presidential nominee was the big show. He was paired with the crusty, conservative Senator Charles McNary of Oregon, the minority leader in the Senate. McNary was conservative on every issue except, ironically, public power. McNary and Wilkie did not get along well and probably had the most distant relationship of any national ticket for the presidency.

The Republican struggle was not equaled by the Democratic campaign. Yes, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt claimed that he would not seek a third term unless he was “drafted” by the delegates. Much like the “overnight” Wilkie boom the “spontaneous” Roosevelt draft had to be skillfully managed. Roosevelt did not want to give up the presidency. He had grand designs on the post-war world and he wanted to be in the room when the world was rebuilt. Harry Hopkins, lauded as the Assistant President by the press, managed the campaign from Chicago. Roosevelt was opposed for his third term by Vice-President John Nance Garner, Postmaster General James Farley and Maryland Senator Millard Tydings. These liliputians were hardly annoying gnats to a political colossus like Roosevelt. However, Roosevelt had to face the memory of a marble man greater than he: George Washington. The great George Washington had set up a two term tradition and even FDR was frightened by the precedent by the primary president. Harry Hopkins, working from the bathroom of his suite in Chicago, manipulated the 1940 Democratic Convention in the Windy City with the talent of a master puppeteer. Senator Alban Barkley of Kentucky, who wanted the vice-presidential nomination, made sure that in his speech as chairman of the convention he mentioned Roosevelt’s name loudly. As soon as Barkley mentioned FDR Chicago Mayor Ed Kelly signaled for one of his cronies to begin yelling loudly into a microphone: “We want Roosevelt!” Barkley then played up his part like a master thespian: “The President has never had and has not today any desire or purpose to continue in the office of President…he wishes in all earnestness and sincerity to make it clear that all delegates are free to vote for any candidate.” As was expected, Mayor Kelly had his boys begin shrieking, “We want Roosevelt! The party wants Roosevelt!” Yes, the well-orchestrated, minutely planned spontaneous draft worked like a charm. Roosevelt was easily nominated and threatened to not accept the nomination if the socialistic Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace was not nominated for vice-president. FDR was nominated for president and he got Wallace for veep. FDR had met with William Stephenson and said he was proudly an agent for intervention. The British Cabal had pulled off the greatest coup in the history of American politics. Wilkie and Roosevelt were two-heads on the same interventionist coin. Intrepid was one great agent.
64  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: August 22, 2014, 09:11:22 pm
#25: The Election of 1940



1940 lands at number twenty-five on the list. In the year of the Blitzkreig and the Battle of Britain President Franklin Delano Roosevelt defied history and won a third term as president of the United States. This feat, one may argue, should have placed this election in the top ten. After all, this impressive feat is to be respected. The election of 1940 is an election that deserves respect, no doubt. It offers the presidential election watcher some wonderful theatrics. However, the overall story arch of the election is affected by a cast of characters who are interesting but lack originality.

The casting of the election of 1940 is one that seems to have been botched by the muses of history. This is truly disappointing when given the historic scenery of the world stage. In 1940 Europe was engulfed in fiery combat and Asia was being conquered by the marching armies of the Empire of the Rising Sun. Two days after the French Republic was conquered by Nazi Germany the Republican Convention opened in Philadelphia. The United States lingered in the thralls of the Roosevelt Recession of 1938-1940 and the Republicans tasted victory. The Republicans had a cadre of decent candidates. These are candidates who could have potentially made the 1940 race close and far more competitive than it turned out to be.

The best GOP candidate by far in 1940 was Manhattan District Attorney Thomas Dewey. Dewey (who inspired the DC comic “Mr. District Attorney”) was one of the most admired public officials in the United States and polls showed he would run a close race with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the untouchable incumbent. Dewey, who was only 38-years old, was mocked by a frightned “Big Jim” Farley as haiving, “Thrown his diaper into the ring.” Dewey was a real threat to the Democratic hold on the White House. An internationalist who was not a hawk, Dewey embraced certain aspects of the New Deal and was a national hero for putting away mob leaders Charles “Lucky” Luciano and Louis Lempke. Dewey was the prototype gang-buster and he would have proven a strong opponent for any Democrat in 1940. Dewey’s main opponents came in the form of Senator Robert Taft, Senator Arthur Vandenberg and media mogul Frank Gannett. Taft and Vandenberg assaulted Dewey from the right. Both frustrated isolationists, Taft and Vandenberg railed against an “international cabal” dedicated to plunging America into the stormy tempest of Europe’s war. They would not be too far from the truth.

Patrick J. Buchanan has described the election of 1940 as one of the greatest “false choices” in American history. Buchanan speaks the truth and the farce of the 1940 Republican Convention does a great job showing this fact. The only real great drama of the 1940 election occurred behind the scenes in Philadelphia. The British desperately wanted the United States involved in World War II and hired William Stephenson (codename “Intrepid”) to meddle in U.S. public affairs to influence the American political campaign of 1940. The goal of the British Cabal was simple: make sure that only pro-intervention, pro-war candidates were nominated by the two major parties. This made Dewey unacceptable. Dewey had not made a single speech calling for the United States to enter the war on the side of the British Empire. Taft and Vandenberg were openly hostile to intervention. Former President Herbert Hoover- running an ivory tower campaign for the nomination from his perches in Stanford and the Waldorf Towers- had given a stinging speech against American intervention in the war in Europe. The British Cabal under Stephenson threw their support behind a former Democrat: Wendell Wilkie.

Wilkie both makes and tampers the election of 1940 in terms of excitement. The former Democratic Wall Street attorney and utilities executive was hardly the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination when the election season opened. Wilkie was the son of an Indiana farmer who had been given an important name in the theory that he would live up to it. While in college Wilkie donned a red sweater in solidarity with Bolsheviks and applauded communist journalist John Reed’s book “Ten Days that Shook the World” as the greatest piece of literature in the English language. Wilkie eventually moved beyond his youthful indiscretion with Marxism and became a millionaire corporate attorney. He represented several Hollywood film production companies as corporate counsel and went on to head up the one thing a Bolshevik would hate even more than a tsar: a private power company. Wilkie left FDR, whom he had voted for in 1932 and 1936, over the Tennessee Valley Authority and the government-created monopoly in power production that directly competed with his own privately held firm. The New Deal created a lot of Republicans and Wilkie was one of them. By 1940 he had gone from a Bolshevik to a social democrat to a New Dealer to a Republican. No one should ever comment that Mitt Romney underwent the greatest political facelift of any Republican presidential nominee. When Wilkie arrived in Philadelphia he was greeted by Senator James E. Watson of Indiana. A Taft conservative, Watson did not want his fellow Hoosier Wilkie nominated. “Jim,” the very charming Wilkie asked, “Can’t you be for me?” “No Wendell,” Watson replied, “You are just not my type of Republican.” “I admit I used to be a Democrat,” Wilkie answered. “Used to be?” a skeptical Watson rejoined. “You’re a good Methodist,” Wilkie replied, “don’t you believe in conversion?” Watson sighed and replied: “Yes Wendell. If the town whore truly repented and joined the church I would personally welcome her. I would lead her up to the front pew, but I’d be damned if I’d ask her to lead the choir the first night.”    
65  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: August 2014 Federal Election - At-Large Senate on: August 22, 2014, 03:25:45 pm
1. JohannesCalvinusLibertas (JCL)
2. LuminevonReuental
3. Clarence
4. Mechaman
66  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: Midwest Voting Booth: The Bicameral Birthing Amendment on: August 21, 2014, 09:26:20 pm
Aye
67  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: MW: August 2014 Special Gubernatorial Election on: August 21, 2014, 09:25:43 pm
1. Write-in: Cris
2. LeBron FitzGerald
68  General Discussion / History / Re: Rooney's Presidential Election Rankings on: August 16, 2014, 10:30:15 pm
Are you going to continue this?
I'm sorry I've not updated this much. I have been overwhelmed by work and now with school starting I have even more to do as a teacher. I will try to update this before the week is out. I have not forgotten so take heart! Smiley
69  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: which president had the better foreign policy? on: August 11, 2014, 06:53:35 pm
Obama is probably as good as we can get to a realistic American foreign policy. I would rather that our nation entertain a non-interventionist strategy but that is not possible. I like how President Obama refuses to use American soldiers in a far flung capacity, uses drones to do a lot of the heavy lifting and seems to think that working with other nations is a good thing.

Bush, on the other hand, broke the whole world. Obama is better by far.
70  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: August 11, 2014, 06:47:48 pm
Citadel of Sin: The John Looney Story by Richard Hamer and Roger Ruthart. This is a fine work of local history. It tells the dark story of John Patrick Looney, the crime boss of Rock Island, Illinois. I visit the Quad City area monthly and it is amazing to learn about a gangster who ran his own newspaper, held a law degree and wrote a play about Irish freedom fighter Robert Emmett. If you have ever seen the film Road to Perdition you know who Looney is. He was played by Paul Newman and the charterer was named John Rooney. The film does not do a great job telling the historical truth of the John Looney story but it is still a great movie. 
71  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Your governors during your lifetime on: August 08, 2014, 06:59:40 pm
Terry Branstad for pretty much all of it. That guy has some staying power.
72  General Politics / Individual Politics / Re: 2012 Presidential Election on: August 03, 2014, 09:32:41 pm
I voted for Gary Johnson and would do so today. Gary Johnson would have made a fine president.
73  General Politics / Book Reviews and Discussion / Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? on: August 03, 2014, 02:09:47 pm
A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred by George Will. This is a charming, informative little history of the Cubs and the great city of Chicago. Chicago has been run down so much these last few years it is nice to read a book that reminds me how much the Empire City of the Great Lakes means to America, it's culture and it's history. Also, it put forward some neat theories on Babe Ruth's famous "Called Shot" in 1932 and also the Zangara's attempted assassination of FDR. A fun read and highly recommended.
74  Forum Community / Forum Community / Re: Any politicians in your family? on: August 01, 2014, 08:07:15 am
My oldest brother was the Democratic county attorney for one of Iowa's north-central counties. He is running for his old post again this November. My second elder brother ran for Bonaparte, Iowa, city council in 2011. He lives in a tent and writes religious books and tracts. Obviously he was not elected. 
75  Atlas Fantasy Elections / Voting Booth / Re: July 2014 Federal Special Election - At-Large Senate on: August 01, 2014, 08:04:24 am
1. JCL
2. Spiral
3. Poirot
4. Mechaman
5. Matt from VT
6. WrathOfTheGods
7. Dr. Cynic
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