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Author Topic: Oh, Franklin Roosevelt. What potential he had: No FDR in politics  (Read 6699 times)
Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #75 on: October 02, 2012, 06:58:25 am »
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      Late September through October, 1943: Wall Street businessman Wendell Wilkie announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination for the Presidency once again.  Manhattan borough President Thomas E. Dewey (who in this TL ran for borough president in 1942 because he knew Governor Solomon was invincible) is the next to declare his candidacy. 
      Next, the Democrats start to enter the race, with Michigan Senator Arthur Vandenberg becoming the first to declare his candidacy after former Vice-President Al Smith rules out any presidential run on account of his age.  All eyes turn to Ohio Senator Robert Taft, who again appears mum about a presidential bid, with many once again seeing him as unwilling to risk any political capital to run for an office which he can't win.  Next, Georgia Senator Richard Russell, Jr. once again declares his candidacy.  North Carolina Senator Josiah W. Bailey enters the race soon afterward. 
      Washington Governor Clarence D. Martin enters the Republican race next.  Soon, eyes turn to the party's young, rising star, Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen.  He is best known for overcoming a massive Socialist tide in 1942 to win the gubernatorial office in 1942, after narrowly loosing it in 1938.  While he appears unlikely to enter the race himself, his endorsement becomes very sought-after. 
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #76 on: October 02, 2012, 08:05:05 am »
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      November, 1943: Left-leaning Republican Senator Harry Truman, of Missouri, announces his candidacy for President.  Having made headlines for himself in the Senate blasting big businesses and monopolies, he appears to be the only Republican or Democrat with any hope of beating the popular President Thomas.  One crucial Achilles Heel which holds him back, however, is his well-documented connections to the political machine of Tom Pendergast.  However, his liberal inclanations earn him the endorsement of North Dakota Senator Gerald Nye.  His insurgent campaign picks up speed very quickly.  He then wins the endorsement of Governor Stassen.  
      Former House Speaker Clarence Senior announces a primary challenge to President Thomas, calling him a "revisionist warmonger." However, he appears to have little-to-no chance of accomplishing anything besides dividing the party.  
      Vandenberg is the clear Democratic front-runner, though this status is threatened by the "will he or won't he?" speculation about Taft.  In contrast to the Republican field, where ideological differences between the candidates are well-documented, the Democratic one appears to be almost identical.  Regional elements come into play, as Vandenberg campaigns as the "candidate who can expand our party past our Southern base."  Never taken seriously due to his age, Senator Bailey drops out before the primaries even begin.  
      December, 1943: A Supreme Court ruling overturns the previous rulings against the constitutionality of bank and steel nationalizations.  Meanwhile, as the Republican race heats up, Dewey attacks Truman as a product of patronage.  Truman responds by blasting Dewey's "inexperience," saying "he was an inexperienced candidate in 1940, and he's had a chance to get some experience since then.  And well, he decided to take a very good shot at getting some experience that would qualify him for the White House.  Aiming with skill, with patience, and with practice, he aimed, boy did he aim.  He took a shot, and boy, he sure got the Bronze that he was aiming for!" The crowd bursts into applause and laughter.  One man in the audience yells,
"Give 'em hell, Harry!"  
"I'm doing it right now!" Truman replies.  
"He could've run for Governor.  He decided to run for the president of a borough.  He could've run for mayor in 1941, but he was afraid of "Little Flower" La Guardia.  He could have run for Governor in 1942, but he was afraid of Solomon!  So now he's running for President of the United States again, because he's the President of the borough of Manhattan!  He must figure he can be President of anything!" 
« Last Edit: October 02, 2012, 08:33:40 am by Peternerdman »Logged



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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #77 on: October 02, 2012, 07:16:27 pm »
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      Borough President Dewey fires back the next day. 
      "Senator Truman does not know Manhattan, quite clearly!  The borough of Manhattan has a higher population than the state of Washington, and no one questions if that population gives Governor Martin enough executive experience.  And to be accused by Senator Truman of lacking executive experience is very interesting!  Not only does he have none!  But every political position I have held, I fought for, and won fairly.  Senator Truman is in the Senate because Tom Pendergast handed him the race on a silver platter!  He even asked Mr. Pendergast if he could run for a seat in the House of Representatives, but Pendergast had already promised it to someone else!  He's known as the "Senator from Pendergast," he ran because Pendergast wanted him to, and if he's President, you can bet he'll remember that he owes it to Pendergast!"
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #78 on: October 03, 2012, 03:58:47 pm »
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      As the Dewey/Truman catfight rages, the Democratic race is hit by a big surprise.  Businessman and former White House economic adviser Joseph P. Kennedy announces his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President.  Kennedy is known for having advised President Garner to sponsor some relief efforts while the latter was in office, and having quit due to the President's refusal to consider them.  He is also expected to be bogged down by his comments that the European front of the war was "not about democracy," and all eyes will be on how he explains or gets past the issue.  While these are the first issues that come up, there is a far bigger "elephant in the room": his Roman Catholicism will make him very unattractive as a candidate in the South, which is now the Democrats' core region.  Ironically, were it not for religion, he'd be quite popular in the South, where support for social programs and stimulus projects is high among poor whites.  While anti-Catholic bigotry is lower in the North, Kennedy's fiscal stances put him at odds with the much more fiscally conservative Northern Democrats.  As his son John would later say, "Everywhere he went, there was something that hurt him.  It was just different wherever you went." 


Kennedy's candidacy certainly does add some fire to the previously-dull Democratic race, and lays the foundations of a future multi-party political dynasty. 
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« Reply #79 on: October 03, 2012, 04:37:48 pm »
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Rooting for Truman to win the Republican nomination and take the country to a more sane stance, though of course not quite where I'd want it. Tongue As well, should be good for handling WWII and the aftermath. And I'm guessing since both parties are rivals of the Socialists, there'd be less a chance of Truman allowing anything close to "commie infiltration" of the State department.

As for the Dems, Kennedy makes it interesting and it'd be cool to see him head or get the back end of a ticket. What is Vandenburg's stance on the war?
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #80 on: October 03, 2012, 05:22:21 pm »
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Rooting for Truman to win the Republican nomination and take the country to a more sane stance, though of course not quite where I'd want it. Tongue As well, should be good for handling WWII and the aftermath. And I'm guessing since both parties are rivals of the Socialists, there'd be less a chance of Truman allowing anything close to "commie infiltration" of the State department.

As for the Dems, Kennedy makes it interesting and it'd be cool to see him head or get the back end of a ticket. What is Vandenburg's stance on the war?
He was an isolationist before the war, but quickly turned into an internationalist after it started. 
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« Reply #81 on: October 03, 2012, 05:47:07 pm »
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      At the end of the year, attention comes back to the bank and steel nationalizations.  Joseph Kennedy calls it an "outrage, a validation of statism, and potentially a pathway to overturning other liberties."  Dewey calls it "a political ruling by a court which is supposed to be above politics." He says that "anyone who knows anything about the law and legal affairs will tell you that this is illegal." Wilkie calls it "a destructive blow to private enterprise, and dirt on the cause of noble, social justice-oriented, and fair minded businessmen." Vandenburg and Russell both vow that they will privatize the institutions "on day one" of their presidencies." Controversy is caused when Senator Truman says in an interview that he won't privatize US Steel until the war is over," saying "public ownership of the steel industry is wrong, but also necessary until peacetime, when we won't need to be directing its operations." Dewey pounces on the opportunity, saying Truman "has proven that he is not a capitalist.  He believes the government is better fit, in wartime, to manage the economy than the private sector."  
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 05:49:37 pm by Peternerdman »Logged



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« Reply #82 on: October 03, 2012, 06:49:36 pm »
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      After Allied Commander Douglas MacArthur rules out a run due to his war duties, Dewey begins to win the early primaries.  Wilkie backs out after a poor showing of 8% in New Hampshire.  A major blow comes for Truman when he, a Midwestern populist, narrowly looses the state of Wisconsin, and soon Illinois.  Martin drops out and endorses Dewey.  Wilkie then endorses him too.  
      On the Democratic side, Kennedy appears to be the frontrunner after winning New Hampshire, but looses Wisconsin and Illinois to Vandenberg.  Realizing that it is crucial to sure up delegates in the North and West, he campaigns heavily to win the remaining Northern primaries.  Russell decides to drop out and endorse Vandenberg, giving him the crucial bump he needs.  Kennedy surprisingly looses Pennsylvania (by 53 votes), and after that, it becomes clear that Vandenberg is the favorite.  
      Thomas consistently wins each primary by a landslide, and Senior is little on the minds of most voters.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2012, 07:39:29 pm by Peternerdman »Logged



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« Reply #83 on: October 03, 2012, 07:39:44 pm »
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Link to the primary schedule. Would love to see a primary map. Can't find one for the Dems though. Ourcampaigns used to have them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States)_presidential_primaries,_1944
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #84 on: October 03, 2012, 07:50:52 pm »
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Link to the primary schedule. Would love to see a primary map. Can't find one for the Dems though. Ourcampaigns used to have them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republican_Party_(United_States)_presidential_primaries,_1944
I know.  I might get around to a primary map later, but for right now, I'm gonna press on.  Remind me if I don't do it by the end of the week. 
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« Reply #85 on: October 03, 2012, 09:24:44 pm »
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Vandenburg/Kennedy '44!
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #86 on: October 04, 2012, 06:56:32 pm »
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      At the Socialist convention in Indianapolis, Thomas wins the nomination with 91% of the vote.  Wallace is renominated as his running mate.  Hoan's successor as Milwuakee mayor, Frank Zeidler, manages to impress the crowds with his address.  The keynote address, however, is given by social activist and feminist Elanor Roosevelt, a candidate for Congress in New York. Tennessee congressman Estes Kefauver also gives a rousing speech which catches the eyes of many.  There is also a large tribute to Eugene V. Debs, and Thomas's rousing speech concludes a very successful convention.  
      Vandenberg goes into the Democratic convention in Charlotte with the hope of uniting the various wings of the party.  He decides to make Senator Russell his running mate, believing that any Southern-based party should have a Southerner on the ticket (sorry, Cathcon). He does, however, promise to make Kennedy his Treasury Secretary.  Former President Garner has a small role in the convention, and is mainly forgotten by the end.  However, Senator Taft's commanding presence at the convention reminds the delegates that Vandenberg is a sacrificial lamb, and that the party's best player is on the sidelines.  
      The Republican convention in San Diego begins with grandeur and a bang.  Dewey is nominated by the convention and chooses his 1940 rival, Gerald Nye as his running mate, since Truman would be far too hostile.  California attorney general Earl Warren gives a major speech which puts him on the radar.  Besides Dewey's speech, the other big story from the convention is Minnesota Governor Harold Stassen's keynote address.  
      Thomas goes into the general election with a commanding lead in the polls, with 55% after the conventions, and Vandenberg follows with 23%, with Dewey just behind him at 21%.  
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« Reply #87 on: October 04, 2012, 08:23:13 pm »
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So far so smooth for Thomas. But could there be a twist somewhere? Wink
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« Reply #88 on: October 04, 2012, 08:56:45 pm »
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      Vandenberg and Dewey make an issue out of Thomas's refusal to round up any Japanese-Americans who are not personally suspected of contacts with or spying for the Japanese government.  Vandenberg points out the collaboration of ethnic Japanese citizens of the Philippines collaborating with invading Japanese forces.  Thomas responds by pointing out "Japanese-recruitment" programs, aimed at rallying Japanese-Americans to the American cause, which have been put in place both by the federal government and Governor Sinclair's administration in California.  The issue isn't enough to change the election.  Final result:

Norman Thomas/Henry A. Wallace–56%
Arthur Vandenberg/Richard Russel, Jr.-22%
Thomas E. Dewey/Gerald Nye-21%

« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 09:13:48 pm by Peternerdman »Logged



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« Reply #89 on: October 04, 2012, 10:38:02 pm »
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      The Socialists also manage to make even further (though slight) gains in both Houses of Congress.  In the lame duck session of Congress, Thomas passes an affordable housing bill and a workplace compensation bill. 
      January, 1945: After taking the oath of office for the second time, Thomas focuses all efforts to the war.  He decides, secretly, to put more funding toward the Manhattan project, which he had initially only put in place because of the persistence of Einstein.  The war in Europe ends basically the same as RL.  Italy surrendered in 1943, and an Ally government was in place.  Thomas focuses efforts towards Germany, hoping to make them do the same. 
      May, 1945: Germany surrenders and falls into four zones of occupation as in OTL.  Thomas decides to blockade Japan and bomb government buildings with full force short of the atomic bomb.  He gives specific instructions to "avoid civilian casualties wherein at all possible." He considers bombing the Emperor's Palace, but as he would later confess, he "couldn't contemplate the idea that those bombs would be falling on a building with children in it."  With a general sense that the war will go on for years, Clement Attlee, now the British Prime Minister, pledges full support to America. 
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #90 on: October 05, 2012, 05:11:08 pm »
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      June, 1945: Thomas rules out a land invasion of Japan for the time being, citing estimates that it could cost up to 800,000 American and 10 million Japanese lives.  He decides to continue the strategy of bombing the strategic military bases.  When Hopkins privately recommends reconsidering the use of the atomic bomb, now completed, Thomas refuses, saying the current bombing campaign is the best solution.  Every key military base throughout Japan is leveled to the ground.  Some recommend a paratrooper invasion of the islands, but knowing full well how any captured Allied soldiers will be treated should they be captured (which surely many would), Thomas rejects it for the time being.  At the time, the American people are unaware of the Manhattan project, and are resigned to the fact that the war against Japan may drag on for years.  The idea of a bombing campaign has far more appeal to Americans at this point, due to the fear of the massive loss of American lives that would result from a land invasion.  
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« Reply #91 on: October 05, 2012, 08:32:15 pm »
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      May, 1945: As tensions rise between the Western and Eastern allied forces in Europe, Thomas briefly turns his attention to the economy again.  He proposes a bill to Congress that nationalizes the coal mining industry, and it passes pretty quickly.  Harry Hopkins retires as Health Services Secretary due to his battle with stomach cancer.  Thomas nominates Wilbur J. Cohen as his successor. 
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« Reply #92 on: October 05, 2012, 09:50:12 pm »
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      July, 1945: Because of Stalin's agreement to declare war on Japan and invade Manchuria within three months of the Japanese surrender, Thomas decides to blockade the West Coast of Japan in collaboration with the British, and invade Korea.  Meanwhile, the bombing of Japan appears to be getting nowhere thus far, though it appears early to say whether it is a success or failure.  Plans for a land invasion are already drawn up, though they are reserved for backup. 
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« Reply #93 on: October 05, 2012, 09:57:24 pm »
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      August 10, 1945: As expected, the Soviets invade Manchuria and the part of Korea which is yet to be liberated by the Americans (the Northern third).  Fearing that the Russians may try to join the bombing campaign in Japan and become a nuisance in the East as well as the West, Thomas puts a significant amount of Air Force jets over the Hokkaido island, as a signal that the Americans have things under control. 
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Peter the Lefty
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« Reply #94 on: October 06, 2012, 10:29:43 am »
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      October 15, 1945: Thomas authorizes the bombings of civillian areas and the homes of the top military rulers in great personal agony.  He does tell the Air Force to "aim for the streets," but his personal pain is strong nonetheless.  He looses weight quickly and clearly, and is clearly loosing sleep over it (as demonstrated by dark circles seen under his eyes in public at one event).  
« Last Edit: October 06, 2012, 06:12:41 pm by Peternerdman »Logged



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« Reply #95 on: October 06, 2012, 06:11:04 pm »
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      November 8, 1945: Thomas institutes a "softening by submarine" program which would send American submarines into the many small Japanese rivers to strike blows to the bases to soften them up.  At that point, the plan is to present a terms of surrender document to Emperor Hirohito. 
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« Reply #96 on: October 06, 2012, 06:13:36 pm »
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So Hirohito's survived the Tokyo raids along with the imperial family and the government? Anyhoo, keep it up- Downfall or no Downfall, 'tis the question.
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« Reply #97 on: October 06, 2012, 09:40:52 pm »
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So Hirohito's survived the Tokyo raids along with the imperial family and the government? Anyhoo, keep it up- Downfall or no Downfall, 'tis the question.
Err, yeah, I made the edit that it's other military officials besides him whose residences get bombed. 
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« Reply #98 on: October 06, 2012, 10:01:01 pm »
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November 9, 1945: The terms of surrender are rejected by Emperor Hirohito, who gives a public address (since the bombings have stopped) defying the US, saying that it is the duty of every citizen of Japan to die rather than surrender.  
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« Reply #99 on: October 06, 2012, 10:20:45 pm »
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      November 15, 1945: The air raids resume again, and the submarine softening campaign also intensifies.  Thomas's weight loss and sleep depravation becomes even more apparent when in public as he lays awake at night, contemplating the use of the atomic bomb and whether such a move would be preferable to invasion.  Many grow impatient with Thomas's unwillingness to "invade already," unaware that another option is on the table (which, if it were known, would be wanted even more). 
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