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2023.03.22 16:46 spartachilles Social Democratic Convention of 1936 A House Divided Alternate Elections
The Social Democratic Party has come far from its humble beginnings as a splinter of the Populist Party. Capturing the public imagination of the American left after the ignominious collapse of its predecessor during the Second Civil War, the Social Democratic Party defined the country’s relationship with the dictatorship both when its disputed 1908 defeat led to the collapse of democracy and when its triumphant 1912 victory allowed President John M. Work to guide its restoration. After a following decade of disappointing electoral returns and frustrating compromises with Solidarity to counter the Federalist Reform Party, the election of President John Dewey heralded a rejuvenation of the beleaguered Social Democratic Party. Amid the perfect storm of public dissatisfaction with the capitalist system, innovative new campaign tactics, and floundering opposition, the party further shocked pundits across the political spectrum by securing an absolute majority in the popular vote and trifecta control of the government during Dewey’s reelection campaign in 1932. In the two years that followed, the Social Democratic Party achieved accomplishments decades in the making including a national workmen’s compensation scheme, tripartite negotiations between major labor union leaders and representatives of industry shepherded by the federal government, and the nationalization of the railroads, telegraphs, and telephones. However, despite these impressive successes, increasingly apparent cracks in the party threaten to tear it asunder. At the center of its internal controversy lies the 1934 Declaration of Principles authored by Connecticut Senator Devere Allen, demanding a radical turn of the party platform and a strict adherence to pacifism in foreign affairs. Thus, tensions run high as a crop of faces both new and familiar struggle to succeed President Dewey.submitted by spartachilles to Presidentialpoll [link] [comments]
New York Governor Norman Thomas
Norman Thomas: As the focal figure of the internal party opposition to President Dewey, 52-year-old New York Governor Norman Thomas has amassed a formidable political coalition heading into the primary elections. Raised by a pastor in a deeply religious family, Thomas became convicted in his pacifistic beliefs from a young age, conscientiously objecting to serving in the Second Civil War and leaving for a missionary trip abroad rather than becoming embroiled in the Resistance to the dictatorship. Drawn into the world of politics after volunteering for the successful 1917 New York City mayoral campaign of Morris Hillquit, Thomas quickly attracted attention within the Social Democratic Party for his impressive oratory and writing skills and was soon elected as a State Senator. However, Thomas’s rise would be frustrated by a combative relationship with the urban Tammany Hall political machine which dominated much of the Social Democratic Party in New York. It would take a decade of building relationships with upstate leaders and anti-Tammany politicians for Thomas to finally secure the gubernatorial nomination in 1930, which proved to be fortuitous timing as Thomas rode the Social Democratic wave into the Governor’s mansion. In an effort that presaged President Dewey’s Great Community program, Governor Thomas implemented a highly ambitious relief program to give work to the unemployed and construct strong state-owned banks, power companies, and grain elevators. Beyond his record as governor though, Thomas became famous (or perhaps infamous) across the nation for his opposition to President Dewey on the basis of his stringent pacifism. Closely collaborating with Devere Allen on the authorship of the 1934 Declaration of Principles, Thomas also famously met with union leaders Harry Bridges and John L. Lewis to organize a large-scale political strike against shipments of aid to Russia in the Russo-Japanese War.
Reflecting the tripartite makeup of his political coalition, Thomas’s campaign for the presidency has three primary facets. The first, and perhaps most pronounced, is his strictly pacifistic isolationism. Attacking international war as the “fruit of the perpetual economic warfare of capitalism”, Thomas has strictly opposed any type of military build-up or program and instead endorsed the use of tools such as trade embargoes and general strikes to combat the outbreak of war abroad. Secondly, Thomas has endorsed an even more radical direction for the party’s economic and political goals. Economically, Thomas has supported the widespread socialization of the economy under the model of worker’s self-management, declaring in favor of the immediate nationalization of industries such as banking, insurance, mining, and other “trustified” industries with the eventual goal of fully transferring to the people the ownership of industry, land, finance, and natural resources. Politically, Thomas has thrown in with radicals in the party by denouncing the “bogus democracy of capitalist parliamentarism” and calling for the abolition of the Senate and judicial review. To this end, Thomas has been critical of the amendments arising from the Second Constitutional Convention, instead preferring a more radical transformation of the country’s government to achieve a worker’s republic. Last but certainly not least, Thomas has strongly denounced the Dewey administration’s record on corruption, promising to disentangle the party from political bossism and corrupt bureaucrats and restore an honest administration to the country. Unsurprisingly, Thomas has been strongly attacked for his uncompromising radicalism and pacifism, which many of his opponents see as entirely unworkable.
Secretary of the Interior Sherwood Eddy
Sherwood Eddy: 65-year-old Secretary of the Interior Sherwood Eddy has been tapped by President Dewey as his heir apparent. Deeply religious from a young age and independently wealthy from his inheritance, Eddy took up theological studies through which he became absorbed by the incipient Social Gospel movement. This led him to join a missionary group after he completed his studies, a choice that brought him to spend the next thirty years abroad under the auspices of the YMCA to spread the gospel. Exposed to crushing poverty and political oppression while working in India, disappointed by the development of the dictatorship in his home country, and horrified by the atrocities he witnessed as a volunteer medic during the Great War, Eddy’s Christian socialist ardor only grew more pronounced in his years abroad. Thus, Eddy founded the Fellowship for a Christian Social Order to promote his ideals, becoming well acquainted with the inner circle of the Social Democratic Party through his travel seminars bringing American politicians to socialist countries such as Spain and Russia. Among those influential party men that he met was Secretary of Education John Dewey, and the two soon formed a close relationship with Eddy staunchly supporting Dewey’s 1928 campaign and helping to deliver the support of the crucial religious left constituency. Regarded as a capable administrator and loyal supporter of the president’s program, Eddy was appointed as the Secretary of the Interior and confirmed after a drawn-out battle with the opposition Congress. Thus, over the past eight years Eddy has served as one of the President’s chief lieutenants, driving the implementation of Dewey’s relief program and perhaps most famously promoting the cooperativization of agriculture across the nation.
Believing Christian ethics to be incompatible with the current capitalist system, Eddy has advanced a program similar to that of President Dewey’s although tinged by his deep religiosity. To combat the continuing Great Depression, Eddy has called for the full achievement of President Dewey’s “Great Community”, including continued deficit spending for relief, the nationalization of monopolistic industries such as electric power, gas, utilities, and mining, and substantial increases in the land value tax. Beyond just such economic proposals, Eddy has also unambiguously endorsed the amendments to implement semi-presidentialism and federal direct democratic reforms, strongly supporting the drive to rebalance the separation of powers and bring government closer to the people. However, in an assertion of his independent political identity, Eddy has also emphasized a strongly moralistic outlook on social issues, including support for the national prohibition of alcohol as well as stronger governmental action to control vices such as gambling and prostitution. As a part of this drive, Eddy has also promised to direct a greater level of public works spending towards the replacement of slums with sanitary public housing, the construction of public health facilities, and the establishment of adult educational facilities. On the ever-controversial matter of foreign affairs, Eddy has strongly opposed the aggression of the Japanese Empire on a moral basis but has shied away from suggestions of military rearmament and preferred the continued application of sanctions and international pressure. With Eddy largely staying true to the orthodoxy of the popular President John Dewey, most attacks against him have centered around his deep-seated religious morality, which his opponents claim is inappropriate to advance on a national scale, as well as his relatively advanced age compared to many of his opponents.
Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace
Henry A. Wallace: Those supporting a more moderate path for the party have rallied around the party’s icon of compromise: 48-year-old Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace. Born into a successful farming family, Wallace was too young to have fought in the Second Civil War and instead spent those tumultuous years in high school with a particular interest in agricultural science. Rumored to have privately supported the dictatorship while studying in college due to his lack of noted resistance activities, Wallace only became truly exposed to the political world after the death of his grandfather, which allowed him to take a leading role in the family’s influential agricultural journal Wallace’s Farmer. Personal tragedy would produce political gain for the young Wallace, as President Tasker H. Bliss had planned on appointing his father Henry C. Wallace as the Secretary of Agriculture before the elder Wallace’s untimely death from the complications of gallbladder surgery, and opted instead to appoint the younger Wallace. Becoming known as “Mr. Agriculture” for his exceptional 12-year tenure in the position through both the Bliss and Dewey administrations, Wallace has overseen a revitalization of the Department and tackled issues such as a farm overproduction crisis and series of droughts in the Midwest with vigor. Not just content with being known as an able administrator, Wallace also famously stepped beyond his role to propose the compromise which led to the transformative Banking Act of 1933. However, Wallace’s time in the administration has not been free from controversy, with tabloid newspapers harassing his increasingly close relationship with the mysterious Russian mystic and exile Nicholas Roerich.
True to his reputation as a compromiser, Wallace has supported a more moderate direction for the party. Rather than outright nationalization of electric power companies and other utilities, Wallace has instead endorsed the creation of publicly-owned regional economic planning and utility companies that would compete with private companies to offer cheap power while also driving rural electrification and flood control improvements. However, Wallace has not wholly shied away from nationalization of industry, and has in fact advanced nationalization proposals for industries not targeted in the plans of his opponents, including the merchant marine, the aircraft industry, and the oil industry. A strong supporter of the National Labor Relations Act, Wallace sees the government leadership of negotiations as a crucial way to advance the rights of labor in areas of working hours, workplace safety, and benefits, and has called for amendments to the act to better protect the rights and representation of agricultural workers. To further support agricultural workers, Wallace has championed a federal guarantee of a minimum income to farmers through price supports, federal purchasing programs, regulations to limit overproduction, and export to impoverished regions through global economic planning. A supporter of continuing deficit spending on public works with a particular focus on public housing, Wallace has suggested that the increases in the land value tax could help offset the growing federal debt and that otherwise the federal government should use price controls to control potential inflation. As a committed internationalist, Wallace has strongly endorsed President Dewey’s International Labor and Development Commission which would institute a level of global centralized economic planning. Furthermore, Wallace has strongly denounced the aggression of Integralist Italy and Japan, though he has cautioned against reckless expansions of the military if they would endanger the pro-democratic reforms advanced by President Bliss. The attacks against Wallace have often targeted his personal foibles, as Wallace is well known to be fascinated by spiritual matters such as Theosophy and the occult, with many believing that his close acquaintance Nicholas Roerich might have undue influence over Wallace.
New Jersey Senator Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair: Long discussed as a potential presidential candidate, 58-year-old New Jersey Senator Upton Sinclair has finally thrown himself into the running for the nation’s highest office. Having grown up fascinated with writing, Sinclair achieved his breakthrough success with the 1906 publication of The Jungle, a dramatic exposé of poor working conditions in the meatpacking industry. Leveraging the funds and fame from the book into a successful run for Congress in his home state of New Jersey, Sinclair continued to make a name for himself by sponsoring legislation to tackle food safety and worker’s rights in the industry. Unfortunately, Sinclair’s political success put him on a collision course with General Grant, and Sinclair was one of many Social Democratic politicians arrested and held for the duration of the dictatorship. After being freed from his confinement, Sinclair ran for and won a Senate seat representing New Jersey, which he has held ever since. Although many saw Sinclair as an up and coming politician who might well succeed President Work, such aspirations were dampened after Sinclair took a highly controversial stand against Work’s embargo of the warring powers in the Great War. Having thus burned many bridges within the party, Sinclair supported his friend and political sponsor Joseph Ray Buchanan at the party’s 1920 convention while slowly rebuilding his political reputation. A strident interventionist, Sinclair most recently gained fame for his harsh denouncement of the Japanese Invasion of Manchuria in Congress, demanding that the country provide aid to the beleaguered Russians.
Devoting great attention to the increasing importance of primaries and caucuses, Sinclair has embarked on a nationwide campaign titled “End Poverty in Columbia”. The signature proposal of Sinclair’s campaign is for the federal government to create a program to nationalize any idle farm or industry and convert it into a worker’s cooperative. In parallel with such a program, Sinclair has suggested federal legislation guaranteeing the right of workers to purchase their workplace and transform it into a worker’s cooperative should their employer seek to close it down. In further development of these worker’s communities, Sinclair has called for a greater investment into public housing, community kitchens, and communal social spaces. To fund such an expansive program, Sinclair has suggested that new forms of taxation such as taxes on stock transfers or capital gains would be necessary alongside the issuance of more government bonds and increases to the land value tax to support this program. As another method to stimulate the economy on the demand side, Sinclair has proposed a dramatic reduction in the retirement age to 50 years of age, increases in pensions paid out under the social insurance system, and a taxation scheme that would encourage the immediate expenditure of such pensions. Sinclair has supported the amendments of the Second Constitutional Convention, seeing them as a means to accelerate the passage of his EPIC program. The other facet of Sinclair’s campaign is his uncompromising interventionism; Sinclair is one of few Social Democrats to have openly endorsed military rearmament and has suggested that military intervention might be necessary in a global war to guarantee the safety of democracy. This position has proven highly controversial, with many attacking such a plan as a reckless way of stoking the fires of Grantism in the country once again. Moreover, many have questioned Sinclair’s suitability for office due to his well-known interest in the occult and his promotion of his wife’s supposed telepathic powers.
New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia
Fiorello LaGuardia: While most of the so-called “sewer socialists” of the party have lent their support to Norman Thomas, those opposed to his candidacy have instead rallied around 54-year-old New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. Born to a family of Italian immigrants that moved around the country due to his father’s service in the military, LaGuardia attempted to follow his father to war upon the outbreak of the Second Civil War. However, after being denied for military service on account of his short stature, LaGuardia instead found his way to the frontlines in a different capacity: as a war correspondent for the St. Louis Dispatch. With a passion for public service, LaGuardia secured a clerical position in the State Department after the war, and in a pattern of service oft-criticized as collaboration with the Grant regime, spent the next decade in several low-level governmental administration roles. With the amnesty offered by President Work, LaGuardia pursued a seat in Congress as a Social Democrat in 1916, and won several successive terms thanks to his strong appeal among ethnic minorities and tireless advocacy for the rights of labor. After losing re-election in the Federalist Reform wave of 1928, LaGuardia was approached to run a third-party fusion campaign for Mayor of New York City by a wide-ranging coalition of anti-Tammany Social Democrats, disaffected Solidarists opposed to the urban planning initiatives of Mayor George McAneny, and moderate Federalist Reformists fearful of a more radical candidate winning in a landslide. With such broad-based support, LaGuardia easily won the 1933 election and his tenure has been hailed for his pristine anti-corruption credentials, wide-ranging relief efforts, and crackdown on the infamous labor sluggers of the city.
Portraying himself as a master administrator, LaGuardia has centered his campaign around bringing about a more honest Social Democratic government. Thus, alongside economic proposals to expand the scope and scale of public works spending and nationalize electric power and utilities, LaGuardia has also emphasized the necessity of clamping down on corruption and crime in the country. To this end, LaGuardia has emphasized an overhaul of the country’s civil service protections to be in line with the massively expanded scope of the federal government and called for stronger application of anti-corruption laws. Furthermore, LaGuardia has promised to work with local authorities to disseminate best practices to clamp down on urban crime across the country. Himself a child of immigrants and having strong political roots among ethnic minorities, LaGuardia has championed the relaxation of the country’s harsh immigration laws even despite much opposition from within the party. LaGuardia has also strongly opposed prohibition and the Interstate Spirits Trafficking Act, as well as strongly opposing the criminalization of marijuana. Although LaGuardia has maintained an internationalist outlook favoring cooperation among the nations of the world, his foreign policy positions have raised many eyebrows within the party. While much attention has been focused on the aggression of the Japanese Empire, LaGuardia has strongly denounced the antisemitism of Kaiser Wilhelm III and the German Empire even as others have suggested that Germany might form a natural ally against the Integralist powers. More controversially, LaGuardia has lavished praise upon Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, going so far as to personally raise money in support of Mussolini’s invasion of Ethiopia. Already accused of being a collaborationist, such an action has led LaGuardia’s opponents to attack him as a Grantist and Integralist.
Vice President Howard P. Lovecraft
Howard P. Lovecraft: No doubt one of the most controversial figures of the Social Democratic Party, 46-year-old Vice President Howard P. Lovecraft has launched a bid for the presidency in the culmination of his feud with President Dewey. Formerly a reactionary supporter of aristocratic rule with sympathy for the Grant dictatorship, Lovecraft made a dramatic political transformation to become a committed socialist after personally witnessing the horrors of the National Patriot League’s suppression of worker’s strikes. Writing his newfound political views into novels such as The Call of Cthulhu, Lovecraft soon became an icon of the American left in the world of popular culture. Having increased his political profile by giving a keynote speech at the 1924 National Front Convention, Lovecraft was the subject of a major draft movement at the Social Democratic Convention eight years later to replace William M. McDonald as the party’s vice presidential nominee. Reluctantly accepting the call to public office, Lovecraft thus found himself elected as Vice President of the United States in the Social Democratic landslide of 1932. However, many in the Social Democratic Party would come to regret this move. Disdainful of the duties of the Vice President, Lovecraft spent little time on his duties presiding over the Senate and even less attending cabinet meetings of the Dewey administration. Perhaps worse yet, Lovecraft has openly fought against his own President on matters of public policy. In one notorious incident, Lovecraft derailed the proposed nationalization of electric utilities in the Senate after his demands for their management by bureaucratic government experts instead of worker’s cooperatives was not met. Moreover, Lovecraft has also denounced the direct democratic amendments advanced by the President’s allies in the Second Constitutional Convention, wielding his writer’s pen to attack the amendments as surrendering control of the government to incompetent masses.
Allying himself with the Formicist movement that has been left politically homeless since its effective expulsion from the Federalist Reform Party, Lovecraft has strongly questioned foundational precepts of the Social Democratic Party, perhaps best summarized in a statement made while announcing his campaign: “Obviously government by the people is now a joke or a tragedy, although government for them remains as the most logical goal. Though the wider distribution of resources must be accepted as a cardinal policy, the narrower restriction of power will be a necessary corollary.” To this end, Lovecraft has wholly rejected the consensus of the Second Constitutional Convention, instead demanding the restriction of office-holding to those with high technical training and the limitation of the right to vote to those who have passed educational and intelligence examinations. To further this transformation, Lovecraft has called for elective offices to be largely abolished, with the levers of government turned over to bureaucratic experts charged with efficient management of the government. Lovecraft hopes to have such a government seize control of virtually all industry and agriculture in the nation in order to operate it at maximal efficiency and ensure a redistribution of resources through liberal social welfare spending. Although rather isolationist in outlook, Lovecraft has endorsed a purely defensive military buildup to guarantee the protection of the United States and even gone so far as to suggest an interest in universal military training. With such outright authoritarianism marking him as anathema to the rest of the Social Democratic Party, Lovecraft has been relentlessly attacked as a borderline Grantist for his ideology. Like some of his opponents, Lovecraft has also been criticized on the basis of his interest in the occult, thanks in large part to the subject matter of his famous novels but also due to his association with the eccentric Russian mystic Nicholas Roerich.
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