Tuesday, November 15, 2011

1936 Election Follies

Lousy economies make for weird elections. There was 1992 with Bill Clinton's zipper problems and the strange case of H. Ross Perot ("giant sucking sound") with his on again, off again, third party campaign.

1936 - What Might Have Been
Huey Long (aka: The Kingfish) had all the honesty of Newt Gingrich, sanity of Michele Bachmann, and down-home country radicalism of Rick Perry. Long would have been a hero to Occupy Wall Street for his Share Our Wealth Society movement. He would have been a Tea Party hero for his fascist control of Louisiana and attacking President Roosevelt as a dirty socialist.

He was supported by the Rush Limbaugh of his time, Father Charles Coughlin. Long planned on running for President in 1936 on a third party ticket of his own creation. But first, Long had to consolidate his dictatorship in Louisiana where his opponents had begun to form armed paramilitary groups. As Long worked to oust an honest judge Long was assassinated by the son-in-law of that judge. That the assassin was also Jewish led Long's followers to conclude he had been the victim of an international conspiracy of Jewish bankers.

1936 - What Was
Deprived of Huey Long, opposition to President Roosevelt coalesced reluctantly around the sparkless Alf Landon. Landon, at one time or another, had opposed and supported most of President Roosevelt's policies (which makes him a good Mitt Romney analog). He believed in saying as little as possible as seldom as possible (which made his as electrifying a speaker as Romney).

Then, like now, the Republican platform included repealing Social Security. Republicans were convinced their platform of supporting Wall Street against the rabble was a winning strategy and that they would take the White House with a landslide. They even had Literary Digest polling data to back them up.

Didn't happen.

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