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AN WE win in 1928?”
sions were not concluded until the "Not if there is to be a early hours of the morning of July 10.
repetition of the proceedings There were few moments during the of the national convention of 1924." whole period when a disinterested
Wherever the above question is observer would have gained the imasked by one reasoning, straight- pression that the delegates were met thinking Democrat of another, the as a deliberative body and were answer is likely to be substantially animated by no other desire than to the same. The matter is serious and make a wise choice of the fittest canone that demands the sober thought didate, representative of Democratic of loyal Democrats throughout the principles, and likely to appeal country
strongly to the electorate. In 1920
Mr. Harding had received seven Let us go back a little. All specu- million more votes than were given lations as to the result of the next for Mr. Cox, his Democratic oppocontest for the presidency must take nent. This was to be borne in mind as a point of orientation the last in view of the fact that Mr. Wilson's Democratic national convention. vote over Mr. Hughes in 1916 had Only in the most charitable view of been under a million, giving the Demothe proceedings of that assembly can crats a majority of only twenty-three it be praised as an instance of democ- in the Electoral College. The issue racy proving itself—a conference of the League of Nations, bequeathed of 1446 delegates engaging in a pro- to his party by Mr. Wilson and manlonged struggle over the choice of fully supported by Mr. Cox, had platform and candidate, and demon- failed to interest the people, and the strating that wisdom which we like Democrats faced the responsibility of to believe reposes in any representa- finding more attractive issues on tive body of American citizens. which to make their appeal.
The exercises began on June 24, At the hour the convention of 1924 and the convention's twenty-nine ses- met, the hope of Democratic success,
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with any candidate and on any plat- for Mr. Davis that he assumed the form, depended upon the harmonious leadership of the party thus conferred intelligent action of the delegates and upon him in an admirable spirit. an early enthusiastic agreement upon His personal campaign was conducted a candidate conspicuously fit and on a high plane. With a feeble likely to win to his support a very national organization and the party's considerable body of Republicans morale shattered, he went through and independents.
with the thing like a gentleman and But defeat was foreshadowed long a patriot. before the convention adjourned. Mr. Davis received a total of 8,After the deadlock became fixed, the 386,503 votes; Mr. Coolidge, 15,country ceased to take the proceed- 725,016. These figures tell the ings seriously. The gathering be- story and point the moral. If 1928 came merely a show, an exhibition of should witness another such conmidsummer madness; and the radio, vention as the turbulent affair of carrying to remote hamlets the 1924, the result could hardly be clamor, the senseless demonstrations, different. There are, in spite of
. conveyed the idea that a circus had much cynical testimony to the conbecome disorderly and unmanage- trary, a good many American citiable, with the performers and ani- zens who think, and they are not mals running wild.
greatly disturbed by the thunder of The nomination of Mr. Davis on the captains and the shouting. A
A the one-hundred-and-third ballot was party which strikes the key of farcenot the result of an honest compro- comedy in the transaction of its mise; he was caught up in despair business may amuse, or it may beafter the major elements of the con- come a bore, but short of a miracle it flict were exhausted and realized that cannot win. they were making themselves and their party ridiculous. Mr. Davis's Experience is the least respected of fitness for the presidency was in- all the world's teaching forces, but disputable; hardly another man in with the foregoing epitome of recent the nation had so many qualifications. Democratic history in mind it would But folly must have its last fling. seem that with another campaign As if with conscious and malevolent only a few months distant every irony, Mr. Davis was tagged with a effort should be made to avoid the running-mate whose name revived a
blunders of 1924. distrust of the party without com- I do not believe that either Goverpensating gains. The merriment nor Smith or Mr. McAdoo could be in the Republican camp over the an- elected president even if either could tics of the convention became a howl be nominated. The abrogation of of derision when Mr. Charles W. the two-thirds rule, which is written Bryan was named for vice-president, in the very alphabet of Democratic
obviously to assuage the sufferings convention procedure, might give of those Democrats who would inevi- one or the other the nomination, but tably regard Mr. Davis as the tool of it would be an empty honor. As the money devils. It is to be said the cards lie to-day, neither of these gentlemen would have the ghost of matic relations. What hope would a show of being elected.
there be, the anti-Catholics would Democrats may as well face the demand, for a fair handling of any prospect now. Governor Smith will difficulty with a Catholic country if not do, and Mr. McAdoo is impos- the head of the American governsible.
ment were a Catholic? The lofty I have spoken frequently against heights of bigotry and vulgarity the Klan organization in my own attainable in such a controversy have State, from the time it began recently been happily indicated by operations there, took over the Re- the Hon. J. Thomas Heflin, a Demopublican party, and became a mis- cratic senator from Alabama. chievous power. The meek submis- Governor Smith is wet. Mr. sion of the Republicans to Klan McAdoo is dry. Mr. McAdoo's domination has been a costly thing for Toledo speech, evidently prethe people of Indiana, resulting in pared with care to launch his camconstant political scandal, and with a paign for the nomination, failed deterring effect, not negligible, upon to arouse any great enthusiasm in the prosperous course of business. Democratic quarters. He certainly
The intrusion upon our politics : erred gravely in thinking that his of religious issues is deplorable, in idea of a federal constabulary to great affairs or small. But a spasm enforce prohibition would meet with of intolerance is afflicting the favor among old-fashioned States' country, nor is it confined to the rights Democrats. A number of the manifestations of the Klan. The leading newspapers of the South were battles between fundamentalists and quick to rebuke him for so flagrant modernists in Protestantism offer an assault upon traditional Demophenomena equally discouraging. cratic principles. It is obvious that But we are obliged to deal with reali- this idea of a broad extension of the ties; and it is folly to pretend that at federal police power to enforce the this time the nomination of any Eighteenth Amendment would sugmember of the Roman Catholic gest at once to many minds that Church for the presidency, no matter the long-neglected Fourteenth and how well fitted by intellect, char- Fifteenth amendments are equally acter, or administrative experience worthy of attention. I seem to he might be, could fail to precipi- recall a time when “No Force Bill!” tate bitter controversy. This is a was the rallying-cry of Southern humiliating confession. Weof Amer- Democrats. Just how large an army ica should of course be greater would be required to stop the imthan this. But political issues would portation or the domestic manuinevitably be blended with religious facture of alcoholic beverages is an questions without advantage to interesting question. Speculation on either. It is easy to imagine a this point would be sure to figure national campaign not only strident prominently in any campaign that with religious debate but likely to be concentrated upon the Eighteenth profoundly disturbing in other di- Amendment if Mr. McAdoo were rections, as for instance in our diplo- the nominee. The Bill of Rights
contains certain guarantees which the increasing intimacies and allican hardly be trampled underfoot ances between the Republican party to enforce the Eighteenth Amend- and Big Business. ment unless we are ready to begin The present political apathy is due uprooting the most precious safe- largely to a feeling of helplessness in guards and guarantees of
the electorate. There is a growing 'freedom.
cynicism as to our politics by Prohibition is bound to be dis- reason of the seeming impossibility cussed in the Democratic convention of correcting abuses. Political corof 1928, but it cannot be sanely ruption, of which there are constant considered if the two candidates evidences; the sale of senatorships who deadlocked the convention three to the highest bidder; privilege years ago stand as the protagonists steadily broadening its domain; the of the two sides of the question. lack of a courageous handling of What loyal Democrats everywhere such a problem as, for example, demand is harmony. The morale of that presented by the plight of the the party must be restored. To farmers; the multiplication of politpermit either a religious question ical jobs; the marked bureaucratic or a moral question (if prohibition tendency fostered by Republicanism may be called a moral question) -all blaze the path of Democratic to become the paramount issue is an responsibility and duty. alternative that cannot be viewed There was never any such body of with equanimity. Governor Smith, faithful earnest partizans as the by combining both issues in his own membership of the Democratic party. person, would arouse a bitter hos- It is a splendid fellowship of patriotic tility never encountered by any Americans. With the business of other presidential candidate. If keeping up local organizations in the nominated, Mr. McAdoo, with en- face of repeated defeats, with few forcement of the Volstead Law the newspapers of influence to assist chief issue in his campaign, would by enlightening the people as to the find himself leading an enfeebled issues, the earnest loyal members legion to certain slaughter.
have a right to demand sanity of its It is for the good of the nation national conventions. that the Democratic party be maintained as a vigorous fighting body. Deliver us from any more of that It has, to be sure, trifled at times with Madison Square stuff! This is the its fundamental principles and been prayer of the rank and file of the false to its own traditions; but party, and it might easily be turned surviving many defeats it offers the into a threat. If the Democratic people their only hope of resistance party must die, let it perish on the to growing Republican rapacity and firing-line and not by inglorious arrogance. Its perpetuation as an suicide. effective organization is not only It may be said that in the Middle desirable but essential if the people West, at least, the Democratic party are to have watchful critics in workers, men and women, have no Washington to detect and publish great interest in either Governor