As the presidential campaign of 1936 neared the new

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As the presidential campaign of 1936 neared, the New Dealers were on top of the world.They had achieved considerable progress, and millions of “reliefers” were grateful to theirbountiful government.The exultant Democrats renominated Roosevelt on a platform squarelyendorsing the New Deal.The Republicans were hard-pressed to find someone to feed to “theChamp.”They finally settled on the colorless but homespun and honest governor of theSunflower State of Kansas, Alfred M. Landon.Landon himself was a moderate who acceptedsome New Deal reforms, although not the popular Social Security Act.But the Republicanplatform vigorously condemned the New Deal of Franklin “Deficit” Roosevelt for its radicalism,experimentation, confusion, and “frightful waste.”Backing Landon, ex-president Hoover calledfor a “holy crusade for liberty,” echoing the cry of the American Liberty League, a group ofwealthy conservatives who had organized in 1934 to fight “socialist” New Deal schemes.Roosevelt gave as good as he got. Angry enough to stretch sheet iron, the president took to thestump and denounced the “economic royalists”who sought to “hide behind the flag and theConstitution.” “I welcome their hatred,” he proclaimed.A landslide overwhelmed Landon, as the demoralized Republicans carried only twostates, Maine and Vermont. This dismal showing caused political wiseacres to make the old
adage read, “As Maine goes, so goes Vermont. The popular vote was 27,752,869 to16,674,665; the electoral count was 523 to 8—the most lopsided in 116 years.Democraticmajorities, riding in on Roosevelt’s magic coattails, were again returned to Congress.JubilantDemocrats could now claim more than two-thirds of the seats in the House and a like proportionin the Senate. The battle of 1936, perhaps the most bitter since Bryan’s defeat in 1896, partiallybore out Republican charges of class warfare.Even more than in 1932, the needy economicgroups were lined up against the so-called greedy economic groups.CIO units contributedgenerously to FDR’s campaign chest. Many left-wingers turned to Roosevelt, as the customarythird-party protest vote sharply declined.Blacks, several million of whom had also appreciatedwelcome relief checks, had by now largely shaken off their traditional allegiance to theRepublican party. To them, Lincoln was “finally dead.” FDR won primarily because he appealedto the “forgotten man,” whom he never forgot. Some of the president’s support was onlypocketbook-deep: “relievers” we're not going to bite the hand that doled out the governmentchecks.No one, as Al Smith remarked, “shoots at Santa Claus.”But Roosevelt in fact had forged a powerful and enduring coalition of the South, blacks,urbanites, and the poor.He proved especially effective in marshaling the support of themultitudes of “New Immigrants”— mostly the Catholics and Jews who had swarmed into thegreat cities since the turn of the century. These once-scorned newcomers, with their now-

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