The Election Results Come Rolling In; Liberals Ride Again; Wha’ Happen’? (Vol. 14, Issue 2)
I am of course too stunned by the election results to attempt with any success an objective analysis of the outcome. Rather than being aided by a fatalistic aura of pessimism, I am hindered by the paralyzing effects of unexpected success. This is amply compensated for by the fact that I need not write a “what the liberal can learn from this election” type of essay but rather a “it looks like you conservatives have something to learn too” type. The smiling group of crocodile—tearing undertakers shoveling the last clod of earth on Liberalism’s grave have been neatly startled to find him standing smiling at their elbows, juggling the election in his left hand, and winking at the pale and thinning conservativism, already a shadow of its former self.
I am, too, relieved of the necessity of pointing out that liberals have only one realistic course open to them. The Democratic vote shows that the overwhelming majority of liberals recognized this. Those who didn’t on November 2, have ample reason to be convinced by the decision of their fellow-liberals. Whether they like it or not, the issue has been decided and further resistance is futile.
The major fact of the election is of course, the emergence of labor. This is the first election that labor can rightfully claim to have won practically singlehanded. In spite of 1944, of “clear it with Sidney” fame, Roosevelt's elections were won by Roosevelt. Today, the union of the two major labor unions so long demanded seems to be at least politically a fact. Having the returns before me, I can only wonder how I could have overlooked the startling fact that for the first time since the emergence of the C.L.O., the AF.L. and C.I.O. have backed, at least as I remember it, no opposing candidates. They have worked without any hoopla or fanfare, but they have worked, and they have gotten results. If their labors are not rewarded in the form of a liberal labor bill, it will be a myopic miscalculation of the first order on the part of the 81st Congress.
As for the Dixiecrats, they have been dealt a blow that can leave them looking with only green-eyed envy at the comparatively fortunate Republicans. They have now no choice but to accept the long obvious conclusion that they can have no effect on a presidential election. They are an isle of sectionalism in a sea of national unity (with apologies to Mr. Dewey). Their sectionalized America of 1850 exists now only in their dreams. The South excluded, the States show remarkable similarity in strength of the various candidates. A candidate, ahead by only a small percentage, is likely to be elected by a tremendous electoral majority. Against this fact the Dixiecrats are powerless. Their only strength is in Congress and is dependent on the undemocratic anachronism of seniority. To have had a Republican elected without their strength would have been discouraging; having a Democrat elected against their opposition is disastrous.
Wallace, even had he had a large vote, would have been unlikely to reach the next election. The history of third parties proves that. His small vote merely hastened the inevitable.
And last, but not quite least, the Republicans. It was Lincoln who said, “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”