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Susan Green

How The People Had Their “Choice” Picked

(5 July 1948)

From Labor Action, Vol. 12 No. 27, 5 July 1948, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The kleig lights glaring in the convention hall in Philadelphia illuminated the hypocrisy of big-party conventions. The nominating convention is supposed to be the democratic way for the whole party to choose its candidates. Nothing was clearer at Philadelphia than that the goings-on in the hall were window-dressing, the real business being conducted well to the back of the store or, we might say, under the counter.

The facts that the reception given Dewey was cool, that Taft aroused no more enthusiasm though a bit more noise, that Stassen’s streamlined stunt brought out more real feeling, these facts meant nothing at all. Once it was established that Dewey and his aides had in the past few years succeeded in getting their hands on the switches that control the Republican machine, there was nothing left to do but to trade with the man at the controls. His stock in trade is jobs, jobs in the Republican campaign that he can hand out as nominee and the juicier jobs he can bestow if elected president.

Already Representative Scott of Philadelphia was rewarded with the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, in recognition of the Pennsylvania delegation going over to Dewey. Newspapermen and radio commentators are bristling with predictions of other pay-offs. Senator Martin, who was the first to relinquish his candidacy in favor of Dewey may be placed as Secretary of Defense, if Dewey wins; Senator Taft has been promised a seat on the United States Supreme Court; and the president of the Chase National Bank is slated for Secretary of the Treasury, just to assure Wall Street that it made a good investment in Dewey.

But what am I saying? Didn’t Dewey himself deny, in his acceptance speech, that he made any deals!


One of the most maddening aspects of the convention speeches was the assumption that a Republican victory in November is in the cards. Some of this was, of course, for psychological effect, but not all. Unfortunately the political history of the country gives the Republicans good ground for assuming the victory will be theirs. It is the custom for the mass of the voters, when they want a change, to flip the coin of capitalist politics from one side to the other. The statisticians also point out that in the past century or so, six out of the seven times that congressional control has been voted to the other party, the next presidential election also turned the old party out of the administration.

The people in this country who have the responsibility to change this deadening routine, have done nothing about it. They have left it to the Stalinists to offer their stooge, the Wallace third party, as the treacherous alternative. The labor movement has itself to thank for Republican cocksureness.


What of the fact that the Republican-controlled eightieth Congress elected in 1946 made a record of attacks on labor’s position, of serious infringements on democratic rights, of irresponsibility toward the urgent needs for price control, housing, health insurance, civil liberties?

Well now, Dewey was not in the Congress, was he? Neither was Warren, was he? So these good men and true are not responsible, are they? On the other hand, what really can be expected of a Republican Congress hampered by a Democratic administration? So will run the campaign bunk of the Republican Party.

While Truman has capitalized on the Republican record in Congress and the Democratic campaigners will squeeze it dry for their own purposes, the person who follows political events remembers that after the end of the war the Democratic seventy-ninth Congress made no haste to put into law the “new democracy” for which the war was naturally fought. Also, President Truman was careful to wait until a Republican Congress was in before pressing his much advertised social measures, for not passing which he now upbraids the Republicans.

The political finagling of both major parties and their failure to solve vital problems for the people because of loyalty to capitalist profits and interests, have left a mark on the people. With strong, independent working class leadership in the form of an independent labor party, the working people can be broken of their tweedledee and tweedledum political habit.


If the mood of the convention speeches was emphatically optimistic, the theme of most of them was anti- New Deal. This was beating a dead horse merely for the sake of venting anger. For many Republican politicians and their big business backers nurture such a blind hatred for anything favoring labor or advocating government intervention in pressing social problems that they cannot see that the New Deal has been dealt and that the Democratic Party is no longer a New Deal party.

The tragic thing is that the leaders of organized labor had hitched their wagon to the New Deal, though it was apparent from the start that it was simply a political technique for pulling American capitalism out of a severe crisis by making pacifying gestures toward the working people who were restless under the depression. The Democratic Party has made it amply clear that the Now Deal was no star, only an empty balloon.

The Republicans, in jumping on the poor, deflated thing, are actually showing their sentiments toward labor and the working people who had mistakenly looked to the New Deal for permanent progress.


All politicians are very mindful of the fact that women cast a great percentage of all the votes. The efficient Mr. Dewey and his aides are all out to create good will among the fair sex.

One of the most disgusting spectacles at the convention, as reported in the press, was the bargain counter set up by the Dewey managers to win friends among the women gathered in Philadelphia. The get-something-for-nothing craze created by business advertising in radio quiz and other programs had a field day at the Dewey headquarters.

Great baskets of articles contributed by business supporters of Dewey were carried about by ushers, and women delved into them to grab something to take home. Then, every thousandth woman to enter the headquarters was hailed as a queen and presented with something really big from the bargain counter. The bedlam was worse than a sale of nylons in Klein’s on New York’s Union Square. Everybody came in and went out several times not only to make a second and third grab into a basket, but to try to be a thousandth woman to enter the headquarters.

On this high level did Dewey appeal for support.


However, Mr. Dewey is a man who leaves no stone unturned. He also appeals to the better nature in womankind by promising to include a woman in his cabinet.

Perhaps this appeal to the better nature is more insulting even than the other, because at the bargain counter the woman did carry away some material thing. But putting a Republican machine woman in the Republican cabinet will be as important to working women and women in general as putting a machine man in the same place, no more and no less.

Mr. Dewey expects that women will not know or will not take to heart that the Republican platform sidetracks the issue of the cost of living, has pebbles in its mouth on the housing question, spouts only generalities on women’s rights, civil rights and so on. What a compliment to the women of America!

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