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constituents, and the few moneyed interests which expected to gain from a Democratic victory. The piteously meagre fund resulting was a severe handicap which the Democratic party struggled in vain to overcome. While the Republican party was well supplied with speakers of note, and was able to send out all it considered advisable, the Democratic party was unable to send out all the speakers at its command. It is estimated that toward the end of the campaign, there were 7,000 Republican speeches made each week day, while the Democratic figure never attained the meagre number of 2,500. Nor could the Democratic managers supply transportation to enable citizens to return to their legal residences to vote. There was no general exodus of Democratic voters from the colleges and universities. Instead, Democratic student voters received letters similar to the following:
“We are very hard up this year and are depending largely upon the loyalty and enthusiasm of those who believe in justice and liberty to carry this campaign. The prospects in - for a Democratic victory never looked brighter than they do at the present time, and I believe that if every Democrat does his duty that will cast her electoral vote for Bryan on the sixth of November. I know it is hard to ask a man to come such a distance to vote, but we must all make some sacrifices for the principles which we love and advocate, and I hope that something will occur whereby you can see your way clear to return home and cast your vote for Bryan.” I
The avenues for the transportation of facts and arguments and sneers and jokes and prejudices and canards were likewise opened more freely to the Republican party than to the opposition. The extent of the Republican domination over the press is not generally known, nor is its influence appreciated. In states like Pennsylvania there is little opportunity for the average reader to hear more than one side of great political discussions. In Philadelphia, out of fortytwo dailies and weeklies, not one declared itself in the newspaper directory of this year to be Democratic, while
1 From a National Democratic Committeeman in answer to a request for transportation by a student at the University of Pennsylvania.
twenty-nine were at the outset avowedly Republican. Of thirteen Independent organs two dailies, with a circulation of less than 200,000, had Democratic sympathies. One opposed Bryan's election throughout, while the other supported him on part of his economic program, thus helping to make paramount the issue on which Bryan must have been beaten. Even this support diminished in enthusiasm immediately prior to election day. Nor was there equality of equipment in the pivotal states such as New York and Indiana. The relative control over the press, in these states, is indicated in the following table:
Weekly. Daily and Weekly.
516 Democratic .
386 Independent. 41
262 137 303 162 Non-partisan
232 143 375 This shows that of 902 avowedly Republican and Democratic papers, over 57 per cent had been consistently preaching Republicanism prior to the campaign. At the moment the campaign opened the administration party was in control of 33 per cent more dailies and weeklies in the ten doubtful states than the Democratic organization. In addition to their advantage of a greater circulation of papers already controlled, the Republican party had greater ability to purchase such independent and non-partisan assistance as was in the market. Furthermore it was in a position to exert greater indirect influence upon papers which would not barter their support for a consideration, but which because of their constituencies, could not help leaning rather to the conservative than to the radical side on economic issues.
It is unnecessary to describe the thousand and one artifices employed by both parties to influence the popular vote. Allowing for the difference in their capabilities and resources, they were equally spectacular, illogical, petty, vain-glorious and bombastic. In debate each was at a disadvantage on
the other's ground. The Republican party was able because of its superior organization and greater resources to suggest its own subject for debate, and maintained throughout Prosperity as the paramount issue. On that issue the election was won.
The same perfectly disciplined organization which determined the paramount issue is now, through its press and its leaders in Congress, determining the paramount result. No mention has yet been made in Congress of a
currency law which shall establish the gold standard beyond assault, unless it is deliberately violated.” Instead, Congress is busying itself with the Ship Subsidy, the Nicaraguan Canal, the Army and Navy Reorganization appropriations and a reduction in the war taxes. Expansion is the paramount result of the election and the paramount object of legislation. Yet, as shown above, the American people have never debated on its merits the proposition to which they have indirectly committed themselves.
This fact is more than an interesting commentary on our system of government by parties. It indicates a loose and insincere method of reasoning which repudiates the lessons of experience. It shows that a paramount issue need not guide the legislator or the executive after it has guided the voter. The full force of the danger of such reasoning is more vividly presented, if we apply the same hiatus between pre-election and post-election intentions to the supposititious case of Bryan's election. It would follow that Bryan's election would have meant the unqualified endorsement of the demands and protests contained in the Chicago and Kansas City platforms. A similar type of reasoning construes the recent British Tory landslide to have meant an unqualified endorsement of the church and land doles; an acquiescence in the Tory failure to fulfill its pledges with reference to old age pensions and other social legislation; and an overwhelming vote of confidence in the war department. Thus it would never be possible to rebuke an administration by an adverse vote, without commissioning the opposition to undertake each and every one of the sweeping and radical reforms to whose ultimate accomplishment different elements of the opposition are pledged.
The recent election clearly reveals the real nature of popular government under parties. It does more: it dispels many hallucinations cherished by the younger generation as to the manner in which society progresses and erects landmarks. We have been wont to envy our fathers and grandfathers, who lived in the epoch-making periods of our nation's development. We have lived again their tragedies, have struggled through the conflicts of interest, and braved the torrents of popular passion, class hatred and sectional strife, which, in that ideal past, aroused them to noble thought and inspired deed. We have resented the iconoclastic scholarship which would prove that the Revolution was a struggle for dollars, the Mexican War a war for booty, and the Civil War a contest for industrial supremacy. We have believed that grave crises could have been met only by candid thought and honest acts. The recent election has, however, demonstrated that popular governments under parties may pass great crises without facing them, that questions of permanent and world-wide importance may be decided while answering some infinitely less important questions, or even while refusing to be interrogated.
The ease with which we, as a people, pass from the contemplation of majorities to generalizations in regard to forces; the exaggerated importance which we attach to the electoral margin; the difficulty we experience in adjusting post-election interpretation to pre-election purposes; the depreciation of the causes represented by the losing candidate; the glorification of the leaders and periods of former struggles of the masses against the classes ; the unanimity with which the press of the victorious party denies the possibility of a majority on a paramount issue without an unqualified endorsement of subsidiary policies; the hypnotic influence of the party star chamber which shapes platforms, names candidates, designates paramount issues, dictates jokes, distributes applause, and disseminates patent insides and spontaneity,—these are all evidences that party discipline and party organization are the supreme powers in American politics.