My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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CAMPOBELLO ISLAND, N.B., Wednesday—I begin this column by saying that I do not believe there should be any third party in 1948, no matter who headed it. I had planned to say nothing on this subject but an article which I saw in one of the Maine papers this morning moves me to make certain remarks.

It stated that the Un-American Activities Committee was going to examine Henry Wallace and anyone suggesting his nomination as leader of a third party because, forsooth, they heard that the people backing a third party were all Communists. This is really too idiotic. Naturally the Communists in this country are going to back a third party—they are a disruptive force and a third party would be something which they would back. But to label all liberals as Communists just because you or I think them foolish to consider a third party is just plain arrogance. When will our sense of humor reassert itself and dominate our foolish fears?

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There are in both our major political parties a certain number of liberals. On the whole in the past, I feel that the Democratic Party has had more liberals than the Republican Party. And in general, I think it might be said that the great monied interests keep in closer touch with the Republican leaders and their policies than they do with the Democratic leaders and their policies. On the whole I think that it is harder for special interests to ride the Democratic Party and that this party has been the rallying ground for more people who had the general interest at heart. However, it has its conservative group, which we can identify in many votes which have been taken in Congress.

If the liberals of this country want to accomplish anything in the next ten years, they had better work to make one or the other major political party, or both parties, responsive to their ideas. They can do this by making it plain where they stand on certain policies, they can vote for men who stand four-square on these policies, and they can go into the primary campaigns and work wherever they see that good men have a chance of nomination.

The independents, if they have a program and are well enough organized, can elect almost any candidate in any election. The organization of a third party would only mean that the liberals would gain nothing and the conservatives would have every opportunity of carrying their candidates into office.