JULY 22, 1952
NEW YORK, Monday—It is rather rare that a political convention opens with such a large number of candidates, all of whom really seem to have a chance for the nomination.
Usually there are one or two outstanding people, and if they deadlock then some third person is chosen. In that event it is always possible that the victory is almost handed to the opposing party because neither faction is as enthusiastic about a compromise candidate as they would be about their own candidate. If one of the two major candidates wins out, one can be fairly sure that the regular party members at least will support the candidate. In that case, it is the independent vote one has to watch.
In this country the independent vote has grown considerably in recent years. I think many people who call themselves Republicans and many who call themselves Democrats use their best judgment and vote for candidates of different parties, according to what they really feel is best for the country. Sometimes, sad to say, they vote for their own special interests, whatever they may be.
Being a Democrat, I hope that our party will not engage in too long a struggle over the nomination. Whoever is chosen as the candidate is going to have a real fight on his hands. General Eisenhower has charm, and his brilliant military career and the semi-military diplomatic services he has rendered have surrounded his name and his achievements with considerable glamor. In the weeks to come he will be trying to prove to the country that what he has to offer adds up to the best equipment and best knowledge and experience that the American people can hope for in their next President.
Whoever the Democratic candidate may be, he will have to face the fact that his party, which has been in power, has a record, and he will have to be honest as to what he thinks good or bad in that record. He probably will have to be very specific as to what he intends to do to correct the bad and what his programs will be to increase the good.
General Eisenhower will have to explain how he will control the Old Guard, particularly where he and the Old Guard may differ in Congress.
The Democratic nominee will have to explain how he hopes to get his party in Congress to follow him and how he hopes to prevent a section of his own party, which of late has frequently been aligned with the Old Guard Republicans, from voting against the bulk of the Democratic party and against the expressed desires of the people of the country as a whole.
All that a Democrat can hope for under these circumstances is that whoever is nominated in Chicago will be chosen fairly quickly. We hope he will have the ability to talk simply and truthfully to the people of the United States, and that he will have strong convictions and won't pussyfoot in explaining them.
Courage and integrity and moral conviction are going to be needed in the next few years to make this country the exemplification of the democracy it symbolizes to the rest of the world. That, and only that, will keep us progressing at home and leading the world, winning without actual war the battle for democracy.