Presidential Election: 1932

Who do you vote for as President in 1932?


  • Total voters
    27

Viperlord

Ad Honorem
Aug 2010
8,101
VA
#1
I expect this will be one of the more lopsided ones, as in reality. It is the election of 1932, and the nation is still in the firm grip of the Great Depression. The previous decade was characterized by Republican administrations pursuing a laissez-faire approach to economic policy and aggressively cutting taxes on the wealthy. After the Great Depression strikes in 1929 (though for rural populations, it had arguably been going on much longer) this approach is increasingly discredited by 1932, and much of the nation is ready for a change in leadership. President Herbert Hoover, elected in 1928, is challenged by Democrat Franklin Roosevelt for the Presidency. Party platforms linked below.



Democratic: Democratic Party Platforms: 1932 Democratic Party Platform


Republican: Republican Party Platforms: Republican Party Platform of 1932
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,770
At present SD, USA
#2
FDR...

Admittedly, Hoover did try some things to alleviate the affects of the Depression, but he tied it too much to the argument of "let the market heal itself" which in the end is doing nothing at the same time, and in a sense contributed to the problems that came out of the 1929 crash.

The proposed New Deal promised jobs and action, that in many ways WOULD work. It might not be instant recovery, but it WOULD work. The building of roads, schools, and power plants would do a lot for the country, far more than doing a few small things here or there and otherwise "letting the market fix itself" would do.
 
Nov 2011
4,657
Ohio, USA
#3
I had a feeling this would be a similar wash as the Grant vs Seymour election.

I echo what Sam-Nary says here as well. While one with a somewhat classical liberal bent such as myself does accordingly sympathize with and pity Hoover's situation, I have little doubt that in some extraneous circumstances much more action is required. Normally, I wouldn't be in favor of any kind of New Deal, but the Great Depression was far from normal.

I kind of wanted to see 1920-28 as well, and perhaps Futurist can do each of those.
 
Oct 2015
720
Virginia
#4
Is it the responsibility of the Federal Government to take action to alleviate economic distress? (which is the inevitable result of capitalism).
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,770
At present SD, USA
#5
Is it the responsibility of the Federal Government to take action to alleviate economic distress? (which is the inevitable result of capitalism).
Given the line in the Constitution to "promote the general welfare" that there is some expectation that the US government would have the task of being needed to help the overall populace, which would mean taking action to alleviate periods of economic distress.

And to a general degree, various American governments have tried to act in response to these sorts of economic issues. The reforms of the Progressive Era, for example, and the regulations that were passed to protect American workers, provide safe housing, and so on fit in with that sort of mentality. The great difference between the Great Depression and the economic downturns that came before it, was that the sheer scope and scale of the 1929 crash totally eclipsed anything America had previously had, which would make many of the prior efforts of the American government, which had often been to be rather hands off with regard to the economy and "let the market fix itself" something that wasn't going to be easily supported...

Particularly given the fact that by this time, the world was vastly different from where it was during earlier economic crisis. In the 1800s, communication with Europe wasn't as fast and America was largely isolated from developments elsewhere around the globe. However, by 1900, the world fast changing and essentially getting smaller as ships got faster and radio signals and telephone/telegraph lines could cross oceans faster than the ships could sail. This meant that events in Europe could fast trigger reactions in America, and vice versa... and after the debts Europe had to the US for loans given during World War I, that global economy was becoming a real fact...

Thus when the US stock market crashed, it drug every other country down with it, and particularly hit Germany hard, as much of its own success in the late 20s was dependent on American loans. The crash hit Germany hard and gave the Nazi Party on the extreme Right the political ammunition needed to get themselves elected into power by 1933. Which ironically also saw the growth in the German Communist Party at the same time, though they obviously weren't as successful as the Nazis were... but the massive economic downturn did have that effect in leading to internal troubles and strife...

And for the US, with some memories of the Red Scare in the 1920s, and the fact that Stalin was firmly in power in the Soviet Union and was supportive of Communist parties world wide... there was going to be some measure of fear that would apply to the US that if nothing was done by the mainstream parties, an extremist group on the Left or the Right would use the effects of the Depression to their benefit. As the people of 1932 were NOT the people of earlier eras that were more accepting of the "let the market fix itself" argument.

In this, while Republicans would attack Roosevelt for many aspects of the New Deal, and even associated it with Stalin, it still gave the American people some sense of relief from what was happening, and because it wasn't from some extremist group... it would also preserve American democracy... which didn't happen in Germany or Japan, as they would turn to extremist and militarist factions to try and handle their problems.
 

Chlodio

Ad Honorem
Aug 2016
3,523
Dispargum
#6
^ To which I would add the following clause "secure the blessings of liberty." If we understand the blessings of liberty to be accumulated wealth, and if that wealth can be destroyed by a capricious economy, then those blessings of liberty are not very secure.

As to constitutional authority for the New Deal, there is the interstate commerce clause as well as the authority to coin money and regulate the value thereof. Prior to Federal Deposit Insurance, you could put your money into a bank and if the bank went bankrupt your money became worthless. Regulation of the banks therefore preserved the value of deposits.

The idea behind the New Deal was to stimulate the economy by having the government spend money. There are few, if any, limits on what the government may choose to spend money on. If the government wants to stimulate the hoola-hoop industry by buying every American a hoola-hoop, nothing in the Constitution prohibits the government from doing so.
 
Sep 2013
819
Chattanooga, TN
#7
I have heard before that the programs of FDR's New Deal did not do much to help end the Great Depression. I heard that the Spanish Civil War indirectly helped the American economy more than the programs of FDR's New Deal. I believe America might have sold military supplies to a faction involved in the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, and that that helped end the Great Depression. Also, WW2 helped end the Great Depression by stimulating the economy a great deal.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
5,888
#8
I have heard before that the programs of FDR's New Deal did not do much to help end the Great Depression. I heard that the Spanish Civil War indirectly helped the American economy more than the programs of FDR's New Deal. I believe America might have sold military supplies to a faction involved in the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, and that that helped end the Great Depression. Also, WW2 helped end the Great Depression by stimulating the economy a great deal.
There was a ban on selling arms to either side in the Spanish Civil War. US companies did sell large amounts of war related supplies to the Nationalists / Franco and some to the Republicans. In general, US corporations, Wall Street, the "City of London", and so on were strongly pro-Nationalist. I doubt it was enough to effect the US economy much.

WWII did effectively end the Depression.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,749
SoCal
#9
I voted for FDR since I believe that he would do more to end the Great Depression and alleviate the economic plight of ordinary Americans than Hoover would.

My vote for FDR would be even more true in hindsight since we know that his New Deal actually worked--unemployment steadily decreased until 1937, when FDR foolishly began to cut back on government spending and thus triggered a new recession.
 

Sam-Nary

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
6,770
At present SD, USA
#10
I have heard before that the programs of FDR's New Deal did not do much to help end the Great Depression.
Yeah... I've heard it too, but it's come out of political Conservatives and Reaganomics supporters who have generally reiterated the idea that doing nothing and letting the "market fix itself" was the best way to go. It's then usually followed up with loose claims that FDR either caused the Great Depression or deliberately prolonged it.

And both betray the partisan politics behind the argument being made. For one, the market crash and the start of the Great Depression occurred in 1929, just after Hoover took office, so there is no way that FDR could have caused the Great Depression. There's also the factor that the deregulation of the economy during the twenties under the whole "the business of America is business" left a great many issues untouched and vulnerable. And in this, with no safety net, as it were, if ANYTHING happened that upset the economic balance in the 20s, it WOULD be catastrophic and on a scale that was never truly seen... which in the end, is what happened.

Now, one could probably argue as to how much regulation was truly needed in the twenties, and there probably COULD be some measures that would be as big as what would be done in the New Deal... but the fact remains that the twenties saw a lot of deregulation of the economy, likely a response to the increased regulation from the Progressive Era, and that the Market Crashed and things snowballed from there. By which point in even 1930, "letting the Market fix itself" was NOT going to produce a magic solution, which was why the New Deal was proposed in the first place.

The issue of it not helping much... or deliberately prolonging the depression... also comes off with little to no factual basis. FDR did promise aid and recovery and for the most part, that WAS delivered. The issue that then rose as a result of this was that it wasn't an overnight recovery. Jobs grew, the banks recovered, and the market gradually began to go up... but it relied heavily on an economic strategy that depended on stimulating the economy with an influx of money to essentially jump start it... but because this money came from the government, there was the added regulations and the criticism that Roosevelt was "wasting" people's money with an unbalanced budget...

And the recession in 1937 is often used as "proof" that Roosevelt's economic policy was deliberately holding the economy back and if only we returned to the deregulation that caused the problem in the first place, things would be better. The issue though with the 1937 recession is actually that Roosevelt pulled a complete 180 with regards to economic policy to stay in office during the 1936 election and campaigned on a balanced budget and essentially returning to what the Republicans at the time wanted. In other words, Roosevelt won in 1936 on the 1932 Republican platform and the economy went into a recession as a result. The difference, though, between FDR and his opponents is that Roosevelt could easily return to his 1932 economic policies in 1937 without serious consequence, whereas the Republicans couldn't. But... the complexities in the 1936 election would be a different issue.

And the fact remains that the New Deal actually was successful in helping America recover from the Depression, even if it wasn't as fast as what some expected. In fact the success was such that despite the fact that during his presidency, the Republicans generally promised to repeal the entirety of the New Deal as soon as they got power back... Yet, once the Republicans DID get power back under Eisenhower in the 1950s, the efforts to repeal the New Deal were either relatively minor and left much of it in tact... or didn't touch it at all. In fact, certain aspects of the New Deal, particularly Social Security, remain things that even modern Republicans will fight to save (even if their specific method is different from the Democrats), which speaks to the success of FDR's policies.

I heard that the Spanish Civil War indirectly helped the American economy more than the programs of FDR's New Deal. I believe America might have sold military supplies to a faction involved in the Spanish Civil War in the late 1930s, and that that helped end the Great Depression. Also, WW2 helped end the Great Depression by stimulating the economy a great deal.
World War 2 helped with the Great Depression in providing manufacturing jobs, but from an economic standpoint, war is not a good stimulator of economic growth. And neither is it necessarily good for the militaries in question. Particularly in the sense that the production of military hardware is not something that can be easily kept going. Eventually the US military won't need any more and the markets for surplus equipment would be limited... unless there IS a war. If there isn't, that sort of economy would crash because it wouldn't sustain itself.

You can actually see this with regard to the "German Miracle" that Hitler and the Nazis raved about. Yes, they put many Germans back to work... BUT that miracle was entirely based around Germany's remilitarization, and by 1939, the needs of the German Army were beginning to reach a point where the number of arms factories was no longer needed for a nation that was still technically at peace. In this, it is quite possible that without WW2, the German "miracle" would have collapsed under its own weight, as the German army no longer needed the massive number of civilian workers making tanks, artillery, and machine guns... Unless, they decided to retool EVERYTHING from the start all over again, which wouldn't be great for them if war did come as they'd be in the middle of retooling everything.

In this, the real success of the American economy was that it could quickly and easily retool from military related production to civilian production which would be far more sustainable in the long term than producing more military equipment.

And in this... the confrontation between Roosevelt and Hitler was more with regard to foreign policy than economic policy and really wouldn't be an issue until the 1940 election over the question of isolationism versus interventionist positions.
 

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