The Republican Dilemma: Conservatism or Progressivism

By Conrad Joyner | Go to book overview

THE DECADES OF ACCOMMODATION: 1940-60

In the haste and confusion of Philadelphia many Republican delegates had been carried forward on the crest of a tidal wave of popular support for Willkie. During the campaign of 1940 and afterward, until Willkie's death in 1944, the Republican party was led by a man who was unashamed of his espousal of many New Deal goals and who was committed to what for most Republicans was a complete anathema -- "One World" -- in international affairs. After 1940 the Republicans would not make the mistake of nominating a political free-lancer like Willkie; even so they could not throw off Willkie's imprint. The party was never to be the same.

Despite the vigorous campaign Willkie waged in 1940 he could not overcome the strong attachment of farmers and laborers to Roosevelt. Moreover the same consideration -- the gravity of the world situation -- which had caused many to advocate his nomination was a major factor in influencing the voters to support Roosevelt as a proven leader. In addition to these factors, Willkie's campaign was confused and disorganized. These same two elements had been present in his contest for the nomination, and they had seemed to help rather than hinder him. However, in a nationwide campaign in which voters had to be given strong reasons for breaking their traditional loyalties, confusion and disorganization made it appear that Willkie was not capable of national leadership. Even with these liabilities Willkie polled more votes than any previous Republican presidential candidate. He had cut the President's margin in half and had garnered more votes than Dewey would in 1944 or 1948.

One week after the election, Willkie issued a patriotic call to all Republicans, designating their proper role as that of the "loyal opposition." A number of Republican official organizations considered resolutions condemning Willkie. The publicity director of the Republican

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The Republican Dilemma: Conservatism or Progressivism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • 1940 · the Republican Travail 1
  • Taft, Dewey, and Vandenberg 9
  • The Immortal Amateur 31
  • We Want Willkie" 49
  • Why They Wanted Willkie 63
  • The Decades of Accommodation: 1940-60 71
  • The Republican Dilemma 87
  • I N D E X 100
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