Pete Tops the List
" PETE'S got it made."
That was the morning line -- race track argot for the early predictions -- when Pete and his campaigners strolled into the familiar armory for the November, 1943 ballot count.
Whether it was the sheer power Pete had displayed during the campaign, or whether the word had come down from O'Dwyer that there was to be no funny stuff -- more probably the former -- all the armory habitues knew that Pete was a sure winner this time. And that he would come in high up.
Maybe the war news helped, too. The Nazis were on the run on the Eastern front after their monumental surrender in February at Stalingrad and the Red Army was moving implacably westward, chewing up the Hitler forces. In the Pacific, the U.S. forces were making steady gains after some costly island hopping. Only the opening of the Second Front in Europe remained a major question, and Pete had pounded on the issue repeatedly during the election campaign, as did the Communist Party and a substantial body of U.S. opinion. When would the mighty U.S.-British machine hit the Nazis squarely in France and defeat Hitler's Wehrmacht by forcing it to fight on two fronts, the nightmare of the Nazi generals? Or were there those in high places who wanted the Red Army to bleed itself to death first?
These were bitter and complex questions, but Pete had not hesitated to raise them with the voters of Brooklyn. He never neglected the bread- and-butter problems, not Pete, but he knew that the war was uppermost in everyone's mind and that his fellow citizens wanted it ended quickly with the smashing of the Axis. It may not have been, in the view of some finicky people, a question within the purview of the City Council, but Pete felt that he would be derelict to his duty as an anti-Fascist if he failed to raise it. He also knew that the Second Front was basically a political