Weary of fireside platitudes, fed up on 'charm' after eight years of it, intelligent independent voters look to Willkie hopefully for a positive fighting program. It is "the independent vote" Willkie has declared, that will decide the election. Will Willkie win? The Gallup and Fortune polls say he is ahead. But in July, 1936, they told us Landon then had 276 electoral votes and would win. Roosevelt forged ahead because he had the best 'line'.(1)
Now both candidates are holding their fire. One pretends indifference, the other skilfully sidesteps. But Willkie forced Roosevelt to come out for conscription which he had avoided as political dynamite. The three-point program Willkie announced immediately after his nomination is practically the same as Roosevelt: "Defense"--O.K., but stop hysterical squandering--"Economic Rehabilitation"--O.K., but make it for all--"A United People"--O.K., but not by suppression.
Willkie's working backers fall into two groups,--the older banker group, and the younger experts in publicity and advertising.(2) If Willkie listens to the latter, he will seize the public imagination and win votes by vigorous attack on Roosevelt's vulnerable foreign policies and hysterical spending.
Let Willkie come out strong against Roosevelt "Military Expedition to South America" and his "Naval Exhibition on Asiatic Coasts". Let Willkie show that he will act for himself, not merely for the financial group that made him president of Commonwealth and Southern. Let him lead, not be led. Let him show there is no ring in his nose.(3)
Let him appeal to the American heart (purse strings) by coming out with some simple statement like, "I have been in the utility business. There have been abuses. But I have lowered rates. If I am elected president, you will get more electricity and cheaper."