Jockeying for Party Position
THE METICULOUS PLANNING in American Presidential Elections is conducted by small groups behind closed doors. Leaders make plans; strategies are born; and there is give-and-take which ultimately results in appeals to groups and individuals by the political party and its nominees. The names of possible candidates are advanced for discussion (with one eye on their reception in the press and by recognized groups). Candidates potentially weak in popular appeal are virtually eliminated. Few records of this hidden activity are kept, and it is years before the public hears what really happened -- if, indeed, they ever know. There is at election time a choice among alternatives, but the nature and intensity of the alternatives is determined long before much public interest is aroused.
The planning for 1928 took place far in advance, in accordance with custom. On February 3, 1927, for example, the biographer Henry F. Pringle revealed to Franklin D. Roosevelt his intention to write a campaign biography of Alfred E. Smith. "Needless to say it will, on the whole, be friendly." It was his hope that the book would "enable the people of the country to get a clear picture of the real Smith. This should be of great benefit in the coming convention."1____________________