Political Trends and New Party Movements

May 18, 1934

Report Outline
Indications of Impending Political Realignment
The Administration and Liberal Party Movements
Political Revolt in the Middle and Far West
Plans for New Center and Radical Parties
Cooperative Commonwealth Federation of Canada

Indications of Impending Political Realignment

Afar-Reaching party realignment in the United States is seen in some quarters as the eventual outcome of present political trends and of the anticipated creation of a new party by the progressive Republicans of Wisconsin at the convention which they are to hold on May 19. The basis for establishment of a sectional progressive party in the Northwest is believed to exist in the friendly relations obtaining between the Wisconsin progressives, the Farmer-Labor party of Minnesota, and the Non-Partisan League of North Dakota. According to some observers, there is the further possibility that such a sectional organization might be expanded in 1936 into a national farmer-labor party, along the lines of the 1924 La Follette movement, by the addition of the Socialist party, some of the labor unions, and other radical and liberal groups.

Meanwhile, the division between conservatives and liberals within the two major political parties, long recognized as more real than the division between the parties themselves, has taken on special significance with the initiation of President Roosevelt's recovery program. Pursuit of a distinctly liberal course by the administration has accentuated the old internal party differences and tended to make the Democratic party a haven for all liberals and a less congenial abiding place for Democrats of conservative tendencies. The result is that the major parties are in a state of flux, with indications that a general political realignment may be developing with division on the recovery program as a starting point. Rise of the suggested third party, subscribing to more advanced political views, would supplement this basic liberal and conservative grouping.

Internal Differences in the Two Major Parties

Democratic members of Congress are forced by political considerations to support the administration program, though many of them are known to have little sympathy for its most important features. With the President still enjoying vast popular support, with elections coming in the fall, and with patronage particularly important because of the widespread unemployment, even the most conservative Democrats find it advisable to support administration measures. They all realize that, whether they like it or not, their own political fortunes are inextricably bound up with those of the President, which in turn depend largely on the success or failure of the recovery program.

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