Party Platforms

June 6, 1952

Report Outline
Platform Battles in National Conventions
Platform-Making and Role of Platforms
Observance and Neglect of Party Pledges

Platform Battles in National Conventions

Before the approaching national political conventions get down to the business of making presidential and vice presidential nominations, they will adopt the platforms on which the respective parties and their nominees will base their appeal to the voters. Although the platform purports to chart the course which the government will follow in domestic and foreign affairs for four years, if the party is entrusted with power, it frequently elicits no more than perfunctory attention from convention delegates. As often as not they will approve without discussion the draft submitted by the resolutions committee. Such ready acceptance may signify either an absence of controversial issues or a willingness, in the interests of party harmony, to abide by compromises worked out after a struggle within the committee. On occasion, however, divisions go too deep to be so masked, a dissatisfied committee minority brings its case to the floor of the convention, and an open battle ensues.

Prospective Controversies in 1952 Platform-Making

Platform fights which it may prove impossible to confine to the respective resolutions committees are in prospect this year for both the Republican and Democratic conventions. In the Republican convention, which starts July 7 at Chicago, questions of foreign policy and foreign aid are likely to be of major importance. The problem will be to reconcile opposing views of the Taft and Eisenhower wings of the party. Sen. Taft's recent advocacy of further cuts in the mutual aid authorization and Gen. Eisenhower's opposition to such cuts emphasized basic differences in the views of the two leaders and their followers on the subject of national security requirements.

Whether the differences will extend to Far Eastern policy, and on the domestic front to universal military training, is less certain, but in any event there will be a wide gulf to bridge in the platform planks on policies for defense of the United States and the free world. A preview of the conflict which may develop in the national convention was given May 8 by the New Jersey Republican convention. At that meeting the state platform's foreign policy plank won approval only after it had been sharply debated on the floor and denounced as “practically an endorsement of Dean Acheson's policies”.

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