Third Party Movements

July 16, 1947

Report Outline
Third Party Movement and 1948 Campaign
Difficulties of Launching a New Party
Third Parties in American Political History
Third Parties and Political Realignment
Special Focus

Third Party Movement and 1948 Campaign

Possible Emergence of New Party Led by Wallace

Political developments pointing to the possible formation of a third party led by Henry A. Wallace are beginning to cause concern in Democratic councils, for an independent Wallace candidacy in 1948 probably would split the Democratic vote and assure the election of a Republican President. Talk of organizing a liberal third party increased sharply after Congress overrode President Truman's veto of the Taft-Hartley labor bill on June 23. A week before Congress acted on the labor bill veto, Wallace, whose name figures prominently in all third-party discussion, had wound up a nation-wide speaking tour in which he demonstrated substantial popular drawing power.

In his recent speeches and in articles for the New Republic, Wallace has repeatedly brought up the possibility that a third party will take the field next year. At Washington, D. C., June 16, in the final address of his recent speaking trip, he declared: “If both parties insist on pursuing the present suicidal course toward war and depression, there will be a new party even if it has no chance of election success in 1948.” Five days later he told a national radio audience that unless the Democratic party adopted a more liberal program, “I shall no longer be a Democrat.”

Meanwhile, an incipient Wallace-for-President campaign, not disavowed by the former cabinet officer, is getting under way within the Democratic party. Former State Attorney General Robert W. Kenny of California is sponsoring a political meeting at Fresno, July 19, to line up a slate of Wallace national convention delegates for submission to the state's Democratic voters in the presidential primaries next May. Similar moves are reported to be afoot in Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

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