October 17, 1936 - Editorial - The Passing of a Party, by George Lorimer
A distinguished and highly respected leader of the bar in one of the Southern States who cherishes the traditional Democratic Party among his dearest possessions recently expressed the opinion that the defeat of Mr. Roosevelt is necessary to save the party. How many lifelong Democrats share this opinion no one pretends to know, but the number must be large, and the reason, of course, is that, to a great extent, the Democratic Party has been absorbed and submerged in Mr. Roosevelt's New Deal.
It is self-evident that the New Deal is one thing and the Democratic Party another. This is clearly indicated by the substantial number of conspicuous Democrats, prominent as party leaders, who have repudiated the New Deal on the ground that it first repudiated the principles of their party. At least two of the former Democratic candidates for President are plainly out of sympathy with what amounts to Mr. Roosevelt's new party, as are some prominent senators.
Colonel Knox, Republican candidate for Vice-President, has gone so far as to state in his speeches that "this campaign is not a fight on the Democratic Party. That is a great party, but that great party has been seized by alien and un-American elements."
Whether consciously or unconsciously, the tendency of the New Deal has been to break down party and to create class lines. Never before has such a consistent effort been made to segregate and build up the labor vote as a separate entity. Even the relief vote is counted on, as a new class, to support Mr. Roosevelt.
He, of course, has every right to build up a new party, with leaders of a new kind and support from classes instead of along traditional American party lines. But whether he has the right to use the Democratic Party for this purpose is a very different affair.
Comments: FDR and his associates knew that they would not prevail in the polls unless the Democratic label stayed with the new party they had formed out of the old Democratic Party. The reason for this is that the vast majority of the people, as already has been pointed out, swim in the same old channels and they will not change. The candidate must wear a Democratic or Republican label or else they will not receive enough votes to win at the polls. No matter how polluted the waters in these two channels becomes, the people will not change their voting habits.