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Did La Follette Found a Permanent Third Party?
"privilege”-in fact, a new political day The most discouraging fact, from the was dawning in those two nations which, standpoint of his supporters, was his above all, have demonstrated the greatest failure to demonstrate strength in the capacity for wise political action and regions where strength was most expected. which have long been models of sane In the early days of the campaign even social and industrial progress. The “pro
Senator La Follette's opponents practiletariat” had already captured Great cally conceded him 39 electoral votesBritain, and the time was approaching, it the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, North was urged, when it would capture the Dakota, South Dakota, and Montana. United States.
Of these he carried only Wisconsin, the In the exceedingly dull Presidential state which for many years has been little campaign which has just closed, the only more than a La Follette pocket borough. question of much interest was the extent It is true that in all these states La to which radicalism had gained a foothold Follette led Davis, but his vote fell so far among the American masses. Neither behind the vote of Coolidge that little Mr. Coolidge nor Mr. Davis succeeded importance attaches to this fact. In the in greatly interesting the voters in the other primarily agrarian states, such as so-called “issues” of the hour. The only lowa, Kansas, and Nebraska, the La figure who really attracted much at Follette collapse was even more comtention was Senator La Follette. There plete. These states are the main reliance was no expectation, even by Senator La of the farmers' "bloc"; several of them Follette and his followers, that he would have broken away from traditional Rewin the Presidency, but there was a publicanism in recent years, elected indegenuine fear-absurd as that now seems pendent governors and Senators; and it that he would get enough votes to dead was upon their spirit of revolt and unrest lock the Electoral College and throw the that Senator La Follette counted for the election, for the first time in a hundred basis of his new party. Third party years, into Congress. Senator La Fol- demonstrations in this region have been lette's own purpose, constantly pro a feature of American politics for sixty claimed, was that his fight was not a years. Such outbreaks as the Granger temporary one; he was laying the basis for movement in the 'seventies, and the a permanent “third party”-a party that Populist agitation in the 'nineties, were would align workingmen, farmers, indeed really much more formidable threats to wage-toilers of all kinds, against their the Republican party than recent de“oppressors.” To what extent has he partures in these states from the family succeeded? What political strength has fold. he manifested, and in what sections and The important thing, however, is that in what social classes does it lie?
these "farmer uprisings” have always
been temporary; their cause has invariLa Follette's Failure as a Candidate ably been hard times, and adverse votes
against the party in power have been F THE total vote of practically merely the agricultural method of voicing
30,000,000, Senator La Follette their grievances and expressing a belief
captured in the neighborhood that Congress should do something to of 4,000,000. Making allowances for the remedy them. The basic political stock enlarged poll, due to woman suffrage, this of these regions is a rock-like Republicanis not much more than half of President ism; when times get better and prices for Roosevelt's popular vote in 1912. Com- farm products go up,
farm products go up, the embattled pared with the popular vote of 15,000,000 farmers invariably return to their traobtained by Coolidge, and even the 8,000,- ditional allegiance. That is precisely 000 by Davis, Senator La Follette seems what is happening now.
The partial hardly to have realized his hope of laying failure of the Canadian wheat crop has the foundation of an effective third party completely changed the face of the world,
so far as the agricultural regions are con its inevitable accompaniments of high cerned. Prices have gone up, and pros rates, high wages, and a huge annual perity once more waits at the door. The deficit to be met by increased taxationfarmers, therefore, again remember that likewise did not charm them. His promthey are Republicans, and Senator La ise to do his utmost to destroy the VerFollette's chance of building a permanent sailles Treaty, and to plunge Europe into political structure on their temporary chaos and probable war at the very troubles disappears. The narrow escape moment when light was dawning on the of Senator Brookhart and the defeat of European horizon, did not seem good Senator Magnus Johnson-both political international politics.
In certain places, leaders whose careers, like Mr. La Fol notably Missouri, Senator La Follette's lette's, rest chiefly upon the farmers' appeal to the assumed disloyalty of desire for higher prices-merely add em Americans of German origin had a phasis to the situation.
contrary effect from the intended one.
Enough Germans resented the implied The "German-American” Appeal suggestion that they place Germany
above the United States to give Mr. THER elements of strength upon Coolidge a good majority in this normally which the new party depended
Democratic state. The industry of were the labor unions, the pro stimulating hyphenism for political purGerman citizens (who hoped in this way poses has suffered a severe blow. The to redress the "wrongs” of the Versailles resentment of German-Americans was Treaty and to express their general dis- evidently not confined to Missouri, for approval of the part played by the United other states in which the German stock States in the European War), and certain is a considerable element, such as lowa alien "minorities" inhabiting the crowded and Nebraska, failed to respond to this sections of great cities. The endorse- argument. ment of the American Federation of Labor has apparently availed the La Where Radicalism Is Really Found Follette cause very little. Mr. Gompers has always opposed arraying workmen as UT Senator La Follette made still a political party, and in the election re another appeal, far more dangerturns he will undoubtedly see a justifi
ous than the others; this was his cation of his policy. The fact that only attempt to enlist the support of recently 10 per cent. of American workingmen are arrived and recently enfranchised citizens, union members-a total of about chiefly those from eastern and south3,000,000—shows that, should they vote eastern Europe. The assimilation of these as a unit, they could hardly play a de- people has proved especially difficult-so cisive part in elections, and nothing is difficult, indeed, that a new immigration more certain about the recent campaign law, intended chiefly to exclude them in than that they did not vote as a unit, but the future, has become the settled remained steadfast, as individuals, to national policy. One of the objections their old party allegiances.
raised to these peoples is that, instead of An inevitable lesson from the election accepting American institutions, and is that the so-called “masses” have little informing their citizenship with the interest in Mr. La Follette's personality principles of the Constitution, they seek or his program. His proposal to abolish to supplant our machinery of government the Supreme Court, and with it our and of life with ideas imported from their constitutional system, and substitute a home land. Socialism, for example, has new scheme of government in which all made no progress in the United States; its power is to reside in Congress, did not growth here has been feeble and exotic; appeal to their sober sense. His plan for
His plan for this is not necessarily because socialism government ownership of railroads-with is a fallacy, but because it was developed
Not a Vindication of Reaction
as a cure for the ills of Europe, and has political organization suffered two such practically no application to American crushing defeats as have fallen upon the conditions. These different conditions ex Democratic party in 1920 and 1924. The plain why American radicalism, trifling in triumph of Mr. Harding four years ago its numbers, is limited chiefly to these was interpreted as a rebuke to the party foreign settlements.
which had held office during the eight Naturally Senator La Follette sought preceding years. Yet, despite the scanto enroll these alien communities under dals that have so damaged Republican his banner, and here, indeed, is found his prestige, despite the riffs that have taken one successful plea. On the east side and place in its own ranks, the fact remains Bronx districts of New York, inhabited that the poll of 1924 shows the party mainly by peoples from the east of Europe, practically as strong as in 1920. Yet the Senator disclosed a real popular fol this fact does not mean that the victorious lowing. He developed great strength in Republicans shall use their power careCleveland, which contains a great and lessly and selfishly. The triumph should miscellaneous population from the south not be interpreted as an invitation for and center of Europe. These voters are more Teapot Domes and Veteran Bureau almost the only ones who form the nucleus performances. It is not a success for of a permanent third party, but such a spoils politics. The conscience of the nucleus is a very small one, and, so long as American people is still "progressive, it is kept small, it is not particularly in the sanest meaning of that word; it dangerous.
still demands honesty and efficiency in The outcome of the election shows that public officials, economy in administrathe United States, like England, is sound, tion, the use of the national resources for sober, even conservative. That the two the benefit of the masses, and the most elections should take place in the two enlightened policy in social legislation. nations at the same time, with essentially It is the business of the Coolidge Administhe same result in each, is a suggestive tration to promote these ends. The best revelation of the fact that the political way of stimulating "radicalism" and of ideals and the political temperaments creating another La Follette who will be of the two nations are the same. It far more successful than the one whose means that together Great Britain and political career has now reached an end, the United States will offer a solid front to is to regard this great manifestation of the disintegrating forces now operating in public confidence as anything except an the world. From this standpoint, the opportunity for public service. election holds nothing but hope for the Among the satisfactions of the camoptimist. This country is not the abode paign just closed were the personal of radicalism and the time is not in sight characters of the two leading contestants. when it will become so.
Mr. Davis was a gallant and forceful But any attempt, in either Great antagonist, who fought a difficult battle Britain or the United States, to interpret with little assistance from his party the result as a vindication and license to associates; his great misfortune was that "standpattism” would be a grievous he inherited a party demoralized by a error. The success is not a “Tory” suc convention that was little better than an cess in either country, least of all in our orgy of rancor. The auspices were thus own. Political history discloses that an unfavorable from the start. Whether overwhelming victory may be disastrous Mr. Davis will ever lead his party again to the victors. It has a tendency to is extremely doubtful, but his fine intellessen the sense of responsibility. That lect gave dignity to a campaign that sadly is a danger especially facing the Republi- needed it and his character lifted the plane
cans at the present time, for the sober fact of American politics. To have triumphed h. is that at present there is really only one over such a man is not the least of the the party in this country. Seldom has a honors that have come to Mr. Coolidge.
ticle in this magazine emphasizes Treasons for his advocacy in these
The Next Step in Washington Secretary Hughes Advocates the
Cabinet in Congress
HE Secretary of State explained the once more the most glaring defect in the American constitutional sys- words: tem—the lack of sympathetic coöperation
There is, however, the possibility of imbetween the executive and legislative
provement without weakening our safedepartments. Most Americans have been
guards, by improving the methods of contact brought up to regard the separation of between the executive and the Congress. It the so-called three functions of govern- ought to be possible for Cabinet officers to take ment-judicial, legislative, and executive part in the debates in both houses on matters -as the great keystone of the Ameri- touching their departments and thus to be can edifice. There is a growing apprecia- able to give exact information and to defend tion of the fact that this idea is merely a
themselves against unjust attacks. A vast superstition, a fetish, and the attempt to
amount of time is now wasted in the Congress
over the things that are not and never were. carry it out is responsible for many of the
An ounce of fact is worth many pounds of absurdities and failures of government in
talk. Under the present arrangements, this country. That the judiciary should
Cabinet officer often hears of misunderstandbe distinct and separate is obvious, but ings and of an outpouring of mistaken notions, the closer the executive and the legisla- which a brief statement from him could have tive departments can be brought together corrected, but the misapprehension has been the better and the more smoothly will the voiced and has gone through the country, perAmerican system work. The extent to haps never to be overtaken. Mr. Justice which the Constitution separates these Story in his “Commentaries on the Constitufunctions is constantly overstressed. As
tion” says on this point: a matter of fact the Constitution gives thus precluded from proposing or vindicating
"The heads of the departments are, in fact, the President an important part in law
their own measures in the face of the nation making. It makes it his duty to submit in the course of debate, and are compelled to a legislative program at the beginning of
submit them to other men, who are either imeach session-in other words, it makes perfectly acquainted with the measures or are his the initial voice in legislation. It indifferent to their success or failure. Thus gives him the one great power held by that open and public responsibility for other national executives—the right to measures which properly belongs to the execuveto every act of Congress, a veto that tive in all governments, and especially in a cannot be overruled except by a two- republican government, as its greatest security thirds vote. What a misstatement to
and strength, is completely done away. The
executive is compelled to resort to secret and say, under these conditions, that in the United States the executive and the legis- private arrangements to accomplish his own
unseen influences, to private interviews and lature maintain a distinct existence in appropriate purposes, instead of proposing water-tight compartments!
and sustaining his own duties and measures Yet there is a pressing need to discover by a bold and manly appeal to the nation in some method of bringing these two agen the face of its representatives.” cies closer together so that the differences We can preserve the advantages of stability and quarrels that have too frequently and enhance the opportunities of executive blocked important legislation shall be leadership, not by overriding the cherished ended, or at least mollified. One way prerogatives of the Congress, or by attempting frequently suggested—it was proposed by
to gain an illicit advantage for that leadership,
but by having a recognized contact through Mr. Taft while President and is endorsed
the regular admission of Cabinet officers to by Mr. Rowell—is to give members of the
the floor of both houses of the Congress. This Cabinet the right to appear in Congress, would not require any voting power on their answer questions, and defend their policies. part o any change in the Constitution, but This idea has Mr. Hughes's approval. simply a change in procedure which could
A Constitutional Amendment Unnecessary
readily be effected by each house. I commend upon the floor would be largely to increase to your attention the report to the Senate on the influence of the executive on legislation. this subject which was made in 1881 by a Your committee does not share this apprehencommittee of which Senator Pendleton was sion. The information given to Congress Chairman, and Senators W. B. Allison, D. W. would doubtless be more pertinent and exact; Voorhees, James B. Blaine, and John J. the recommendations would, perhaps, be Ingalls, with others, were members. They presented with greater effect, but on the other said:
hand, the members of Congress would also be "The power of both houses of Congress, put on the alert to see that the influence is in either separately or jointly, to admit persons proportion only to the value of the infornot members to their floors, with the privilege mation and the suggestions; and the public of addressing them, cannot be questioned. would be enabled to determine whether the
The provision of the Constitution influence is exerted by prevision or by arthat 'no Person holding any Office under the gument. United States shall be a Member of either “This system will require the selection House during his continuance in Office' is in of the strongest men to be heads of departno wise violated. The head of a department, ments, and will require them to be well reporting in person and orally, or participating equipped with the know
equipped with the knowledge of their offices. in debate, becomes no more a member of either It will also require the strongest men to be House than does the chaplain, or the contest- leaders of Congress and participate in debate. ant or his counsel, or the Delegate. He has It will bring these strong men in contact, no official term; he is neither elected or ap- perhaps into conflict, to advance the public pointed to either house; he has no participa- weal, and thus stimulate their abilities and tion in the power of impeachment, either in their efforts, and will thus assuredly result the institution or trial; he has no privilege to the good of the country.” from arrest; he has no power to vote.
This desirable change could be made at "We are dealing with no new question. In any time under appropriate rules which would the earlier history of the government the promote the convenience both of Cabinet communications were made by the President officers and the houses of Congress. It could to Congress orally, and in the presence of both be required that questions to be addressed to or either of the houses. Instances are not the members of the Cabinet should be filed a wanting-nay, they are numerous—where the certain length of time before the appearance President of the United States, accompanied of the officer and, except when matters relating by one or more of his Cabinet, attended the to his department were under discussion, his sessions of the Senate and House of Represen- attendance would be excused. It would not tatives in their separate sessions and laid be difficult to arrange the mechanism of such before them papers which had been required contact if its importance were recognized. and information which had been asked for.
“Your committee is not unmindful of the A Cabinet Both In and Of Congress maxim that in a constitutional government the great powers are divided into legislature,
HE idea of having Cabinet repexecutive, and judicial, and that they should
resentation in Congress, advobe conferred upon distinct departments.
| cated by Mr. Hughes, might well These departments should be defined and maintained, and it is a sufficiently accurate
be pushed still farther. Perhaps the best expression to say that they should be indepen
solution would be for the President to dent of each other. But this independence in form the habit of appointing his Cabinet no just or practical sense means an entire from members of Congress-Senators separation, either in their organization or their and Representatives—who, of course, functions—isolation, either in the scope or the should still retain their membership in exercise of their powers. Such independence that body, where they would introduce or isolation would produce either conflict or
legislation pertaining to their several paralysis, either inevitable collision or inac
fields and be prepared to explain and tion, and either the one or the other would be in derogation of the efficiency of the govern
defend it at any time. This can be done
without recourse to legislation, for the ment.
"It has been objected that the effect of Cabinet as such is not a legal body. There this introduction of the heads of departments would still be secretaries of the various