Discussion:
FDR elected US Senator 1914
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David Tenner
2017-09-29 04:21:45 UTC
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The worst electoral defeat ever suffered by Franklin D. Roosevelt was his
1914 attempt to win a US Senate seat from New York. Some people in the Wilson
administration (where FDR was serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy)
thought it would be a good idea for him to challenge Tammany Hall--and the
ambitious young man readily agreed. FDR would probably have done better to
consult Louis Howe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Howe first (Howe once
said he had accompanied FDR to Washington precisely to talk him out of snap
decisions...) but Howe didn't learn about the decision until FDR had
committed himself. So the ever-loyal Howe left for New York to run FDR's
campaign. For the first time, the nomination was going to be decided by a
primary, and the election by the people, not the legislature. FDR and Howe
probably hoped that Tammany boss Murphy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Francis_Murphy would support either
some hack or the very controversial William Randolph Hearst. But Murphy was
too smart to do either of those things, and instead chose James W. Gerard,
Wilson's ambassador to Germany. It was a shrewd move: Gerard was both well-
respected and rich, and had been a major contributor to Wilson's presidential
campaign (which of course was how he got his post in Berlin...) So any chance
of the Wilson administration backing FDR was dead. Gerard crushed FDR 62.08%-
29.64% http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=164609 (This was a
worse defeat for FDR than his 1920 defeat--not only in percent of the vote,
but because in 1920, nobody blamed him for the Democratic ticket's loss,
since he was simply Cox's running mate. In 1914 there was nobody to blame but
himself.) Gerard went on to lose in November to Republican James W. Wadsworth
by 47.04%-42.06%. http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=36437

Is there any way we can get FDR elected US Senator in 1914? It is certainly a
long shot at best. You would probably need to have Murphy die a decade early,
and someone much less sagacious head Tammany Hall, so they would pick a weak
candidate. Yet even if nominated, FDR would be an underdog in November,
though perhaps as a Roosevelt, an Upstater, and an outspoken "reformer" he
could get some votes that went for Wadsworth or the Progressive candidate
Colby in OTL.

Anyway, suppose FDR defies the odds and does indeed get elected US Senator in
1914? Maybe with a position like that, he could get not the vice-presidential
but the *presidential* nomination in 1920--and then lose so heavily that he
would never be considered for the presidency again...
--
David Tenner
***@ameritech.net
VGer47
2017-10-06 18:04:03 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by David Tenner
The worst electoral defeat ever suffered by Franklin D. Roosevelt was his
1914 attempt to win a US Senate seat from New York. Some people in the Wilson
administration (where FDR was serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy)
thought it would be a good idea for him to challenge Tammany Hall--and the
ambitious young man readily agreed. FDR would probably have done better to
consult Louis Howe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Howe first (Howe once
said he had accompanied FDR to Washington precisely to talk him out of snap
decisions...) but Howe didn't learn about the decision until FDR had
committed himself. So the ever-loyal Howe left for New York to run FDR's
campaign. For the first time, the nomination was going to be decided by a
primary, and the election by the people, not the legislature. FDR and Howe
probably hoped that Tammany boss Murphy
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Francis_Murphy would support either
some hack or the very controversial William Randolph Hearst. But Murphy was
too smart to do either of those things, and instead chose James W. Gerard,
Wilson's ambassador to Germany. It was a shrewd move: Gerard was both well-
respected and rich, and had been a major contributor to Wilson's presidential
campaign (which of course was how he got his post in Berlin...) So any chance
of the Wilson administration backing FDR was dead. Gerard crushed FDR 62.08%-
29.64% http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=164609 (This was a
worse defeat for FDR than his 1920 defeat--not only in percent of the vote,
but because in 1920, nobody blamed him for the Democratic ticket's loss,
since he was simply Cox's running mate. In 1914 there was nobody to blame but
himself.) Gerard went on to lose in November to Republican James W. Wadsworth
by 47.04%-42.06%. http://www.ourcampaigns.com/RaceDetail.html?RaceID=36437
Is there any way we can get FDR elected US Senator in 1914? It is certainly a
long shot at best. You would probably need to have Murphy die a decade early,
and someone much less sagacious head Tammany Hall, so they would pick a weak
candidate. Yet even if nominated, FDR would be an underdog in November,
though perhaps as a Roosevelt, an Upstater, and an outspoken "reformer" he
could get some votes that went for Wadsworth or the Progressive candidate
Colby in OTL.
Anyway, suppose FDR defies the odds and does indeed get elected US Senator in
1914? Maybe with a position like that, he could get not the vice-presidential
but the *presidential* nomination in 1920--and then lose so heavily that he
would never be considered for the presidency again...
Maybe Murphy simply catches a severe cold or something that impaires his judgement at the right moment, causing him to pick a much weaker candidate than Gerard? Seems a smaller change than having Murphy die ten years early.

VGer47

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