Monday, April 18, 2016

The 1924 Democratic National Convention: Dominated by the KKK? The VP Candidate was a Socialist that Wanted to Lower Taxes!?

I was reading this article about Dark Horses in the different conventions of the past and came across this.
The Democratic Party’s 1924 nominee, however — a West Virginian named John W. Davis — was definitely a dark horse, having received the nomination only as a compromise on the record-setting 103rd ballot after neither of the two leading contenders was able to secure the necessary two-thirds majority during the first 102 rounds of voting.
I was like who did this Davis guy beat out? It turns out it was William Gibbs McAdoo from California and Al Smith who was governor from New York. The interesting part was that William Gibbs McAdoo had the support of the KKK. The KKK was powerful in those days not just in the South but in the Midwest and Northeast as well.

The Democrats, much to their credit, tried to condemn Klan violence in a plank in the convention but it lost by a vote of 542.85 in favor, 546.15 against. It shows how different things were in the past. The guy from California was supported by the Klan against the governor from New York who was Catholic to the tune of 103 ballots. The Democrats instead picked a guy from West Virginia as the candidate. There were even so many Klan people around that there was a massive rally in New Jersey called the "Klanbake."

What was also interesting was the VP nominee Charles W. Bryan the Governor of Nebraska was a weird, radical socialist.

Loquacious beyond endurance, Bryan attacked the gas companies of Nebraska and bravely tried such socialistic schemes as a municipal ice plant for Lincoln. In 1922 he had won the governorship by promising to lower taxes.

That first part seems very Sanders-esque but the idea of him winning by promising to lower taxes is a complete volte fache of normal Dem orthodoxy. There was even a woman nominated for VP named Lena Springs. History is so strange sometimes. 

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