Showing posts with label Progressive Party. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Progressive Party. Show all posts

Friday, March 09, 2012

The Presidential Election 100 Years Ago: The Same Issues

The year is 1912, and the Presidential Election is at a fever pitch. There is a growing income disparity in the country, and wealth is becoming concentrated in the hands of a few mega-corporations and their CEOs. Politics appears to be directed by Wall Street and Corporate boardrooms, and social unrest is growing. Organized Labor is both demonized and celebrated. Debt is crushing farmers. Fear of war is in the air. Entire groups of people are disenfranchised from voting. One of the political parties has adopted the following as their official party platform for the election:

- A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies (YES, this was ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO!)
- Social Security to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled
- Freedom to strike against unfair labor practices.
- Minimum wage laws
- A legal eight hour workday
- Creation of a federal Securities Commission to regulate Wall Street
- Debt relief for farmers
- Workers' compensation for work-related injuries
- An inheritance tax
- A Constitutional amendment to permit a graduated federal income tax
- Universal right of Women to vote
- Direct election of Senators instead of appointment by state legislatures
- Primary elections for state and federal nominations
- Reductions in tariffs that raised cosumer prices
- Limits on the production of military armaments
- Public Works Projects to improve waterways & transportation

The central theme of the campaign was expressed in this platform clause:

“To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”

To accomplish this, the Party Platform supported:

- Strict limits and disclosure requirements on political campaign contributions (Yes, we've been debating this for 100 years...)
- Registration of lobbyists
- Recording and publication of Congressional committee proceedings
- Strong national regulation and permanent active supervision of major corporations.

The Party's candidate for President would infuriate southern racists by dining with blacks on multiple occasions, and the Party would openly admit blacks to the nominating convention. A Woman would deliver one of the nominating speeches.

Now . . . Which Party was this?

If it sounds like the Democratic Party - it wasn't.

It wasn't the Republicans, either...although it was a party formed largely of ex-Republicans.

It was a third Party, the Progressive (or “Bull Moose”) Party, who nominated Theodore Roosevelt that year.

Democrat Woodrow Wilson would go on to win the Presidency that year with a minority (41.8%) of the vote. But the Progressives, running as a “Third Party,” would take 27% of the national vote, outpolling the Republicans and winning 6 states (California, Minnesota, Michigan, Washington, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota.)

Rather than being a “wasted vote,” their ideas would impact the platforms of both major parties for generations to come.

Just some Food for Thought.

Green Party USA

Green-Rainbow Party of Massachusetts

American Progressive Party (not an officially established Party)

Progressive Party of Oregon

Progressive Party of Vermont

Progressive Party of Washington

Working Families Party of New York

Libertarian Party