Henry Wallace: A Divided Mind
A native of Colorado who entered Amherst with the Class of 1918, GARDNER JACKSON started what he calls his checkered career, after getting out of the Army in the First World War, as a bond salesman. Then came newspaper work in Denver, Boston, and Washington and his passionate defense of Sacco and Vanzetti. Mr. Jackson was Assistant Consumers' Counsel for the AAA (1933-1935); Washington representative for the Southern Tenant Farmers Union (1935-1936); legislative representative for John L. Lewis (1936-1940); special assistant to the Secretary and the Under Secretary of Agriculture (1941-1942); co-organizer of Food for Freedom, Inc. (1943-1944); assistant to the president and board of the National Farmers Union (1945-1947).
Less than a year after Henry A. Wallace was appointed Secretary of Agriculture one of his principal ghost writers told me he felt uncomfortable collaborating with the new Secretary. "He's unlike anyone with whom I've worked before," said this writer, who had been in the Department of Agriculture several years before Wallace took it over. "He gives me an eerie feeling that he really isn't listening when I talk with him. He may be listening with his brain, but certainly not with his guts. He doesn't seem to know how to have a belly-laugh—least of all at himself. He gives me a strong impression of considering himself a man of destiny, a person answering calls the rest of us don't hear."
These remarks of the ghost writer throw light on Wallace's decision to embark upon his present campaign. Wallace obviously is pursuing what he deems to be his destiny. If this were not so, it is reasonably certain there would have been no Third Party campaign—or New Party campaign, as he and his associates label it.
The central committee of the U.S.A. Communist Party at its October, 1947, meeting could have laid its most devious and high-powered plans for the campaign. It could have been assured of ample supplies of money with which to retain skilled artificers of screen, radio, and print. All would have availed little had the "confused liberal" not seen his destiny along a road paralleling the one charted by the Communist high command. At best a campaign without Wallace—with a less well known figure—would have been such a fizzle the newsprints would have relegated it to a few stickfuls in the back pages.
The campaign, then, is a Wallace-seeking-his-destiny campaign. It is not a Communist Party campaign, despite the closeness with which he has hewn to the Kremlin's Party line and despite the number of Party members and Party-liners manning the machinery of the campaign. Wallace turned a deaf ear to many of his friends and former associates who pleaded with him not to take the step. But their earnest arguments were deflected by the Communist and other voices, both from outside and from within himself, which impel Wallace on.
Sir Willmott Lewis, emeritus Washington correspondent of the London Times, may have given a clue to the Wallace enigma in responding to a query on the campaign. "One of my British friends," Sir Willmott remarked, "commenced to declaim on what a singular fellow Wallace is. I quickly interrupted him. "No, no!" I said. "You're wrong. The trouble is he's plural." Trying to figure out which self of Wallace's plural nature is listening to what call has long been a Washington preoccupation.
Wallace brought to the New Deal cabinet in 1933 a wide and practical agricultural experience in the rich corn-hog state of Iowa. He was steeped in the tradition of his grandfather and father, whose strong character and imaginative thinking helped so much to develop the state. He himself enhanced the family reputation by distinguished experiments in genetics—the best-known being that which resulted in a greatly improved hybrid seed corn. He also had contributed notable thinking on the social and economic problems of farming. Roosevelt had more than ample grounds for selecting Wallace on the basis of his accomplishments alone.
Wallace became a hero and symbol for liberals when they were working in the government with him, when they were projecting their ideas into and through him—and when they were shielding his reputation from the tarnishing effects of his various sorties into the occult typified by the Roerich affair and his fascination with numerology and Navajo Indian medicine men. Only a handful of Wallace's former associates are with him in his present crusade. A majority of the others—though they are as deeply disturbed at the incredible mishandling of American foreign policy by the Truman administration as Wallace—have lost confidence in him.
Their loss of confidence is not based on fear of risking their jobs and salaries if they should go with Wallace—a charge he made publicly when asked why so few of his former colleagues are in his camp. This callous accusation reveals either a complete lack of feeling for past relationships, or the exaltation of martyrdom, which persuades him that every former friend who now opposes him is animated by base motives. I believe it is a combination of both.
The first considerable talk I had with Wallace concerned the fight a number of us in the Agricultural Adjustment Administration were making to keep the price of milk to the consumer within reason while increasing the income of the dairy farmer. The milk industry—National Dairy Products, Inc., its big processing and distributing members and affiliates in the major cities, and leaders of the milk marketing associations supplying those cities—bitterly resisted our efforts to hold margins down. Early in the fall of 1934 the leaders of the industry held a secret meeting in Philadelphia to perfect plans designed to eliminate from the AAA some of us active in the tussle, and to force Wallace out of the secretaryship if he wouldn't go along.
The plan was to supplant Wallace with Chester C. Davis, who was then Administrator and who had perceptibly cooled towards our program. Through a lawyer representing one of the big processors, I learned details of the meeting. I wrote Wallace a personal note apprising him of the designs being laid to get his scalp and the scalps of certain of his lieutenants. The next day he asked me to come to his office. I was at the time Assistant Consumers' Counsel and had violated strict administrative procedure by addressing a note personally to him. He sat silent gazing into the distance while I unfolded my warning.
When I finished he roused himself from his reverie and said, "I don't understand you—you and your friend Justice Brandeis. When you see something you think is wrong, you want to do something about it right away. You want to act quickly. I'm not like that. I'd rather sit under a tree and let the cycle of time help heal the situation." As he said this he made a circular motion with his right arm. Then he ended the conversation by adding, "I know in Rex [Tugwell] and Chester [Davis] I've got two ill-matched horses in harness together. I may have to let one of them go when we get a bit further down the road. I can't tell now which it will be." Not a word from him evaluating the views of Tugwell and Davis—only a casual observation that he might have to make a political choice between them.
Approximately six months later he had made his decision. A number of us, including Jerome Frank, the AAA General Counsel and an intimate of Tugwell's, were given peremptory dismissal notes by Administrator Davis. Davis did not dare dismiss Tugwell because of the latter's intimacy with Roosevelt. Tugwell was, however, transferred from the Department to head the newly established Resettlement Administration. A legal opinion by Frank supporting enforcement of more equitable distribution of benefit payments to sharecroppers in the cotton South was the pretext Davis used in addition to the milk controversy. Most of us couldn't believe that Wallace had sanctioned the action. Only two days before, he had upheld us in a long-drawn-out struggle with the Administrator over a basic principle: namely, that in all marketing agreements and codes entered into during the economic emergency, with the antitrust laws in abeyance, the government should have the right to examine the books and records of the industry involved.
Late in the day of our dismissal Wallace sent word that he would see two of the people on the dismissal list. Jerome Frank and a member of his legal staff, Alger Hiss, were delegated for the interview. Wallace haltingly greeted them (and, through them, others on the list) as "the best fighters in a good cause" he had ever worked with. But he said that he had to fire them. Frank asked him why he hadn't talked it over with us beforehand as his friends and assistants instead of letting Davis wield the axe—we might not have agreed with his reasoning, but we would at least have seen how he arrived at the judgment. He replied that he just couldn't face us.
Despite this denial of normal human amenities between friends and co-workers—not to mention a sacrifice of principles for political expediency—many of us continued to back Wallace. We had put too much of ourselves into him to let go of him. We rejoiced in his nomination and election to the Vice Presidency. We did whatever we could to uphold his hand as chairman of the Board of Economic Warfare in the fundamental controversy with the head of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, Jesse Jones, over procurement and stockpiling policies on critical war materials. The leader of the BEW's side of that explosive fight was not Wallace. It was Milo Perkins, executive director of the BEW, whose vision and courage carried Wallace into actions he himself would not have taken.
Dismissed by Roosevelt from the BEW post along with Jones at the climax of that battle, Wallace took on more than ever, in the eyes of many liberals, the aspect of a crusading Galahad. But the machine politicians of the Democratic Party, who gagged when Roosevelt forced Wallace down their throats as Vice-Presidential candidate in the 1940 convention, had by this time determined he was a political liability. With the approach of the 1944 convention it was clear they had persuaded the President of this also.
Nor were the machine politicians the only ones wanting to dump Wallace. It is ironic to recall that a couple of months before the convention C. B. Baldwin, Wallace's present campaign manager, was ready to throw Wallace overboard. Baldwin was then the executive vice-chairman of the National Citizens Political Action Committee. Clark Foreman, Wallace's present campaign treasurer, and others active at top levels of the NCPAC had come to the same conclusion. So had Sidney Hillman and some of his CIO-PAC assistants. Baldwin participated in a conference at the White House with Roosevelt to try to come to agreement on a substitute. Only because CIO President Philip Murray went to bat for Wallace with a crackdown on Hillman, Baldwin, and the others was a serious division of forces behind Wallace averted. Because of Murray's action the demonstration that night at the Chicago 1944 convention came within a hair of nominating Wallace instead of Truman. It was prevented from doing so only by Convention Chairman Samuel D. Jackson's abrupt adjournment of the session.
I talked a number of times with Wallace during that convention. It was there, I believe, that he felt for the first time his developing power as a spellbinder. His speech to the convention was the best political speech he had ever made. He was no longer the diffident, inarticulate geneticist torn between his search for the truths of the natural sciences and his search for personal security in supernaturalism. He was well on the way to becoming a rabble-rouser drinking in the response of the crowd and learning how to elicit that response to satisfy his thirst—a complete metamorphosis of his outward self.
The next significant stage in Wallace's evolution into his present crusade was his acceptance of the consolation prize Roosevelt offered him, the Secretaryship of Commerce. When rumbles began in the Senate against his confirmation, particularly if the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (renamed the Federal Loan Agency) remained in his domain as Secretary, he let it be known in high moral terms, friend and foe, that he would not take the job unless it included the RFC. That multi-billion dollar agency, first established by Herbert Hoover in a vain attempt to prevent the debacle of the speculative-banking economy during the last years of his Administration, was in Wallace's mind a potential instrument of major social amelioration and change. In the end, confronted with an adamant Senate, he accepted confirmation to the Commerce post stripped of control over the RFC. He had once again made a moral declaration and abandoned it in the pinch.
Wallace's endorsement of the unbelievable Johannes Steel, radio commentator, for Congress in 1946, plus his praise of Vito Marcantonio as having "the best voting record in the House," caused some of us finally to stop giving Wallace the benefit of the doubt. Steel entered the primaries in the 19th District, New York City, against the Democratic incumbent, Arthur G. Mein, whose voting record, from a liberal point of view, was well above average.
Nothing that happened after he took Steel to his bosom surprised us. His letter to President Truman on the Baruch atomic energy program for the United Nations and his Madison Square Garden speech in September, 1946, might have been anticipated. It was almost inevitable that his atomic energy letter would distort the facts, and that, when confronted by Mr. Baruch and his associates with demonstrable errors, he would agree to revise what he had said and then never do so. And it is significant that he omitted some sentences adverse to Soviet policies and tactics in his Madison Square Garden speech when the booing grew.
Even before the Steel endorsement, there had been a clear tipoff on Wallace's changing frame of mind. In a speech before the Congress of American Soviet Friendship at Madison Square Garden on November 8, 1942, while he was still Vice-President, he voiced his loss of faith in "political or bill-of-rights democracy." He agreed with those in the United States who believe that we have overemphasized that type of democracy. "Carried to its extreme form," he declared, "it leads to rugged individualism, exploitation, impractical emphasis on states' rights and even to anarchy." Then he added, "Russia, perceiving some of the abuses of excessive political democracy, has placed strong emphasis on economic democracy. This, carried to an extreme, demands that all power be centered in one man and his bureaucratic helpers. Somewhere there is a practical balance between economic and political democracy."
Despite the qualifications with which he sought to surround this abnegation of faith in "political or bill-of-rights" democracy, it can fairly be interpreted as an announcement by him that in our present stage of evolution the peoples of the world cannot be trusted to carry on their struggle as free men for a better life—that at least a moderate application of the methods and procedures of authoritarianism or dictatorship is required for their own good. The key to his whole New Party campaign is to be found here.
In many of his campaign speeches he has tried to deny this. One of these speeches—at Evansville, Indiana, April 6, a month after the Czech crisis—reworded his state of mind with special clarity. "Though I detest the whole idea of dictatorships," he declared, "there is a great difference between the fascist dictatorship, which tries to perpetuate itself for its own profit, power, and glory, and the dictatorship in the Soviet Union which has as its goal an economy of abundance for all its people and the eventual dissolution of the dictatorship. The fascist dictatorship must expand its working area. It must seek new sources of raw materials, new markets for its goods, and new people to exploit. This necessity is not inherent in the dictatorship in Russia. The Russians have no necessity to expand their borders, nor will they for many decades to come, except as external threats and pressures compel them to seek military security."
In that rationalization he closed his eyes to the facts of Russian imperialism. Of more significance, he turned his back on the sameness of the methods and processes of dictatorships—the brutal destruction of individuals, singly and en masse. He rejected the findings of the best minds of the ages, from Plato to John Dewey, that the means to an end inexorably shape the end, and he slammed the door against those who believe that bloody dictatorship is more evil when clothed in moral protestations than when it asserts itself as naked might.
A number of liberal Senators, both Democratic and Republican, after trying to get behind the veil of Wallace's destiny-yearning while he was presiding over the Senate, reached substantially this opinion about him: that he had made up his mind that governmental collectivism is inevitable throughout the world, including this country and the Western Hemisphere; that the Soviet brand of this "wave of the future" is preferable to other brands; and that he himself is specially designated to ride that wave and channel its course when it rolls across our land. Their opinion is supported, it seems to me, by steadily mounting evidence.
For some of us who worked with him in years past, the most shocking experience comes in comparing the positions he is taking in this campaign (including those set forth in his campaign book, Towards World Peace) with the positions he took in action while in government. A typical example is his fervent and self-righteous outcry, on every campaign occasion, over discrimination against the Negroes and over exploitation of the lowly and downtrodden as exemplified by the sharecroppers. But his record as Secretary of Agriculture on that score was bad enough to invite the present opposition of Walter White, Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and of other Negro leaders.
He didn't really start to redress the gross administration inequities under the AAA Act suffered by the sharecroppers in the South until many months after he had dismissed our group. And that purge was in part because we tried to do something about that distressing situation. Nor did his elevation to the Vice-Presidency seem to encourage him to take a more forthright stand on this issue which is now part of his stock in trade. He literally ran away—physically, down the Senate Office Building corridors—according to members of a delegation who waited three hours for him beyond their appointment time to tell him why they felt that a Negro sharecropper from Virginia, Odell Waller, had been unjustly sentenced to execution for murder. Wallace, as members of the delegation describe the incident, slipped out of his inner office door just as the delegation was leaving the outer office. One of the delegation, Mary McLeod Bethune, noted Negro woman leader, gave chase calling, "Mr. Wallace, this is a great tragedy. We must talk to you." To which the Vice-President, according to members of the delegation, replied over his shoulder, "There's nothing I can do," as he disappeared around the corner. Harassed by the widespread publication of this episode in the Negro press, Wallace has said it didn't happen. But, despite their joint efforts in a personal interview, he and his manager have been unable to persuade Mrs. Bethune to give them a letter denying the occurrence. Nor have any other members of the delegation been found to deny it.
Even more recently—during his Secretaryship of Commerce—Wallace's attitudes and actions on this problem of discrimination aroused the outspoken hostility of Negro organizations and their leaders. He insisted that segregation policies in the National Airport restaurant, under his jurisdiction, could not be changed because it is located across the District of Columbia line in Virginia and is operated by a private concessionaire who sets the policies. Secretary of War Stimson, confronted with the same circumstances as to location and operation, by concession, of the cafeterias in the War Department's Pentagon Building, found no difficulty in establishing a non-segregation policy.
The deep resentment of non-Communist Negroes towards Wallace is shown in the following paragraph from an editorial in the February, 1948, issue of the Crisis, monthly publication of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People: --
"Under his secretaryship, the Department of Commerce was more than ordinarily ridden with humiliating separation of workers because of color, and limitation of promotion for the same reason.
While in the latter months of 1947, just before the announcement of his candidacy, Mr. Wallace was railing against segregation and refusing to speak to separated audiences, for five or six years prior to that time he had dodged speaking before conventions of the NAACP, the organization which has had 'no segregation' as its war cry since it was formed. While turning aside NAACP invitations, Mr. Wallace found time to speak several times at Tuskegee, an institution where white and colored guest speakers are sent to separate guest houses."
Admittedly this is a difficult issue but Wallace's glorification of his running mate, Democratic Senator Glen H. Taylor of Idaho, for inviting rough handling and arrest by the Birmingham police, when the Senator tried in May to enter a Negro entrance to an auditorium there, is in contrast with his own performance. Wallace's inadequacy on this issue is not likely to be wiped out by the between the lines confession in his California speaking tour, in May, that he hadn't done all he should have done on the problem when he was in government.
A similarly sharp reversal of position is found in his stand on the Equal Rights Amendment advocated by the Woman's Party. For several years prior to his New Party campaign he championed that proposal. I was with him on an inspection of the White Motor Company war plant in Cleveland in the winter of 1943 when he experienced a reaction from the women workers which greatly impressed him and threw him more strongly on the Equal Rights Amendment side.
He was addressing several thousand workers in the plant yard, a large proportion of them women. With gestures from the truck serving as his rostrum, he was describing the outpouring of improved kitchen and household appliances which would come after the war from many of the factories then turning out war materials. He was picturing a new life of leisure for the housewife. "So," he declared, "when you go back into your homes ... " At that point the women hissed and booed resoundingly. His arm was upraised in gesture when this happened. He kept it there for an instant or two as he shifted his face away from the microphone to look with a stunned expression at the crowd. Then he added, "If you want to," at which the women clapped and cheered. "That means something!" he said with feeling as we rode back in a taxi to the hotel. It was not surprising to note him among the Woman's Party supporters soon after that.
But in his May 8 campaign speech at the Commodore Hotel, New York City, to the founding conference of the New York State Women for Wallace, he again about-faced. After analyzing the economic and legal disabilities of women, and proposing remedial legislation, he declared, "I oppose the so-called Equal Rights Amendment which would destroy all existing legislation for the protection of women."
In several of his speeches he has played upon the evil of the Franco dictatorship in Spain and what he says is this country's encouragement of it through trade and diplomatic relations. During the Spanish civil War, as I came to know well while trying to help Loyalist Ambassador de los Rios, Wallace was the least responsive of the cabinet members who were approached to exercise influence on specific problems in behalf of the Loyalist government, such as arranging the servicing of that government's funds in New York City and the campaign to have the arms embargo lifted. His attitude was in sharp contrast to that of Secretary Morgenthau and Secretary Ickes. Wallace apparently did not then see Franco as the menace he now considers him.
These and numerous other about-faces might be discounted as the ordinary inconsistencies of an ambitious politician. It might be said that when, for example, he bemoaned in one of his Middle West campaign speeches the difficulty of getting the U.S. Agricultural Extension Service to give attention to the needs of the small farmers, he was merely having a to-be-expected politician's blackout of memory regarding his own responsibility for the condition out of which he now seeks to make political capital. In the framework of political exigencies, according to this mode of interpretation, he should not now be held to account for having failed to make a single significant move, as Secretary of Agriculture, to put into effect his early promise that he would divorce the tax-supported Extension Service from actual control, in several major agricultural states, by the American Farm Bureau Federation, a private farm organization representing in those states the big, corporate, absentee-ownership type of farming, the so-called master farmers. Wallace flies back and forth across the country, however, as no ordinary politician but as a candidate fired solely by deep humanitarianism and the desire to spread ideas designed to bring about universal peace and prosperity.
The techniques of his mass meetings at Madison Square Garden and elsewhere are designed to play on people's emotions and cloud their judgment—the single spotlight in the darkened auditorium focused on the lone speaker (the holy leader) surrounded by a battery of microphones on a platform in the center of the vast assemblage rising tier on tier on all sides of it; the organized chants through a loud-speaker system proclaiming the urgency of the need and the self-sacrificing courage of the savior eager to lead humanity to salvation; the spotlight ceremony of lighting the path of the savior when he threads his way among the multitude to and from the platform amid the exulting cheers of his followers. These techniques are a far cry from the old torchlight parades and other traditional methods employed by Theodore Roosevelt in his 1912 Bull Moose effort to reach the White House and by Senior Bob La Follette in his 1924 campaign. They are borrowed from the Sportpalast in Berlin and the Red Square in Moscow and a modern technology applied to make the individual sink his identity in the herd.
Wallace's speeches, furnished to him primarily by Lew Frank, Jr., a Peace Mobilizer till Hitler moved against Russia; the taut-larynxed manner in which Wallace utters them in his new incarnation as Messiah; and the increasing anxiety of hordes of his listeners combine to make his audience completely overlook Wallace's reckless distortion and frequent errors.
A typical example was his accusation of Laurence A. Steinhardt, U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia of having instigated a rightist plot against the Benes-Masaryk regime which, Wallace asserted was one of the chief factors causing the Communist coup and Masaryk's death there. Faced with Steinhardt's denial and citation of the fact that he was absent from Czechoslovakia at the time, Wallace refused to retract his palpably false charge and retreated into the weak contention that Steinhardt's earlier expression of hope that Czechoslovakia would reconsider and participate in the Marshall Plan (the ERP) was a deliberate incitation of the rightist revolt against Benes and Masaryk.
Illuminating the anguish-beclouded state of mind of Wallace's followers is the Gallup poll of April, which showed that 47 per cent of those who professed an intention at that time to vote for Wallace were still supporting the ERP though he had long since denounced it as a scheme of Wall Street.
Wallace has been taking in large sums of money on his speaking trips. The New York Post on June 4 carried a report from a correspondent who had covered Wallace's Western trip, estimating that in collections and admissions to his meetings Wallace had brought into his campaign coffers about $390,000. This was a 25-day trip starting with a Madison Square Garden meeting where he collected $100,000. In addition to these sources of funds Wallace's campaign has had large contributions ranging from $1000 to $5000 from wealthy individuals typified by Mrs. Elinor Gimble. Howard Norton in the Baltimore Sun of May 12 reported a contribution of $10,000 to the campaign from the Greek-American Committee for Wallace; a pledge of $25,000 from the Armenian-American Committee; and one of $10,000 from Local 65 of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union CIO. I estimate that between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000 will be spent in the Wallace crusade.
No newspaper reporter dealing with the Wallace campaign whom I was able to find in checking the facts for this article gainsays the validity of a considerable portion of Wallace's attack upon the Truman administration's foreign policy is Wallace's only significant appeal for support. Many of these reporters agree with him on his opposition to Universal Military Training. Many of them agree with him on his opposition to reimposition of Selective Service. A sizable proportion of them sympathize with his opposition so-called Truman Doctrine in Greece. And not one of them dissents from his shouting to high heaven about the Truman administration's sidestepping the United Nations. But not one of them is for him. They conversationally blast the rough stuff pulled on Baldwin and some of the other Wallace contingent at Evansville, Indiana, the denial of hotel rooms to Wallace and his group because of the Negro singer, Paul Robeson, at Indianapolis, dismissal of Wallace supporters at Evansville College and elsewhere, and all similarly stupid conduct of superpatriots.
But by the same token, they condemn the provocative exaggeration of Wallace's attacks, his avoidance of direct answers to their questions, and the framed-up stunts by people running his campaign. A little-known example of the latter was the meeting for him of Johns Hopkins University students. The PCA had rented Levering Hall on the campus for a noon meeting for Wallace. That morning posters appeared on trees on the campus proclaiming that the university authorities had withdrawn use of Levering Hall and that the meeting would accordingly be held in an adjoining street. A sound truck blared the same announcement as it cruised along the streets around the campus. The announcement was untrue but it created the type of martyrdom atmosphere Wallace and his promoters desire. In his speech Wallace said he expected to be denied facilities in the West but had not expected it in the East. He thus personally furthered the untruth.
Newspapermen naturally resent Wallace's charge, repeated over and over, that the newspapers print nothing but slander concerning him and his campaign. Almost daily he slurs the conscientious attempts of a majority of them to report the facts accurately and interpret them with sober reflection. Some of those with whom I talked think Wallace has become so habituated to belaboring devils that he now believes they actually exist.
Over one aspect of his present manifestations there is sharp difference of opinion among reporters assigned to his campaign. That is his insistent assertion that he knows only one or two Communists in this country and doesn't know how to identify the American brand of non-card-displaying Communists in general. Some say this is palpably a pose on his part. They point out that he got a thorough education in the functioning of the Communist mind during his trip to Europe in the fall of 1947. They contend that he simply wants to keep his eyes closed to the nature of the people in large part manning the machinery of his New Party.
Others believe he is so enveloped in what they think now amounts almost to a paranoic fog that he really doesn't recognize Communists or Party-liners when he encounters them. Reporters entertaining this opinion credit him with an unstudied reaction when he said, some weeks after the appointment had been made, that he didn't know former CIO General Counsel Lee Pressman had been selected as secretary of the New Party platform committee. His astonishment on that occasion was, according to this view, merely another piece of evidence proving Wallace has put himself so completely in the hands of others that he doesn't know from day to day what his party decisions and maneuvers are.
As this is written (June), estimates of the vote Wallace is likely to get range from three to ten million. James A. Farley sets the figure at five million. Wallace himself, in confidential discussions with his associates, expresses his hope to get at least four million—thus to equal Senior Bob La Follette's 1924 total. In these discussions he bluntly proclaims his wish that the Republicans take over the White House.
He expects and intends to make his greatest inroads in the Democratic fold. He was really not "playing make-believe" when he said in March that Senator Robert A. Taft was his favorite candidate. He convinced himself that the Democratic Party is in literal fact under Truman a "war party." He really believes that the President is surrounded by advisers and cabinet members who are collaborating with certain industrialists and financiers in a cold-blooded program of war materiel production for the sake of maintaining the lush profit level of the war years. He has come to the astounding conclusion that when the Republicans, take over the White House they will be less eager to maintain lush profit levels and will consequently not be a "war party." The implication of his stand is that the Republicans will be able speedily to ease strain between the Soviet Union and the United States and achieve peace. He hopes for a large Wallace vote partly to help ensure a Republican victory and partly to give him and his following leverage with the victors.
Wallace's following includes no significant organization support other than the PCA, the Communist and the Communist-led CIO unions. The Townsendites, for whose votes he has made a special play, failed at a recent convention in Washington, D.C. to adopt a resolution endorsing him. The bulk of his following is composed of tens of thousands of men and women whose consciences have been outraged by the postwar materialistic fixation in the United States. He is a symbol for these multitudes whose fears for their sons and daughters are deep and justified in a bitterly divided atomic (and bacterial warfare) world.
True, conditions are rotten-ripe for his use—with the tragic bungling of the Palestine problem and the appalling fiasco of the Soviet-United States exchange of notes in May as his made-to-order examples—and Wallace is trading on them in words and methods calculated to exacerbate the very conditions he professes to want to remedy. Many of these independent voters are so distressed at the performance of the Truman administration, especially in foreign policy, that they are even willing to swallow maneuvers of the New Party which are quite likely to displace liberal members of Congress with reactionary conservatives.
Wallace is apt to get his largest vote among the women, among church people—particularly in rural towns, "the river Baptists," as old-time politicians call them—and among college and university students. He himself thinks he will draw most heavily in the highly industrialized areas, but there are signs he is overoptimistic about this. The polls—typified by that of the Boston Globe for Massachusetts—show that Wallace's probable vote has slumped from the 11 per cent he was credited with after he announced his candidacy.
Whether or not the slump is recovered, it is certain he will receive enough of a vote to serve as a portent that Wallace has introduced—into this country for the first time the European type of politics. He is not sanguine about a continuation of his New Party after the election. Despite the way in which his Communist-disciplined audiences have regularly emptied their pockets for him and the way in which his wealthy backers have drawn large checks for the cause, he sees little prospect of money after November to keep the New Party going. Moreover, he is sufficiently versed in the realities of political parties to recognize that patronage is essential to hold them together. What is more likely is the development of a genuine third party movement out of the political wreckage Wallace is doing so much to create—a movement broadly based in the labor unions and not just in the Communist-led unions; a movement such as is envisioned in a resolution adopted at its spring meeting by the board of the United Automobile Workers under the guidance of Walter Reuther.
So, as many of the former associates and friends of Wallace sadly watch him immolate himself in the present crusade, they at least have the consolation of knowing that he is unwittingly preparing the ground for a political growth more in keeping with the bill-of-rights concept of democracy than the one he is so bitterly trying to nourish.