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Franklin Roosevelt, President of the U. S., sat at his desk pondering U. S. history. In his mind was a winter day in 1815, when a tall, gaunt man with small, hot eyes, heading a motley horde of volunteers, whipped the British at the Battle of New Orleans.

Mr. Roosevelt, who has won two elections at the head of as motley a horde of irregulars as Andrew Jackson ever led, pondered more recent history: the popular votes cast for Presidential candidates since 1920. One column showed Republican votes, good years and bad—an irreducible minimum of about 16,000,000 ballots. In the second column Democratic votes swung wildly from 8,000,000 (worst) to 27,000,000 (best).*

The President’s Answer: the G. O. P. can always count on their 16,000,000 regulars. The Democrats win only when their leader can set hearts on fire.

On the eve of the Jackson Day dinner, the traditional opening gun of the Presidential campaign, Franklin Roosevelt wanted this warning sounded to the dissenters in his Party. But since last autumn he has pledged himself to political appeasement, to all-round non-partisan harmony. He could not himself pull the lanyard of the opening gun. To him he called his favorite captain: Attorney General-Designate Robert Houghwout Jackson, the man Franklin Roosevelt thinks will some day be a great liberal U. S. President.

So this week, Bob Jackson went to Cleveland to make the speech Franklin Roosevelt couldn’t make in Washington.

Young Hickory came through with a walloper. He cited Mr. Roosevelt’s election figures, pounded home their point: since the Democrats cannot hope to cut into the Republican regular vote, they had better nominate a leader who can pull to the polls the people who voted for the New Deal in 1936.

The candidate, he hinted in a shout, must be Mr. Roosevelt. “He is our Lincoln,” cried Young Hickory. To grumblers who beef because the President will not declare himself on the third term he had an answer, presumably straight from headquarters: “Why should Franklin Roosevelt be the one man in all public life now committed to accept or not accept a nomination? . . . We do not want to put the greatest asset of the Democratic party in hock.”

Not once, but many times and in several places that night Mr. Roosevelt was renominated. Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace said in Des Moines he “hoped that the nominee in 1940 would be

President Roosevelt.” Said Paul V. McNutt, Federal Security Administrator, at Raleigh, N. C.: “The plain people of today adore Franklin Roosevelt.” Discordant notes: ex-Treasury Under Secretary John W. Hanes, in Dallas: “I love and admire, as do you . . . John Nance Garner.” Senator Burton K. Wheeler, in Denver: “I’ve been asked to run. Haven’t made up my mind.”

In Washington all was mellow and mild. Mr. Roosevelt, in a good after-dinner speech, told two Joe Miller gags, drew well-fed laughter and applause. Most significant words of the evening came from Postmaster General James A. Farley, who began his brief speech: “Fellow candidates—.” Happily home to the White House went Mr. Roosevelt. As in Old Hickory’s famed battle, peace officially reigned,* but the shot had been fired.

* Republicans: 1920, Harding, 16,000,000 votes; 1924, Coolidge, 15,700,000; 1928, Hoover, 21,000,000; 1932, Hoover, 15,700,000; 1936, Landon, 16,600,000. Democrats: 1920, Cox, 9,150,000; 1924, Davis, 8,300,000; 1928, Smith, 15,000,000; 1932, Roosevelt, 22,800,000; 1936, Roosevelt, 27,400,000. The Battle of New Orleans was fought 15 days after peace had been signed between the U. S. and Britain. Reason: a slow sloop from (England).

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