Posted: November 3, 2015 in Uncategorized
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Today we have political party affiliations based on the party’s support for various causes, philosophies, races, nationalities and other factions. What is so unique about this is that the entire political landscape changes over time and certain causes championed by one party could eventually shift to becoming an important part of another party.
The Democratic Party believes in big government, centralized control, distribution of wealth, liberal religious views while the Republican Party believes in small government, less government control, conservative religious views and a free market economy. Today the Democratic Party is seen as the party of the minorities while the Republican Party is trying to determine how to win the support of the Hispanics. It has not all ways been this way.
In 1924 the Democratic Convention was being held in New York City. New York is hot in the summer and the complexion of the convention made it that much hotter. Tammany Hall was the Democratic political machine that controlled politics in New York City and New York State. Tammany Hall had a large congregation of Catholics and Irish Immigrants that were recruited soon after entering America at Ellis Island in New York. Tammany Hall had a problem with a large faction of the Democratic Party and it called for the Ku Klan to be denounced by the convention.
William Jennings Bryant was a leader in the Democratic Party, had been its’ nominee for president several times and understood that denouncing the Klan would fragment the party even though he did not personally support the Klan. He was jeered so much by Tammany Hall during his speech that it took thirty minutes before he could speak. Eventually he did speak but his attempt to keep the Klan issue out of the convention failed and there was a vote that fell short so the Democratic Party maintained support for the Ku Klux Klan. So contentious was the convention that the papers dubbed it as the “Klan Bake”. It was estimated that one fourth of the delegates to the convention were members of the KKK. The party has morphed from being an anti-African American political party to being the party of choice for the same racial group.
The same convention saw religion play a part in the person it selected to run for run for president. Eighteen candidates received nomination votes. Al Smith was one of the leaders in the vote. Smith was a Catholic from New York and had the backing of Tammany Hall. The voting continued and day after day nerves were wearing thin. Fifteen days into the convention and Smith was the front runner but there was still no clear majority cast. Delegates were running out of money and they were telegraphing home for money to pay for hotel bills. One hundred votes had been cast and it was hot in July. Finally a leader of the Democratic Party and future Ambassador to England said that Al Smith was unelectable as president due to his Catholic religion. Finally after sixteen grueling days and 103 ballots being cast, the Democrats selected John Davis as its’ presidential candidate.
Ironically, the man who stated that Al Smith was unelectable due to being a Catholic was himself a Catholic. The man was a founder of RKO pictures, was the first director of the Securities and Exchange Commission and an Ambassador to England. His name was Joe Kennedy, father of John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic President of the United States.


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