We are continually reminded of the power of many of our politicians.  When this power at the national level is used for the betterment of our nation then we have a synergy between the politician and his constituents and the nation.  We perceive that the power is totally held by the elected official, all encompassing and totally sovereign.  This is not the case in many situations. There are people behind the scenes that wield enormous power and have the ability to sway the direction of our nation.  This is done either directly or through elected officials who hold office due to the efforts of individuals behind the scenes.  These quiet men and women in the background are the National Power Brokers.

One of these power brokers that shaped the United States for decades was a United States Ambassador to England in addition to holding other key appointments in Washington.  His sphere of power spanned over four decades and even though he held appointed positions, his power was such that he transitioned from  being a person who had to satisfy individuals that make an appointment to becoming a person that holds power over people that make the appointments; the best of both worlds.

In 1924 the Democratic Party was hosting its’ convention in New York.  Unlike today, there was no certainty of who would become the presidential nominee and at the time of the first vote many candidates were offered up.  Then the negotiating took place.  New York wanted to see Al Smith become the Democratic nominee.  Tammany Hall, the central power organization in New York, was supporting Smith.  Franklin D. Roosevelt formally nominated Smith on the convention floor.  Seventeen other candidates were running and to add intrigue there was a split in the party over the Ku Klux Klan.  A proposal failed by seven votes to condemn the Ku Klux Klan.   It took one hundred and three separate ballots to select the final presidential candidate.  Al Smith was not the person selected to represent the Democratic Party.  One major point of opposition made by our behind-the-scenes power broker was that Smith was a Catholic and a Catholic could not be elected president.  This was a strong argument and the Democratic Party selected John Davis to be its’ candidate.  The Presidential election saw the country elect Calvin Coolidge as the President of the United States.

For the next thirty years our power broker held key appointed positions within government.  He was the first Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the SEC.  He also headed the Maritime commission and was the Ambassador to England during the early period of World War II.

In the 1960 Presidential race our power broker was extremely active in the political race.  At that time interracial marriages were frowned upon and could have had detrimental effects on a politicians future.  A candidate associating himself with a person in an interracial marriage could expect negative press and pay the price at the voting poll.  John Kennedy was the Democratic nominee for president.  He was young, good looking, a dashing PT boat commander that was decorated during World War II and he ran with the Hollywood in-crowd called the Rat Pack.  The Rat Pack were all mega stars and consisted of Frank Sinatra, Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford, Dean Marten and the African American Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr was scheduled to marry Swedish actress May Britt   The campaign had asked that he wait to have the wedding until after the election.  Davis did this but then as the inauguration ball was approaching Kennedy asked Davis not to attend the event.

In 1960 thirty-one states had laws that forbid interracial marriages.  Our power broker did not want the controversy to tarnish the inauguration, the inauguration of the first Catholic President, the inauguration of the power broker’s son.  Joe Kennedy was a power broker of immense stature and his work behind the scenes helped to stop Al Smith from being the nominee for President based on his Catholic background.  Forty years later Joe Kennedy worked to have his son become president despite his religious background.

Unfortunately, due to the manipulation of our power broker, the Democratic Party lost a staunch supporter. Sammy Davis left the Democratic Party, joined the Republican Party and supported Richard Nixon.

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