A Social Democratic America

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A Social Democratic America

Post by Admin on Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:21 pm

Pre-1896 notes
-The Greenbacks had much more success in the early 1880s, do to the trusts being actually bigger in this TL do to a Bayard win in 1876.
-James Weaver won two terms in 1892 and 1896. Benjamin Butler won in 1880, but lost to Grover Cleveland the next election.
-Reconstruction was much more radical after Lincolns assiniation in 1863 by a radical copperhead, so well segregation existed, Blacks still had full voting rights.


President Weaver faced opposition from all angles. They included Republican Thomas Brackett Reed running on a pro-Gold Standard and pro-Tariff platform, National Democrat and former President Grover Cleveland supporting gold and opposing the radicalism of the final candidate, William Jennings Bryan (who, agreed with most of the Populists platform but disagreed on Weavers pro-paper money stance). Weaver emerged victorious after a hard fought campaign.

President James B. Weaver (Populist-Iowa)/Vice President Thomas Watson (Populist-Georgia) 225EV and 35.24% of the PV
Senator Thomas Brackett Reed (Republican-Maine)/Governor Levi P. Morgan (Republican-New York) 85EV and 24.88% of the PV
Former President Grover Cleveland (National Democrat-New York)/Editor Horace White (National Democrat-Illinois) 79EV and 20.56% of the PV
Former Congressman William Jennings Bryan (Democrat-Nebraska)/Ship builder Arther Sewell (Democrat-Maine) 58EV and 18.21% of the PV
Others 1.11% of the PV


The Populists fell apart, in the South there pan-racial alliance fell to peaces with many Whites returning to the Democrats and Blacks to the Republicans. The Populists also completely switched the nation from gold to paper/silver, causing a massive depression in the North-East. The Republicans nominated Trust magnet and former Connetticutt Congressmen JP Morgan, who promised to put the country back on the gold standard immeditley attacking the Populists as radicals who had "completely destroyed the economy". Bryan, running as the candidate of the struggling masses attacked Morgan as a evil plutocrat, who "spits on the face of god almighty, in favor of greed and avarios". Morgan won the election in a close one, defeating Bryan by linking him to the Populists.

Former Congressman JP Morgan (Republican-Connecticut)/Mayor Theodore Roosevelt (Republican-New York)
45% of the PV and 244 EV
Former Congressman William Jennings Bryan (Democrat-Nebraska)/State Senator Abraham W. Patrick (Democrat-Ohio) 43.9% of the PV and 203EV
Former State Senator Eugene Debs (Social Democrat-Indiana)/Reverend Job Harriman (Social Democrat-California) 7.1% of the PV  
Mormon Fundamentalist John Woolley (Prohibition-Utah)/Prohibitionist Henry Metcalf (Prohibition-Massachusetts) 2% of the PV
Others 2% of the PV


Morgan returned the country to the gold standard, however proved to be a controversial president to say the least. He de-regulated all of the trusts, banking, and other industries along with passing strident anti-labor laws. Not only that, but Morgan repealed almost all of the Progressive legislation enacted by Weaver and took a chainsaw to farm subsidies and banned silver. This lead to a large Socialist surge in 1902, and as Bryan had predicted "Morgans policies and his support for the wealthy above the struggling masses, shall bring about Socialism". Morgan passed several anti-Socialist laws in  1902 which became extremely controversial, but before he could run for re-election he died of a heart attack. This left Vice President Theodore Roosevelt, the former Mayor of NYC as the next President. Roosevelt quickly realized that Morgans radical Right-Wing policies would only continue to brew unrest, and repealed by executive action his anti-labor laws. Mass riots broke out however in opposition to Morgans massive farming cuts and banning of the silver standard, so Roosevelt acted quickly nationalizing the railroads (which Morgan had de-regulated, again leading to mass protest), passed a radical farming subsidize bill, and increased regulation on the banking industry. He also massively increased regulation of banking (which was needed following the collapse of 1902 in which millions, especially in the west lost there savings). Roosevelts square deal programs were, in his words "stop us from being driven into the abyss of Socialism".

Roosevelts reforms restored trust in America, and he won re-election in a landslide with the Socialists underperforming. The Democrats ran Conservative Circuit Judge George Gray, who ran on a platform opposing TRs nationalization (the Conservative Bourbon faction had defeated Bryan for the parties nomination, and re-surged once more).

President Theodore Roosevelt (Republican-New York)/Governor Samuel Whitaker Pennypacker (Republican-Pennsylvania)
45.87% of the PV and 333EV
Circuit Judge George Gray (Democrat-Delaware)/Congressman John Sharp Williams (Democrat-Mississippi) 18.34% of the PV and 96EV
Former State Senator Eugene Debs (Socialist-Indiana)/Mayor John C. Chase (Socialist) 30.10% of the PV and 47EV
Former Vice President Thomas Watson (Populist-Georgia)/Former Senator William V. Allen (Populist-Nebraska) 3.75% of the PV
Prohibitionist Silas Swallow (Prohibition-Pennsylvania)/Activist George Washington Carroll (Prohibition-Texas) 1.35% of the PV
Other 0.44%


The Republicans ran Maverick Progressive Robert LaFollete, who shocked the establishment by defeating TRs faction at the convention. LaFollete promised expansion of the Progressive Reforms of Roosevelt. The Socialists ran on a platform of nationalization and public ownership. The Democrats ran on a platform in support of limited government and lower tariffs/taxes.

Senator Robert LaFollete (Republican-Wisconsin)/Senator Charles W. Fairbanks (Republican-Indiana) 278EV and 42.27% of the PV
Joseph Weldon Bailey, Sr (Democrat-Texas)/Former Congressman William Randolph Hearest (Democrat-New York) 138EV and 28.57% of the PV
Former State Senator Eugene Debs (Socialist-Indiana)/Mayor Andrew Mitchell (Socialist-Utah) 72EV and 27.67% of the PV
Others 1.49% of the PV


The election of 1912 proved to be one of the most interesting and exciting in history. A rift emerged within the Republican party, with many beliving LaFolletes Progressivism had gone to far. The Conservatives backed Nelson Aldrich, Progressives LaFollete, and many TR. Roosevelt, who had broken with LaFollete beleving he had gone to far in trust busting and attacking his foreign policy, ran third after losing the nomination. The Democrats ran Alabama Senator Oscar Underwood, who ran on a moderate platform supporting some Progressive legislation but opposing the income tax and national bank (both of which LaFollete had instituted) but supporting other legislation such as banning child-labor and increased work-force protection + LaFolletes trust busting. The Socialists ran Eugene Debs once again, who ran on a platform of nationalization and massive expansion of Co-Operatives. The race ended in a four war split, and being thrown to the house which selected Underwood as a compromise candidate.

Senator Robert LaFollete (Republican-Wisconsin)/Senator Charles W. Fairbanks (Republican-Indiana) 25.34% of the PV and 193EV
Oscar K. Underwood (Democrat-Alabama)/Governor Judson Harmon (Democrat-Ohio) 24.75% of the PV and 173EV
Congressman Eugene Debs (Socialist-Indiana)/Congressman Emiel Sidel (Socialist-Wisconsin) 24.22% of the PV and 120EV
Former President Theodore Roosevelt (Progressive-New York)/Governor Hiram Johnson (Progressive-California) 22.14% of the PV and 45EV
Others 1%


President Underwoods main goals of his new freedom agenda proved to be the defeat of the Tariff, Trust, and Bureaucracy. Underwood lowered taxes, continued trust busting, and privatized some of the banking industries Roosevelt had nationalized. Underwood shocked many when he decided not to run for a second term. With war in Europe being on the horizon, this was an issue that would center the campaign. Teddy Roosevelt was once more the Republican nominee, pledging to do everything in his power to stop the Germans. The Socialists ran popular Oklahoma Lewis J. Duncan (by passing Debs so he could focus on a run for Indiana Senate) and ran on an anti-war platform denouncing the "Imperalist war" abroad. The Democrats ran Champ Clark, a rural Conservative Democrat running on a platform of opposition to the income tax, national bank, and opposition to all involvement in Europe. Running third was Automobile manufacturer Henry Ford, who had won the Prohibition parties nomination (but had little enthuasism for the official platform) instead adding his own ideas which he dubbed Welfare Capitalism. Ford denounces the war at all measures, and if we are to enter, Ford says it should be on the side of the Germans. Roosevelt won the election largely do to the sinking of American ships off the coast of Maine (which caused widespread paranoia of Germans, and support for the war effort).

Former President Theodore Roosevelt (Republican-New York)/Henry Cabot Lodge (Republican-Massachusetts) 314EV and 35.71% of the PV
Speaker of the House Champ Clark (Democrat-Missouri)/Congressman John Davis (Democrat-West Virginia) 148EV and 26.04% of the PV
Governor Lewis J. Duncan (Socialist-Montana)/Congressman Arthur LeSueur (Socialist-Montana) 54EV and 25.10% of the PV
Industrialist Henry Ford (Prohibition-Michigan)/Former Indiana Governor James Hanly (Prohibition-Indiana) 15EV and 12.24% of the PV
Other 1.78% of the PV


Upon entering office, Roosevelt immeditely plunged America into war. Initially a popular choice after German submarine attacks the previous year, Roosevelt embarked upon an extremely authortiarian regime. declaring that "all public opposition in any form to the war is nothing sort of outright treason" Roosevelt arrested massive amounts of anti-war activists, causing mass riots. In response, Roosevelt called in the military. Next, he imposed several laws restricting opposition to the war and arresting anti-War Socialist activists and politicians. In december of 1918, Roosevelt announced the creation of internment camps for Germans declaring "Germany is the enemy both abroad, and at home. We must secure our nations defenses by any and all means". The internment of thousands of German Americans was widely protested across the country, with even Conservatives such as Warren Harding declaring that Roosevelts action were unconstitutional and absolutely disgusting. After the war, Roosevelt attempted to launch the league of nations, which failed due to opposition from the left and the right.

In 1920, the Socialists seemed poised to win from the start. Nominating California novelist and Senator Jack London, the Socialists called for nationalization of industry, wartime profits, and re-embursement to all Germans and European-American Immigrants affected negatively by TRs policies. Attacking the Roosevelt regime as "Reactionary and evil", Londons personal story of overcoming adversry through hard-work appealed to citizens across the nations. The Republicans ran young Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge, who alleged London would lead the nation to Socialism and thus complete ruin. Coolidge like London (Unlike Glass) rejected the treaty of vesalis and the league of nations. Coolidge, who had no association with the TR regime (and had been an active opponent of the regimes anti-dissdent messaures) benefited from this, which is why he ran ahead of local Republicans. However, the country was ready for change and angry at the war, Roosevelts authoritarianism, and the skyrocketing of profits for what London called "War Capitalist scum". London started out with a massive lead, however that lead had wittled down to single digits, largely do to the Conservative Coolidges strong campaign. However, on election day, London won the presidency largely do to extreme support from German Americans (which is why North Dakota was Londons best state, coming in at 73% for the Socialists).

Senator Jack London (Socialist-California)/Governor Fred W. Holt (Socialist-Oklahoma) 42.34% of the PV and 271EV
Governor Calvin Coolidge (Republican-Massachusetts)/Governor William Cameron Sproul (Republican-Pennsylvania) 35.41% of the PV and 173EV
Senator Carter Glass (Democrat-Virginia)/State Party Chairmen Franklin D. Roosevelt (Democrat-New York) 19.95% of the PV and 87EV
Minister Aaron Watkins (Prohibition-Kentucky)/Activist D. Leigh Colvin (Prohibition-New York)
Others 1.30% of the PV
Party Chairmen William Foster (Communist-Washington)/State Legislature Benjamin Gitlow (Communist-New York) 0.70% of the PV
Others 0.30% of the PV


President London embarked on a presidency of strident commitment to Socialist economics, and changed the American economy completely. He was also known as being one of the most active Presidents in the history of the nation. London nationalized several industries such as banking, transportation, coal, and water. He established massive TVA type projects across the country, and spend millions on massive public works projects and increasing old age pensions. He spent millions on the encouragement of co-operatives (especially in the west, these sprang up in masses with by 1923 a total of 40% of American workers worked in Co-Operatives versus just 14% in 1918) and massive amounts of socialist worker owned companies/factories/railroads sprouted up across the west and mid-west. He also heavily industralized the west, with thousands of manufacturing factories (such as automobile production) popping up and brick companies, etc along with large mining co-operatives. Not only that, but massive farming co-operatives were encouraged across the nation, known as the "Co-Operative movement" which still exist to this day. London remained extremely popular with many Americans for his commitment to economic security, however not all was well. Debt skyrocketed to massive levels, and so did inflation (though, many Americans did not notice this do to massive economic security, varied by region). Union membership also more then quadrupled across the nation, as London passed several pro-Labor laws and hiked the income tax. On foreign policy, he withdrew from the league of nations and perused an Isolationist foreign policy. In terms of immigration, London signed several laws (mostly put forward by Republicans but also some Socialists) restricting Immigration levels including a 15 year ban on all chinese immigration (something that remains controversial to this day). London also recognized the newly formed Socialist Soviet Union as a country, and perused good diplomatic relations.

In 1924, the Republicans ran Conservative Major General Leonard Wood, who attacked Londons domestic policies as communist and promised a return to Conservative Government centered around much lower taxes, lower regulations, opposition to Londons massive welfare programs and co-operative funding. The Democrats ran William Gibbs McAdoo, who emerged the nominee after a heated convention battle against Al Smith. McAdoo was also a staunch supporter of prohibition (something which London opposed and worked to scale back). London won re-election by a healthy margin, and the Socialists made inroads with Irish Americans (a heavily loyal Democrat group, unlike Scandinavian, Eastern European, and Jewish Americans all of which were heavily Socialist) nearly flipping Rhode Island and Massachusetts (states they had never done well in the past, nearly winning do to a coalition of Irish Americans and "Champagne Socialists" the latter being middle-class Socialist reformers, which had been the Socialists main vote in Massachusetts until this election). Estimates also suggest that London also won 75 to 80% of the Northern Black vote, a group which in the past few elections had been split between the Socialists and Republicans (though, the Republicans still won the Southern Black vote overwhelmingly in most southern states). Progressive and former President Robert LaFollete also threw his hat in the ring, opposed to the Jacksonianism of the Democrats, Londons Socialism, and Woods Conservative Republicans for one final run to represent Progressive Republicanism. LaFollete, however stated openly he preferred London to Hughes or McAdoo. London won re-election in a landslide (largely due to the vote split between the right-wing, but polls showed he would have handily defeated either candidate in a one on one). This remains to date the biggest Socialist victory.

President Jack London (Socialist-California)/Vice President Fred W. Holt (Socialist-Oklahoma) 41.77% of the PV and 332EV
Former Governor General and Secretary of the Army Leonard Wood (Republican-New Hampshire)/Former Illinois Governor Frank Lowden (Republican-Illinois) 25.36% of the PV and 100EV
Former Secretary of the Treasury William Gibbs McAdoo (Democrat-Georgia)/Former Senator Samuel M. Ralston Democrat-Indiana) 18.87% of the PV and 81EV
Senator Robert LaFollete Jr (Progressive-Wisconsin)/Senator George Norris (Progressive-Nebraska) 13% of the PV and 18EV
Others 1%


The Socialists nominated Vice President Fred W. Holt, who chose Milwaukee Mayor Daniel Hoan as his running mate. Holt ran a slogan of continuing the policies of London, and the Democrats nominated New York Governor Al Smith. Smith ran a campaign attacking the massive expansion of government over the past 4 years, and denounced both prohibition and Londons Socialism. The Republicans ran Herbert Hoover, former Secretary of Commerce. Hoover proved to be a pathetic campaigner, and the race ended up as a battle between Smith and Holt. Holt narrowly defeated Smith, in one of the closest elections up to date.

Vice President Fred W. Holt (Socialist-Oklahoma)/Milwaukee Mayor Daniel Hoan (Socialist-Wisconsin) 269 EV and 41.75% of the PV
New York Governor Al Smith (Democrat-New York)/Senator Joseph Taylor Robinson (Democrat-South Carolina) 234EV and 40.50% of the PV
Former Food Administration Director Herbert Hoover (Republican-Iowa)/Senator Guy D. Goff (Republican-West Virginia) 28EV 15.75% of the PV
Party Chairmen William Foster (Communist-Washington)/State Legislature Benjamin Gitlow (Communist-New York) 1.50% of the PV
Others (Prohibition, Socialist Labor, etc) 0.50% of the PV


Something of a recession had broken out in the US (tho, far less then the world wide depression). The Socialists blamed it on greedy capitalists and the Democrats and Republicans on Socialist economic policies. This allowed Al Smith, who once against was the Democratic nominee, to eek out a victory over Holt.

New York Governor Al Smith (Democrat-New York)/Governor Daniel Moody (Democrat-Texas) 279EV and 41% of the PV
President Fred W. Holt (Socialist-Oklahoma)/Vice President Daniel Hoan (Socialist-Wisconsin) 175EV and 39% of the PV
David A. Reed (Republican-Pennsylvania)/Senator Joseph Irwin France (Republican-Maryland 77EV and 20% of the PV
Others (Prohibition, Communist, etc) 1% of the PV


With the recession countinuing (though, nowhere as bad in the United States as most of the world, do to a highly nationalized industry) it seemed like 1936 would lead to a Socialist victory. President Smith remained extremely unpopular do to refusing to intervene in the economy, and privatization of several state industries.

The Democrats had an open field. With John Garner, William H. Murray, Franklin Roosevelt, President Smith, and james F. Brynes all seeking the nomination. Roosevelt toppled the incumbent, through forging an alliance with Brynes.

Vanderberg would the GOP nomination quiet easily, defeating Al Landon on the second ballot...and several other candidates.

The main story of the election was the Socialist convention (taking place in New York City), which dragged on for over 50 ballots largely do to a divided party. The convention emerged as a battle between California Governor Upton Sinclair (representing the traditional Socialist rocky mountains/west coast heartland. Leader of the Progressive Miners of America, the largest mining union in the country leader Frank Hayes has also backed Sinclair and so have the Western Co-Operative union leaders, the biggest unions in the country), Louisiana Senator Huey Long (who had gained fame for his toppling of the Democratic establishment, in which Louisiana became the first Southern state to elect a Socialist governor/senator, Long represented the Socialists populist wing, his ideology having little to do with traditional socialism but centered around massive wealth re-distribution policies dubbed Share our Wealth. Long had gained great popularity do to his calls for wealth redistribution and attacks on the Smith regime which he had dubbed "just the urban version of feudal aristocrats"), NYC Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia (leader of the Socialists urban machines, located primarily on the east coast. his greatest backers came the "old guard" of New York), former Vice President Daniel Hoan (who had earned the support of the aging Fred W. Holt. Hoan had gained the support of Robert LaFollete Jr, and drew his strength from the Mid-West and Great Plains. Hoan has also earned the backing of former Presidents Holt and London (and Steelworkers President Phillip Murray), Reverand Norman Thomas (leader of the "champaign socialist" faction, mentioned before), the aging Big Bill Haywood (leader of the radical anarchist faction), and finally Max Shatchmen (a trotskyist and former member of the CPUSA until his explosion. After this, Shatchmen and his followers lead the "Militant" faction in an attempt to infiltrate the party, with help from trotskyist James Cannon. Shatchmen and his allies in the Communist League proved to be extremely small in numbers, but very well organized and were able to seize control of several local state delegations in states the SP did not have a large base in.).

Thomas withdrew from the race after the fifth ballot, and threw his support to Hoan. The race emerged as a battle between Hoan Vs Long Vs LaGuardia Vs Sinclair Vs Shatchmen. Shatchmen was unable to broaden his base and gain support from the Anarchists or Radical Socialists (the latter throwing there support to Hoan).

Sometime around the 30th ballot... (2,000 delegates up for grabs

Sinclair = 475
Long = 455
Hoan = 450
LaGuardia = 350
Shatchmen = 100
A. Phillip Randolph 50
Undecided 75
Big Bill Haywood 30
Others 25

However, later in the voting Hoan collapsed. Sinclair and Long traded support in the Mid-West, and LaGuardia picked up support from UMW leader John Lewis (thus throwing Virginia his way). The Militants continued there control over Pennsylvania (which, seemed to be there main prize. They had captured Maryland and Delaware, largely due to both states not having a very big Socialist base, with the exception of Baltimore were the machine had issues with LaGuardia).

With Hoans collapse, and most of his delegates leaving his camp (and many up for grabs), Gerald Smith leader of Longs campaign made several moves to gain support of several new england delegations (sounds unusual, but really not that hard seeing as how the Socialists had very small organizations there). This left the race down to Long Vs LaGuardia Vs Sinclair. The balloting continued for days, and it seemed like a never ending battle. Eventually, it seemed if the race had come down to LaGuardia Vs Sinclair, with LaGuardia gaining delegate support consolidating the urban machines. Long, realizing he had little chance of gaining the nomination (and, had been planning another run in 1940 or 1944) had told LaGuardia he would endorse him in exchange for putting one of Longs allies on the ticket (Socialist Congressman William Lemke of ND) or Long himself. LaGuardia agreed, however Long quickly decided against this. Realizing Sinclair wielded more power within the party do to his control over the Western Co-Operatives (something a Socialist had to have for any future run), Long realized upstaging Sinclair would damage him for a future bid (relations with the Urban machines could be made up much quicker then with the powerful Western block, and unlike the West were leadership tended to be quite stable, the Urban Machines tended to back various candidates depending on promises meant to them. Plus, Long already had an association with corruption, something he did not want to have stampeded in even harder, especially since he was planning a run in 1944). Expecting to be the parties nominee, LaGuardia had an entire speech written out congratulating all of his opponents (except for the militants, who would be expelled after the convention). The deal was Long would speak endorsing LaGuardia, then LaGuardia would accept the nomination. However, Long pulled a complete 180 starting with the initial wording of the speech then flipping it...to an applauding endorsement of Sinclair. This lead to Long being chosen as Sinclairs running mate (exactly what he wanted, in a way to gain more exposure). Enraged by this betrayal was John Lewis of the UMW (who had grown to hate Sinclair), who immediately denounced "the corrupt bargain" and refused to endorse the Socialist ticket in the general. LaGuardia was enraged by this to, even more so at Long (the two would face off again in 1944, never being allies again). LaGuardia did, however endorse Sinclairs candidacy in the last few months, but Sinclair did not get the same machine backing previous nominees had, thus leaving him extremely weakened in industrial states the Socialists needed for a victory. In exchange, Sinclair chose Long as his running mate (something LaGuardia had planned to do).

In the general election, Sinclair ran on a campaign "End Poverty In America" (EPIA, a series of socialist economic policies to curb the recession) denouncing Roosevelt and Smith who he labeled as corporate reactionaries (first coining the term "neo-liberal" when denouncing Smiths policies), the Socialist ticket of Sinclair/Long proved to be extremely charismatic, but had little chance of winning (explained in next paragraph). However, without the full support of many urban machines, Sinclair was defeated by the Conservative Roosevelt in the GE. The Republicans ran well, there best performance since Coolidge winning several mid-western states. The brokered convention had damaged the Socialists, to the point were many stayed home and the surge of the Communists (which, threw several close states to Roosevelt) did not help things.

Former Governor Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat-New York)/Senator James F. Brynes (Democrat-South Carolina) 39.18% of the PV and 316EV
Senator Athur Vanderberg (Republican-Michigan)/Major Frank Knox (Republican-Illinois) 27.32% of the PV and 112EV
Governor Upton Sinclair (Socialist-California)/Senator Huey Long (Socialist-Louisiana) 28.19% of the PV and 103EV
Party Chairmen William Z. Foster (Communist-New York)/Councilmen James Ford (Communist-New York) 3.3% of the PV
Others 2%

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