Jim Farley, allohistorian! (his views on what if Huey Long had lived)

Since we often speculate about this, here are the views of a man who knew a few things about 1930s politics:

"The ifs of politics are always interesting. One frequently considered is what would have happened had Huey lived. As I said before, I did not underestimate the man, although personally I regarded him as a cowardly braggart. The Democratic National Committee conducted a secret poll on Long's bid for national power which disclosed, to our surprise, that he might poll between 3,000,000 to 4,000,000 votes at the head of a third party. His support was not confined to Louisiana and near-by states, but his "share the wealth" program was attracting strength in industrial and farm areas of the north.

"Long was the most formidable of the then current array of demagogues of the "Damaged Souls" school, our poll showed. It was conceivable that his third party movement might constitute a balance of power in the 1936 election, although indications were that he would cost us no more than the electoral votes of a few states. He was high
in our political thoughts, however, because the poll indicated that he could control at least 100,000 in New York State, which could have been a critical bloc, particularly since he was recruiting Democrats rather than Republicans.

"I am firmly convinced Long would have been a source of annoyance rather than a threat in 1936. What he might have done in 1940 is difficult to conjecture. It is possible that the Senate might have refused to seat him. This might have been food and drink to dictator ambitions, however, and made him so formidable that FDR would have passed up his try for the third term, as some observers believe. I have great confidence that sooner or later he would have disgusted the public by his clowning and arrogant blustering."

James Farley, Jim Farley's Story, p. 51:
https://archive.org/details/jimfarleysstory017770mbp/page/n69/mode/2up

(Personally, I cannot think of FDR passing up the third term for fear of Long, of all people; and as I have indivated at https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...g-assassination-attempt.488326/#post-20525531 I think the Kingfish more likely to wind up in jail than in the White House.)
 
. . . because the poll indicated that he could control at least 100,000 in New York State, which could have been a critical bloc, particularly since he was recruiting Democrats rather than Republicans. . .
Not according to the modern view.

I mean, it’s logical and all. Huey Long is to the left of FDR, and therefore he’s going to be pulling votes almost exclusively from FDR, etc. But not according to a study of Florida countries in the 2000 election between Bush and Gore. It’s like third-party voters differ along a different dimension, like how pissed off they are or something.

A8C13597-F7B9-40F2-8FE2-E436CF30FCA9.jpeg


The vertical scale is early voting, and the horizontal is election day. Notice that both the Buchanan and Nader voters are squarely in the middle. We can argue on points that Buchanan voters are more to the Republican side, but compared to the darkly shaded D and R voters, it’s no contest.

Third-party voters are in the middle. Weird, but it really seems to be true.


And this study by Mike Herron and Jeff Lewis used electronic snapshots of actual ballots cast, with a 1 meaning a hole punched and 0 meaning not punched. Can’t get much better than that.
 
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