He was a Democratic president in his second term, who faced severe unemployment and ran up the national debt with big government programs to cope with it. Several polls predicted he would easily lose to his Republican challenger, a governor and a wealthy businessman. But most voters, including women and minorities, trusted him and decided to stay the course. So it was that Franklin D. Roosevelt pummeled Alf Landon for re-election in 1936.
Almost exactly 75 years ago, on Nov. 20, 1937, a San Luis Obispo newspaper, the Daily Telegram, reported a postelection speech of the Republican party chair. At a gathering in Connecticut, he predicted the “demise of the Republican party unless it re-adapts itself at once to the needs of the whole mass of the American people.” No Republican would become president for 16 years.
Does this sound familiar? Will we ever learn?