Franklin Roosevelt is elected on the promise of a new deal, something the country needs desperately.
For Mr. Hoover’s defeat we give profoundest thanks. Even though the change to a Democratic Administration offers no real relief, insures no worth-while program, and none of the far-reaching changes so desperately needed to extricate us from the disaster in which the country finds itself, we cannot but take heart at the verdict. It quickens our faith in the essential right-mindedness of the electorate when it has the facts before it — and this time no amount of Republican falsification and fustian could conceal certain essential truths. The people realized that whether Franklin Roosevelt had anything to offer or not, it was time to make a clean sweep in Washington and not only to retire Herbert Hoover as a complete failure, but to get rid of the fourth- and fifth-rate men surrounding him. We are aware, of course, that the very existence of the depression made Mr. Hoover’s reelection impossible — indeed, we have been certain of this since May, 1931. But the depression alone does not explain the magnitude of the defeat, nor the undeniable fact that no other President within the memory of man has been so profoundly hated and distrusted by such great masses of his countrymen as has Herbert Hoover.
Unquestionably, any Democratic candidate — unless the exception is Al Smith — would have won this year. That is doubtless what Mr. Hoover’s associates and loyal party press will tell him by way of solace for his dismissal from the White House. None the less, the size of the disaster is chiefly of his own making. Even with the depression, an outstanding, able, rugged, frank, and attractive President could have convinced the electorate that he was above all else devoted to the common weal, that from the outset he had really labored to save the plain people, and that he had not been first, last, and all the time working in the interest of big business, the railroads, and the banks. But the people saw in Mr. Hoover a servant of the interests, a man who, instead of taking them into his confidence in 1930 and 1931 as to the gravity and the danger of the economic collapse, lied to them, either deliberately or through stupidity, with the intention of keeping up their morale. How could any self-respecting people fail to resent this attitude? It is a false and unworthy conception of the American people which portrays them as not to be trusted to keep their heads in an emergency. It is a narrow and stupid philosophy of statesmanship which seeks to create illusions and then, after the deceit is exposed, expects that the people will still have the same confidence in the benign personage who has been in-trusted with their government but does not think they can stand being told the truth. When to that are added Mr. Hoover’s blunders and delays in the matter of the necessary relief measures, his absolutely rigid refusal to consider direct relief for the millions of starving Americans, his passionate clinging to economic gods long since proved utterly false, there are reasons enough for the intense personal antagonism to Mr. Hoover. He entered the White House with by far the largest popular vote ever cast for a candidate and an overwhelming majority of 444 to 87 in the Electoral College; in four short years he has completely dissipated that unprecedented bank account of the people’s confidence.