Address by Vice President Wallace
July 29, 1944
Your choice of me as permanent chairman is deeply appreciated as a token of respect and affection. It is good to be with old friends to plan for victory on November 7, here in Iowa. The prospects for a Roosevelt victory in the Midwest, and especially here in Iowa, are brighter than they were four years ago. At that time, we were not in the war. Now we are, and the most reactionary Republican has reason to be concerned as to what might happen to the war effort if we should lose the skilled leadership of the President.
Roosevelt will win next fall in Iowa provided you do your part in getting out the full Democratic vote and provided, furthermore, you conduct the campaign on a high plane which does not alienate Republican voters who otherwise would be with you. This plan of campaign will give several Midwestern states to Roosevelt, but it is not enough to win many Congressional seats or many state or county tickets.
To do a real job on this front it will be necessary to make the Democratic Party a vital, continuously functioning organization through which farmers, workers and small-town business and professional men can come to agreement and make their wants known. The Republican Party and its organs of publicity have already tried to separate the farmer and the worker. The Democratic Party can succeed only if it brings the farmer and the worker together on a liberal, constructive platform. Those Democrats who fight such a program are Republicans wearing false faces.
It is important to say a word about my Southern friends. The farmers of the Middle West owe a lot to the farmers of the South. We would never have gotten satisfactory agricultural legislation if it had not been for men like Marvin Jones, Senator John Bankhead and Senator Alben Barkley. True there are certain reactionary leaders, but these men are usually financed directly or indirectly from the North. More and more an intelligent, constructive liberal leadership will arise in the South which will not owe anything directly or indirectly to Wall Street or to outworn prejudices. Senator Claude Pepper of Florida and Governor Ellis Arnall of Georgia, illustrate what I mean. Watch these men. They are young and have a sense of future trends.
One function of a liberal, constructive Democratic Party is to keep the West and South united. Another function is to keep the farmer and labor united. In carrying out the second function, the Democratic Party in Iowa should preach to the farmers every day in every county-seat town in Iowa – “Your income from hogs, butter, eggs and cattle goes up and down precisely with the total payrolls of labor. The moment labor gets into trouble you get into trouble also. You must have a sympathetic understanding of labor’s problems if you are to understand your own.”
After saying this, ask if it is not true that the Republicans are more interested in balancing the budget than in preventing unemployment. The Republicans were in charge after the Civil War and after World War I and on both occasions proceeded on the assumption that the depressions and unemployment were necessary correctives. The worldwide economic whirlwind unleashed sooner or later after the end of this war will be of such a magnitude as to require vigorous action of a type which the Republicans have never been willing to make.
That segment of the press and radio which is controlled by evil monetary interests continually fans every flame of prejudice which will maintain hatred between the farmer and worker. It is easy to state the fundamental Democratic thesis of unity between the farmer and the worker and contrast it with the Republican thesis of hatred between the farmer and worker.
The problem is to do something effective about it. It is not enough to make fire-eating speeches for three months once every four years. The money behind the Republican press and radio subtly spreads its poison every day. To counteract this, we must be on the job forming constructive public opinion.
We do not have much money and our avenues of press and radio publicity are, therefore, seriously limited. But we do have manpower, womanpower and the enthusiasm of youth on our side. All that is necessary is to formulate a liberal program for constructive Democratic action which is so compelling in its appeal to farmers and workers in both the North and South that they will be anxious to give personally of their time and money to building a precinct-by-precinct and county-by-county organization with channels of publicity to service the members of the organization.
In doing such work we must enlist the services of the forward-looking men among the lawyers, the school teachers, the doctors, the bankers and all other professions. You will find help in the most unexpected places provided your program is based on the full use of all manpower, all resources and all technologies for the purpose of equal opportunity and a higher standard of living for all.
The liberal cause has not been defeated and will not be. It merely is in the process of being reborn. I ask you to look up – not down; ahead – not backward. When we battle for full production and equal opportunity we battle for the common man. That cause cannot die no matter what may happen temporarily to certain individuals.
And so, for the sake of your boys I ask the members of this convention to work with all the fervor that is in them for a Roosevelt victory in the conviction that only by such a victory can the war be terminated promptly and rightly. A Dewey victory no matter how estimable Mr. Dewey himself may be personally, will inevitably give hope to the wrong elements in Germany and Japan. A Dewey victory, just as was the case with the Harding victory in 1920, would make difficult the building of world order characterized by abiding peace. The Republicans betrayed the common man of the United States after the Civil War and after World War I. We shall not let them do it again. We will win with Roosevelt.