Politics As Usual


Politics As Usual


R.E. Prindle


For those of us who might think something unusual is happening in this presidential election we might be happy to know that the history of politics in the US is one of hide bound Old Guards and insurgents trying to move the party in a new direction adapted to current conditions.

Such is what is happening in this election. Well, might the Old Guard lament ‘this isn’t my Republican Party.’ Undoubtedly not, but a change for the better, so get used to it. This is no longer the country we grew up in either. We won’t see that country again.

As an example of how this situation appeared to him I quote from the autobiography of Henry L. Stimson who served under several presidents. As a hint to Trump and Cruz note the struggle of the Stimson crowd to overthrow an Old Guard. Combine your forces for the difficult fight ahead of you.

From On Active Service In Peace And War by Henry L. Stimson. I quote:

The local Republican party in some portions of New York City was not much above Tammany in political righteousness, being more eager to get sops of patronage by trading with the dominant Democrats than to follow Republican principles. But in the center of Manhattan were several Assembly districts where the situation was different and where a Republican ticket with proper effort could be elected. In one of these, the 27th Assembly District, I lived and worked as a Republican. I became the captain of an election district and learned what constant effort was required to persuade the ordinary American citizen in a great city to take the trouble to exercise his duties as a voter. I eventually became the president of my Assembly district club and a member of the Republican County Committee of New York County. We ardent young men had a hard fight, for the Republican organization of the county, as I have just pointed out, was far below in character that which we believed it should be. It seemed to us of little beneficial effect to laboriously bring out voters on election day to vote for a candidate who had been selected and nominated by a corrupt county leader. The primaries in those days were very imperfect. They had no basis in law but were created simply by rules of the Republican organization. We saw ourselves habitually outvoted at conventions by the fraudulent use of this defective machinery. So finally we staged a revolt and when in 1897 we were thus outvoted in a convention in which we believed we really held the majority of votes, we retired from the room, nominated two well-qualified gentlemen as independent candidates for membership in the state Assembly and in the city Board of Aldermen, and successfully carried that ticket to victory at the subsequent election over the candidates of both the Republican machine and the Democratic party. By that demonstration of power we brought the Republican county machine to its knees and the following winter a primary election law, drawn by ourselves, was by the force of public opinion carried through the legislature. That law put an end to the flagrant methods of the preceding years and I believe has been in effect ever since, governing the conduct of primaries and party elections in a way which makes it more possible than before for honest voters, if they are willing to work hard enough, to succeed in preventing machine control. By those early years of hard political work I gained a foothold in my knowledge of the elements of American citizenship. I could talk the language of the trade and meet the professionals in politics on a fair basis.

It ain’t easy but we have to put our backs up give no quarter and fight. Both we and the candidates should begin now, make much noise, and let them know they have lost control. They are no longer in charge. We are

(Signed by)

A. Knuckledragger


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