Newstalgia Reference Room - Picking A Winner in 1952. Panel discussion on the Presidential candidates as discussed by members of each party and the political analysts of the day.
February 8, 2012

Election 1952 - Issues: The same. Parties: different.

Continuing the look back at previous election years here is a panel discussion, part of the American Forum Of The Air series first broadcast on July 13, 1952, right after the close of the Republican Convention in Chicago and just before the opening of Democratic Convention, also in Chicago.

This panel consists of high ranking officials in both the RNC and DNC along with some of the earliest pollsters to engage in political races. Archibald Crossley, who pre-dated Gallup in his Crossley Poll and who also coined the phrase "ratings", along with Elmo Roper, political analyst and early commentator for CBS Radio join RNC's Albert "Ab" Herman and the DNC's India Edwards in a discussion that illustrates how little the political landscape has changed, but in some areas just how much it has changed.

The issues - then as now; taxes, defense, employment and corruption in Government. The races: the age old plea for a "clean campaign". The Politics: a much more pronounced and powerful Liberal wing of the Republican Party, which I had completely forgotten was instrumental in securing the nomination for Gen. Eisenhower. The Democrats; the Southern bloc.

Then as now there was talk of bitter factional splits within the GOP - the Internationalist/Liberal wing of the GOP in favor of Ike and the Conservative "base" in favor of Robert A. Taft. One gets the feeling Nixon was brought on board as a peace offering to soothe the arch conservatives in the ranks and bring about party unity.

Since, at the time of this broadcast there hadn't yet been the Democratic Convention (a week later), there was still speculation as to who the nominee would be and who the nominee's running mate would eventually become. It's interesting that, within the ranks there was talk about India Edwards, the vice-Chairman (chairperson) of the DNC as a possible vice-Presidential candidate, thus making her the first woman as running mate.

Then as now the whole question of the Independent Voter and just who they were was on the panelists minds. The Independents, it was determined, could swing a vote in either direction and they were hard to pin down.

Some things never change - certainly the ritual doesn't. The talk about long and bloody primary campaigns and the desire for less mud slinging seem completely relevant. It has always been and probably always will be about taxes, about employment and about corruption.

And that's what they were talking about in Picking a Winner on The American Forum Of The Air for July 13, 1952.

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