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FDR re-elected in record vote

By LYLE C. WILSON, United Press Staff Correspondent
President Franklin Roosevelt waiting in his car outside the White House ca. 1936. File Photo by Library of Congress/UPI
President Franklin Roosevelt waiting in his car outside the White House ca. 1936. File Photo by Library of Congress/UPI

NEW YORK, Nov. 4, 1936 (UP) - President Roosevelt has been returned to power for four more years by the largest vote ever given to a presidential candidate, election returns showed today.

Gov. Alf M. Landon appeared to be the worst defeated candidate since 1912, when Theodore Roosevelt led Bull Moosers out of the Republican Party and William Howard Taft, the G.O.P. nominee, received only eight electoral votes.

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Mr. Roosevelt has won or is leading in 46 states whose electoral votes total 523. As the ballots continued to pile in, it seemed certain that he would exceed the 22,000,000 votes he received in 1932 when he defeated Herbert Hoover.

The vote, with returns still straggling in from many of the states, was:

ROOSEVELT - 19,781,413.

LANDON - 12,341,483.

WILLIAM LEMKE (Union) - 366,845.

NORMAN THOMAS (Socialist) - 9,501.

Only two states in New England - once rock-ribbed Republican territory - appeared to be in the Landon column. They were Maine and Vermont, giving the Kansas governor an apparent electoral vote of eight - the same number Mr. Taft received in 1912 when Woodrow Wilson was elected.

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The Democratic avalanche stretched across the nation. Not even the traditional Republicanism of New Hampshire could stem the tide of his sweep. New Hampshire's complete unofficial count was 105,778 to 103,320 in the President's favor.

Territory that Republicans had counted on as certain - such states as Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut - put the President in the lead. Dixie went heavily for the Democrats, as was expected, and Mr. Roosevelt invaded Gov. Landon's home territory and held a lead in Kansas.

The President enters his next term with a fair prospect of having an increased majority in the House, already overwhelmingly Democratic. Election of 262 Democratic congressmen was conceded by Republicans. Sixty-six other Democrats were leading. It appeared possible that the Democrats, now holding 322 of the 435 seats, might increase their majority by 10 to 20 members.

Notable was the scant support given William Lemke, Union Party presidential candidate, who was backed by Father Charles E. Coughlin and Fr. Francis E. Townsend, the old-age pensioner. Rhode Island, which Father Coughlin promised - and once bet - he would carry for Mr. Lemke, was one of the first three states to report complete returns. Rhode Island went for Mr. Roosevelt.

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Records were falling on every hand and the accuracy reputations of some political prophets began to tarnish as the extraordinary Roosevelt vote was compiled. New York City, home of Tammany and the nation's greatest concentration of urban workers, broke all plurality records by giving Mr. Roosevelt a margin of approximately 1,400,000 over his Republican rivals.

That tremendous city lead made the Empire State with its 47 electoral votes safe for Mr. Roosevelt. Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Illinois - the Great Lake states with what was believed to be the determining electoral votes distributed among them - were in the Roosevelt column by pluralities ranging from 26,000 to 526,000, but with many and possibly determining precincts still to report.

If that trend continues this will be a day of political funerals for Democrats who led the bolting, conservative crusade against the New Deal. The vote promised to give incalculable impetus to political party realignment and pointed directly toward a coalition of liberal or radical groups against conservatives in the American political struggles of the future.

No president ever has been returned with a popular vote or electoral college majority comparable to that indicated for Mr. Roosevelt. The 1928 Hoover-Smith electoral score was 444 to 87 and Mr. Hoover's plurality was 6,375,647 votes. In 1932 Mr. Roosevelt won 472 electoral votes to 59 for Mr. Hoover. The 1932 Roosevelt plurality was 7,060,018 votes.

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Town and county apparently joined in endorsing the Roosevelt New Deal and its most debated and disputed policies - the spending of vast sums, the encouragement of labor to fight for organization and collective bargaining, reciprocal trade agreements with foreign nations, emergency invasion of powers hitherto reserved to the states and a program assailed from coast to coast in this campaign on the general charge that it was destructive of constitutional government.

But the losers were good losers today and the winners, so far as the New Deal mind has been expressed in the moment of victory, joined in proposing an era of political good feeling after bitter campaign months.

Chairman James A. Farley of the Democratic National Committee spoke quickly into the whirlwind of Democratic votes to reassure business - possibly affrighted by Mr. Roosevelt's Madison Square Garden promise of last Saturday night - that in his second term organized money would find its master in the White House.

"No American need have any fear of the future," said Mr. Farley in a broadcast which anticipated by some hours the acknowledgment of Republican leaders that the election fight had been lost.

"Franklin D. Roosevelt's mission is to see that all of us have a square deal. No individual and no corporation that is on the level with the people has any cause to dread Mr. Roosevelt's second term."

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The President received election returns at Hyde Park over United Press wires and retired without public comment on the indications of a remarkable personal triumph. But Gov. Landon, in his telegram to Hyde Park, rubbed out the line of partisanship which has cleft the American public in the campaign.

"The nation has spoken," he said. "Every American will accept the verdict and work for the common cause of the good of our country."

Red-haired John D. M. Hamilton, chairman of the Republican National Committee, spoke in a similar vein, chin jutting and still full of fight in Chicago G.O.P. headquarters, although not one to deny he had been licked if the decision goes against him. But Mr. Hamilton did not surrender.

"Under our form of government," he said, "a militant and a vigorous minority has a vital service to render to the nation.

"The Republican Party with the co-operation of those Democrats and independents who find common cause with us will not fail in that obligation."

Wilford J. Funk, editor of the Literary Digest, conceded that there had been a fault in the method of his magazine's poll, which erroneously forecast a Landon landslide.

Beyond Mr. Roosevelt stretch four long years of White House toil, the acclaim of derision of the multitude and the ever-present demand upon an executive for decisions, vital and far reaching in their potentialities upon himself and his fellows.

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It was four years ago that Mr. Roosevelt went to Washington on a blustery March day and in an inaugural address surging with import, promised the nation a New Deal and immediate relief from depression. That promise implied and the speech expressed a confidence that the Constitution was resilient, flexible, that it would stretch to meet emergency needs.

Out of Mr. Roosevelt's theory of a flexible Constitution developed a see-saw contest between Congress and the White House on one hand and the Supreme Court on the other. One after another those New Deal emergency measures have been outlawed by the Court with stern and repeated warning that the Constitution will not stretch, is not elastic. And out of that conflict came the chief issues of this campaign, and most of the disputes which raged around the principals and kept the man-in-the-street jumping from radio to newspaper front page through the months of the presidential contest.

That division continued into this campaign with an export of conservative Democrats from the right wing of what has become the New Deal party and an import of liberals, radicals, Socialists and independents to take their places. The solid South remained solid, but many of its leaders were reluctant voters for Mr. Roosevelt and some of them refused altogether to speak for his re-election.

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Similarly, such Republicans as Senator William E. Borah, Idaho; Hiram W. Johnson, California, and Charles L. McNary, Oregon, were quiet or silent when the question arose in the past four months of Gov. Landon's availability for the White House.

Republicans strove to pitch the campaign on the issue of extravagance, maintenance of the Constitution and the Supreme Court and a denial that the New Deal was a square deal for labor. The G.O.P. struck the great industrial states of the mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes areas with a last-minute and impressive campaign against the Roosevelt social security program, warning laboring men and women that they were assured under it only a life-time 1 per cent tax against their weekly wage rather than the security of a pension in their old age.

Democratic campaigners were nervously apprehensive of the effects of that Republican strategy in the sooty towns where mill and factory smoke is the emblem of prosperity.

Against these and all Republican arguments, the Democrats posed prosperity - prosperity now as compared to that March day in 1932 when Mr. Roosevelt took over. It was necessary to listen to both sides, more and more bitterly partisan as the campaign progressed, to realize that while better times undoubtedly are here, there remain unemployed by private payrolls some 11,000,000 American and that they and their dependents are sheltered and fed today by federal bounty.

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