The Charlotte News

Wednesday, November 6, 1946


Site Ed. Note: The front page reports that the Republicans had swept the election and would control both houses of the 80th Congress, a surprise to most observers insofar as the Senate. With 399 of the 435 House seats decided, the Republicans held 224 and the Democrats 175. Of the 32 decided Senate races out of 35 being contested, the Republicans had scored a net gain of twelve seats for a majority of at least 51 while the Democrats had a net loss of 14 seats thus far, giving them 42, with the three undecided races, in New Mexico, Maryland, and West Virginia, being led by Democrats. The deciding seat in the Senate was that of Senator Abe Murdock of Utah, defeated by Republican challenger Arthur Watkins, the results being announced at 11:50 a.m. this date.

It was the first time the Republicans had won either chamber of the Congress since 1928, a year before the Crash and the Great Depression.

The change meant that Senator Arthur Vandenberg of Michigan would likely become president pro tempore of the Senate and chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, succeeding Senator Tom Connally of Texas in the latter position and Senator Kenneth McKellar of Tennessee in the former. Joe Martin of Massachusetts was likely to become the Speaker of the House, succeeding Sam Rayburn of Texas. The powerful Ways & Means Committee would be chaired by Representative Harold Knutson of Minnesota, an isolationist and nationalist, replacing Robert Doughton of North Carolina.

No major change was expected from the new Congress on foreign policy but a quick end to economic controls, the primary issue on which the Republicans had campaigned, was expected domestically.

In Missouri, Senator Frank Briggs, appointed in 1945 as replacement for Senator Truman when he became Vice-President, was defeated by Republican challenger James Kem. In the House races, the Democrats lost a net of two seats of thirteen, one of which was the seat formerly occupied by Roger Slaughter, thorn to the President, defeated in the primary by Enos Axtell, backed by the President and, with his encouragement, the Pendergast "Goats". Mr. Axtell was defeated by Republican Albert Reeves.

President Truman declined comment on the election results.

Democratic Senator William Fulbright of Arkansas called for the President to resign, after appointing a Republican Secretary of State to succeed him. He said that it was the only fit thing to do for the country as he had been thoroughly repudiated by the electorate and two years of divided government, as during the last two years of the Hoover and Wilson Administrations, would only lead to economic and social disaster.

In New York, Governor Thomas Dewey led a Republican sweep of state offices, defeating Senator James Mead by 700,000 votes to retain the State house and position himself well for the 1948 Republican presidential nomination. Irving Ives also defeated former Governor Herbert Lehman for the Senate seat in New York. The Republicans in New York picked up six House seats as well.

The Republicans scored a net gain of two governorships across the country.

A portion of the state by state results are listed on the front page.

The Republican tide did not impact traditionally Democratic North Carolina which elected all twelve Democrats to the House. The Tenth District race was closer than expected, with Hamilton Jones winning 21,000 votes and Republican P. C. Burkholder, 17,000. Of the two State Constitutional amendments on the ballot, that providing for women on juries appeared to have passed and the other, providing for daily expenses up to $10 for State legislators, appeared to have been defeated.

Not mentioned were two significant elections in the House, an upset in California by newcomer to politics Richard M. Nixon, who beat Congressman Jerry Voorhis, 56 to 42 percent, Mr. Nixon having successfully tied Mr. Voorhis to CIO PAC contributions and, impliedly, therefore, to a Red taint.

In Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy, also a newcomer to politics, easily defeated his Republican challenger Lester Bowen, 72 percent to 27 percent, for a House seat vacated by Michael Curley, who became Mayor of Boston in 1945 and subsequently was sentenced to jail for mail fraud. Mr. Curley, who had previously served a term in jail for mail fraud in 1904, had previously been Mayor of Boston, from 1914 to 1918, succeeding John F. Fitzgerald, "Honey Fitz", the maternal grandfather of Congressman-elect Kennedy.

Together, the elections for these two House seats would have more impact on the direction and policy of the country in the coming decades, arguably through to the present time, than all of the other races combined.

On the editorial page, "Mr. Jones Goes to Washington" tells of the Tenth District's new Congressman Hamilton Jones, succeeding Sam J. Ervin who had agreed not to run for re-election when placed in the position early in 1946 by the Democrats to succeed his deceased brother Joe.

After briefly explaining the intent of the Framers that Congressmen would be closer to the people than Senators by the nature of the office, it provides a litany of the various problems which Mr. Jones would be facing in the new Congress, inflationary trends, shortage of housing, the need for reorganization of the Government, and control of atomic energy.

Mr. Jones had avoided controversy during the campaign and so it was not possible to know precisely what stances he would adopt. Only 38,525 had voted of the 160,743 eligible voters in the six counties covered by the district. He had won by default. Only two other Democrats had contested for the seat in the primary. Both were obscure, as was Mr. Burkholder, a truck farmer, his Republican opponent in the general election. Mr. Burkholder polled the smallest Republican vote in the history of the district, indicative of his lackluster campaign.

Mr. Jones had run for the position three previous times and so knew the district well. The fact that Mr. Jones did not engage in any serious debate of issues was not to fault him, for there was no need to do so, with no serious challenge facing him.

It concludes that the residents of the district no longer gave a "tinker's dam" who represented them in Congress. If they did, it asserts, there would have been an active contest with plenty of declared candidates. The people determined the type and quality of their government. The politicians did not create it. And it was the force of the people which went missing in the district election.

The piece wishes Mr. Jones well, albeit without any clear mandate from the voters. Whether he would serve with skill or ineptly, he would, it concludes, provide the residents of the district better representation than they deserved.

A piece from the Asheville Citizen, titled "This Unseasonable Season", offers a paean to Indian Summer. It was not necessarily in reference to the early native Americans. Horace Walpole of Strawberry-Hill, Twickenham, had used the term as early as 1776 to refer to the similar season in the East Indies.

The term entered the American vocabulary in the 1790's, referring to the smoky autumn days with high temperatures. "Indian" referred to the smokiness.

In England, the time was called St. Martin's Summer. In Australia, it came in spring.

In The American Language Supplement I, Henry Mencken gave the various theories on the origin of the term, and noted that Indian Summer often extended into winter in the Baltimore-Washington area. Asheville was desirous of some of that time.

A piece from Fortune, titled "Needed: A New Philosophy", looks at the labor scene in the country. The labor movement had come about as a natural response to the early problems in labor, sweatshop conditions and low wages. Labor prided itself on hardboiled pragmatism.

It finds the need for overhauling of labor practices and its economics for capitalism to continue to work. Labor's war on profits could boomerang against its own interests. Rising wages meant lower profits or higher prices, and lower profits affected the stock market adversely.

Government should enforce competition and a stable dollar and manage a social security program. The piece favors minimum Government participation in collective bargaining, remedial legislation to correct the worst union abuses and to rectify the imbalance between unions and management, including some form of legislation to apply antitrust law to unions, to prevent restraint of trade and collusion.

Drew Pearson tells of DNC treasurer George Killion, who had raised an unprecedented three million dollars for the Democrats in a midterm election cycle, coming forward with a proposal for public financing of campaigns, to take them out of the hands of special interests. Financing would be provided to candidates through bipartisan Congressional committees based on the population of the districts and states in which they were running. He did not expect the plan immediately to be accepted but hoped that he might eventually obtain its adoption.

He next tells of DNC chairman Robert Hannegan asking Henry Wallace not to attack Senator Vandenberg when he spoke in Minneapolis. Mr. Wallace insisted, however, that he would go ahead as he believed Mr. Vandenberg was cornering Secretary of State Byrnes with regard to the policy on Russia, and that he no longer worked for the White House, thus could say what he wanted. Mr. Hannegan conveyed the President's wishes that he not attack the Senator as it would harm Michigan Democrats in the election. Eventually, Mr. Wallace pulled his punches.

Congressman Wright Patman of Texas, he reports, would soon demand an investigation into the reasons for the firing of Assistant Attorney General O. John Rogge and also press for inclusion in the public record of Mr. Rogge's report on the business dealings of American companies with Nazi Germany and its statements regarding the involvement of Senators and Congressmen with the Nazis.

Ambassador to Chile Claude Bowers opposed sending Admiral William Leahy to Chile on a battleship accompanied by a task force, following the election of leftist President Gabriel Gonzalez Videla. Ambassador Bowers wanted the President to send then Secretary of Commerce Wallace as an emissary because Mr. Wallace could convince the Chileans of the hazards of becoming too leftist in orientation. The President nevertheless sent Admiral Leahy, a personal friend of President Videla, and the move was interpreted in Latin America as part of the new "get-tough" policy by the United States with regard to Communism. President Videla was considered the first Communist-elected President in Latin America.

Marquis Childs tells of low unemployment in the country, only about two million, and virtually everyone who wanted to work able to do so. Production was running at an all-time high with pent-up demand from the war both at home and abroad providing ready markets.

Yet, beneath this ostensibly rosy picture were signs of deterioration and decay. Prices were near the 1920 peak, which was signal to swift deflation wiping out swollen land values and causing commodity prices to plummet, creating hardship for farmers.

The cycle now in effect raising prices could have been avoided by simply adhering for a little while longer to controls. It could still be avoided with some self-restraint. But with another strike looming in the coal industry led by John L. Lewis, the prospect appeared remote. Mr. Lewis had been a Republican since 1940. The National Association of Manufacturers, advocating removal of controls, was also Republican. Thus, the Republicans would have the responsibility going forward for the results of the removal and any consequent recession or depression.

If it did occur, the chance for a stable world economy would also go out the window with it.

Harold Ickes discusses the coal dispute and asserts the belief that President Truman would give in to Mr. Lewis's demands to avert an impasse and renegotiate the Government's May 29 contract. The UMW wanted the same pay for lesser hours.

When the miners had struck a year earlier, Mr. Ickes, then Secretary of Interior, advised the President not to take over the mines because, eventually, Mr. Lewis would make further demands, as he was now doing. He advised smashing the power of Mr. Lewis then and there. The surrender in the spring and takeover of the mines by the President after negotiating a liberal contract with UMW, was the result of advice by Secretary of the Treasury John W. Snyder. The threat of a strike at the beckoning of winter was timed to catch the country in its most vulnerable state.

He suggests that Secretary of Interior J. A. Krug might have cut his Western inspection tour short to return to Washington to meet with Mr. Lewis on November 1 prior to the election. Instead, it was left to John Steelman to carry the ball for the Government until Mr. Krug would return this date. Meanwhile, Mr. Lewis sat on the sidelines and sent in a pinch-hitter.

As the most arrogant and insolent man in the country, says Mr. Ickes, Mr. Lewis had already put Mr. Krug in his place and if he were to be appeased again, the President would have to realize that he would keep coming back for more.

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