Voting Deliberatively: FDR and the 1936 Presidential Campaign

Voting Deliberatively: FDR and the 1936 Presidential Campaign

by Mary E. Stuckey

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The 1932 election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt seemed to hold the promise of Democratic domination for years to come. However, leading up to the 1936 election, persistent economic problems, a controversial domestic agenda, and the perception of a weak foreign policy were chipping away at public support. The president faced unrelenting criticism from both the Left and the Right, and it seemed unlikely that he would cruise to the same clear victory he enjoyed in 1932. But 1936 was yet another landslide win for FDR, which makes it easy to forget just how contested the campaign was. In Voting Deliberatively, Mary Stuckey examines little-discussed components of FDR’s 1936 campaign that aided his victory. She reveals four elements of this reelection campaign that have not received adequate attention: the creation of public opinion, the attention paid to local organizations, the focus on specific kinds of interests, and the public rhetoric that tied it all together. Previous studies of the 1936 presidential election discuss elements such as FDR’s vulnerability before the campaign and the weakness of Republican candidate Alf Landon. But these histories pay little attention to the quantity and quality of information Roosevelt acquired, the importance of organizations such as the Good Neighbor League and the Committee of One, the mobilization of the vote, and the ways in which these organizational strategies fused with Roosevelt’s rhetorical strategies. Stuckey shows how these facets combined in one of the largest victories in Electoral College history and provided a template for future victory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780271071923
Publisher: Penn State University Press
Publication date: 05/11/2015
Series: Rhetoric and Democratic Deliberation , #12
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 168
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Mary E. Stuckey is Professor of Communication and Political Science at Georgia State University, where she focuses on rhetoric and presidential politics. Her most recent books are Rhetoric: A Presidential Briefing Book and The Good Neighbor: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Rhetoric of American Power.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction: Roosevelt and the 1936 Election 1

1 Creating Public Opinion, Muting the Public's Voice 23

2 Empowering the Public, Privileging the Candidate 43

3 Mobilizing the Vote, Containing the Public 66

4 Speaking for the Public, Empowering the Presidency 89

Conclusion: The Mass Public and the Presidency 112

Notes 123

Bibliography 143

Index 151

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