FDR on the Trail in Charlotte, NC
|Kansas Governor Alfred Mossman Landon|
The 1936 election was almost the same as that
of the '32 election. The press did not try to pick the winner early, even
though it was clear that Rooseveltís election was assured. They treated
both candidates evenly and negative stories about the candidates were
As in 1932, FDR received extensively more coverage and therefore higher numbers
of favorable news stories than his challenger Alfred
The Republicans made attacking the New Deal the centerpiece of their 1936 election. They tried to argue that the New Deal was ineffective and that it cost too much. At every turn, Mr. Landon tried to persuade voters to abandon the New Deal and vote for him instead. He also argued that Roosevelt was slowly moving the country towards a dictatorship. All of these accusations were reported in the newspapers, and this coupled with Roosevelt not attacking his opponent made it appear that the newspapers were reporting more about Mr. Landon attacking the President. However, no matter what the Republicans said or did, it was a forgone conclusion that President Roosevelt was going to be elected as long as the press did not reveal his paralysis and his infidelity by breaking their gentlemanís agreement.
The people had come to like having a job and food on the table no matter where the money came from. Most voters were not going to vote out of office the man who gave them jobs and money to rebuild their tattered life. Roosevelt used radio addresses to explain what he was doing and why he was doing it effectively. Most of the people had made up their mind to vote for him. The Republicans were no match for his charisma and media savvy. In this election, it was not only from newspapers that the people received their news, but also from radio. Rooseveltís radio fireside chat was so successful; most of the radios would be tuned in to his speech every time he gave one.
The 1936 election is best known, among other things, as the first time that the presidential candidates appeared on TV. Although very few people owned a TV set in their home, those who did have one saw both President Roosevelt and Mr. Landon address a political gathering in different places. Another historical thing that happen was that for the first time in the history of the U.S.A. the majority of black voters, who were allowed to vote, voted for a Democrat. Until this election, blacks had always voted for the party of Lincoln, the Republican Party, because it was under the Republican administration they received the right to vote. Democrats were dominant in the South, where lynching and segregation was a way of life. However, Roosevelt following his wifeís insistence, made sure blacks participated in the New Deal programs and received federal jobs. Roosevelt forever endeared blacks to Democratic Party.