It’s 1944 and the tide of World War II has turned towards the Allied Powers; however, victory still is not certain. FDR has decided to run for a fourth term, amid speculation of ill health. The Republican Party is still having a hard time drawing votes from the popular president. However, age, an unprecedented 4th term, and FDR’s increasingly liberal policies have allowed Republicans a slight improvement in the voter base compared to 1940.
For Republicans, the clear front-runner is Thomas Dewey, the leader of the moderate Eastern establishment wing of the party. Wilkie was expected to lead the liberal wing, and Robert Taft was expected to lead the conservative wing once again. However, Wilkie had a heart attack during this election cycle and Taft decided to sit this election out and support fellow Ohioan John Bricker. With Bricker leading the conservatives, Harold Stassen led the liberal/progressive wing of the party. Additionally, General Douglas MacArthur was a candidate despite serving in World War II. Obviously, he did not campaign. Other candidates include progressive favorite son candidate for California, Earl Warren, and Rep. Everett Dirksen.
FDR was virtually assured renomination. Anti-FDR Democrats supported Harry F. Byrd of Virginia, but he did not actively campaign.
The Socialist Party is once again the strongest 3rd party.
This election has many what-if scenarios:
- What if FDR’s Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, became a compromise option between Southern Democrats and FDR supporters?
- What if the following Republicans have listened to their supporters and run for president: Robert Taft, Arthur Vandenberg, Henry Cabot Lodge.
- What if Wendell Wilkie, the 1940 nominee, had not died during the election cycle?
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