When the clock struck midnight on November fourth, America had spoken and Roosevelt had been swept back into office by the mightiest tidal wave of popular opinion ever expressed in the United States. That he was the man of the hour was undeniable and no one tried to gainsay it. Instead, all: Republicans and Democrats, Socialists and radicals, the mighty, friend and foe alike, joined in tribute to the man and his magnificent victory. It was his minute, his moment of glory.
But what loomed high even above Roosevelt's triumph was the utter and complete confusion of the forces of fanaticism, the inglorious rout of the rabble-rousers. In the North, in the South and far beyond the Mississippi, demagogue after demagogue fell before the crushing blast of inspired votes. James M. Curley, friend and participating member of the society of jail-birds, whose notorious record in local politics will go down in the annals of the state, recieved his just due; an over-whelming rebuff--the mandate of Massachusetts.
And the unholy triumvirate, Coughlin, Town-send and Lemke sent their pawns before the people and everywhere they fell by the way. Even Catholic centres, where Coughlin's noxious influence was held strongest, delivered in rapid succession stinging slaps in the face of the political priest. And Lemke, like a bewildered lamb before the slaughter, was trailing even in the race for representative in his home community.
Below the Mason-Dixon the wave continued unbroken. Started by Talmadge's failure in September it reached a climax in the crushing defeat of the Coughlin carbon-copy, Rev. Gerald L. K. Smith, of Louisiana. This worthy successor to the mantle of Huey Long, revealed his true colours when, blinded by the rout of his forces, he turned to obscene and filthy language on the streets of New Orleans and was thrown into jail; what power he ever had ended for ever.
Lastly, but of real significance, came the fall of the yellow journalists and the coup-de-grace of the myriad straw votes and polls. First in size and length of reach, William Randolph Hearst once more received the contemptous disdain of the people of the United States as his major candidates and platforms were universally junked. The myth of his political power, long a potent factor in American campaigns, was never more devastatingly exploded, for it proved as impotent and soiled as the man around whom it hovered. Besides the end of the Hearst hypothesis, the Literary Digest and Farm Journal polls went into the discard, hurled from their crowing perches by the enormity of their failure. Their era is over, their place to be taken, perhaps, by Dr. Gallup and his attendant prophets.
In summary, it is heartening to realize that the crawling parasites whose tentacles had wound around parties and platforms alike during the fevered days of the campaign, have been cast off and stamped under the heel of the voters of America. Their end was gain, their methods vicious lies or nebulous promises. But their days are numbered, and their sway ended. The Coughlins, Curleys, Lemkes, Smiths and others have been discarded to the rubbish heap of American opinion. Is it too much to dream that America will keep them there? Dare we hope that we will remain as free of these vermin during the years to come as we are today in the year 1936?