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WAVERING PARTY LINES

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

It has long been a commonplace of students of American government to declare that the two major parties have become nothing but empty labels. Yet, in spite of their apparent lack of divergence, a fundamental difference in point of view has hitherto distinguished them. Republicanism has been identified with capital: Democracy with the working classes. Even this distinction has begun to crumble, however. "The most significant feature of the present Congress," writes the Washington correspondent of the New Republic, "has been the complete breakdown of party lines." The surrender of the Democratic congressmen to Mellon tax-reduction principles indicates that their party has not yet recovered from the disintegrating effect of the Madison Square Garden convention.

With the major parties thus gradually converging, liberalism would be politically somnolent were it not for the stubborn resistance which the Western insurgents have offered to the Administration. By providing for a "Progressive Republican" on the commission the new tariff law has recognized this bloc as a distinct faction. In view of the Democratic schism which loomed so large in 1924, and is still quite possible, this rupture within the Republican ranks makes for an added . Should Eastern Democracy slough off the reactionary South it would then occupy a position very similar to Western progressivism.

The main obstacle to an alliance between these two groups is a geographic one. The West is agricultural and rural the East is industrial and urban. But the union of capitalists and farmers in the Republican party seems at least as contrary to sectional interest as a combination of agriculturists and laborers. Furthermore the recent housing bill sponsored by Governor Smith is not far different fom that type of government control advocated by the farm bloc. In the common opposition of both the Eastern and Western progressives to the great corporate interests now in power, there is the germ of a major liberal party. And since a political realignment, based on definite economic doctrines, instead of inherent prejudices, would be of inestimable benefit to American politics, it is to be hoped that the obsolete designations, which now separate similar schools of thought, will eventually be overcome.

The main obstacle to an alliance between these two groups is a geographic one. The West is agricultural and rural the East is industrial and urban. But the union of capitalists and farmers in the Republican party seems at least as contrary to sectional interest as a combination of agriculturists and laborers. Furthermore the recent housing bill sponsored by Governor Smith is not far different fom that type of government control advocated by the farm bloc. In the common opposition of both the Eastern and Western progressives to the great corporate interests now in power, there is the germ of a major liberal party. And since a political realignment, based on definite economic doctrines, instead of inherent prejudices, would be of inestimable benefit to American politics, it is to be hoped that the obsolete designations, which now separate similar schools of thought, will eventually be overcome.

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