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Primary among the questions outlined by last Tuesday's elections is the future of the New Deal. The outstanding numerical gains of the Republi9cans, the stirring revitalization of their morale, and the possibility of a coalition with conservative Democrats all seem to indicate that the Roosevelt express has been wrecked and faces destruction in the next few years.
However, the actual extent of the repudiation of the New Deal is questionable. In many cases, including the important Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Massachusetts elections, local issues or personalities greatly obscured the New Deal question, and frequently the latter was not put at all. Furthermore, the Democratic losses are partly the normal mid term reaction, considerably accentuated by the fact that Americans do not like depressions. Finally, the repudiation is not generally that of liberal New Deal principles, which were endorsed since many Republican standard-bearers were fully committed to such untraditional doctrines as social security, collective bargaining, farm and unemployed relief. What has been repudiated are the spending-lending program, the radically left-wing leanings of the administration, and its efforts to forge a nation-wide Tammany.
Hence, the New Deal can live. Its liberal philosophies can live if the President will abandon his harsh tactics in pressing through unpopular measures at express-train speed, if he will modify his tude. In this way he can prevent the formation of an anti-administration coalition, and can possibly create his own coalition, and can possibly create his own coalition of liberal Democrats and Republicans. Succeeding here, he would be able to push through the principal legislation on his agenda--broad extension of old-age security--while at the same time consolidating his constructive measures of the past. And, by veering more toward the middle-of-the-road policies decreed by the electorate, he would mend his fences for 1940, enabling himself to name his successor or to run for the third term if a suitable personality does not emerge. The future of the New Deal lies with its leader, the President.
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