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Sunday, September 25, 2016

When FDR Shafted Socialist-Democrat Candidate Upton Sinclair

 The following happened 82 years ago,  just after  muckraking author "Uppie" Sinclair,  the former Socialist, swept the Democratic primary for governor of California leading one of great grassroots movements ever,  EPIC (End Poverty in California)--and seemed headed for victory in November.  His meeting with a very friendly FDR at Hyde Park seemed to clinch the deal.  They even chatted about Teddy Roosevelt's response to Upton's The Jungle 30 years back.  Then Roosevelt and his top aides screwed him, backing his right-wing dullard GOP opponent.

Eleanor backed Sinclair in epic race--but FDR instructed aides to tell her to remain silent, and she did.  Sinclair wrote her a key private letter after meeting with the president, but she was away when it arrived, and the aides opened it and informed the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover, no less.

And the dirtiest, and one of the most influential, campaigns in USA history--it virtually created the modern campaign--emerged to defeat him.  Hollywood took its first all-out plunge into politics and the saintly Irving Thalberg created the very attack ads for the screen.  See a trailer below for my book on what led to all this:


Dennis Argall said...

Greg, just to let you know I've linked to you and embedded the movie at http://seattletosanfrancisco2015.blogspot.com.au/2015/06/for-special-treat-exit-via-san-gregorio.html

I thought it a nice point at which to wind up travel in California.



Paul Chadwick said...

William Patterson's Robert A. Heinlein biography details RAH's youthful work with Sinclair and EPIC (RAH actually ran for office!).

No mention of Roosevelt's betrayal as being part of Heinlein's political evolution to John Birch Society-flirting Libertarian.

That seems more due to reading book asserting Roosevelt essentially forced Japanese to attack Pearl HarborI, which made him hate FDR. Heinlein's first loyalty was to the Navy, his first calling, which he was ripped from forever due to his tuberculosis. Also, a strong case of nuclear jitters made him a fierce anti-communist. He dug a bomb shelter.

Hard not to think of Sinclair as the Bernie Sanders of his day.

Still, Roosevelt wasn't a half-bad president.