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If Franklin Roosevelt's health is still good in 1944, he will have just as good reasons for running for Term IV as he had for running for Term III. Today, all crystal gazing aside, the leading candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1944with no one even remotely secondis Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
New York's little American Labor Party, given the cut direct by Jim Farley's Democrats (see above), were not merely miffed but mad. For months they had attacked Farley and his candidate, John Bennett, as threats to labor and to Roosevelt. Pinkos had tried to smear Bennett as a Fascist by labeling him pro-Franco in the Spanish Civil War.
ALPmen had been certain Farley would be defeated somehow by Roosevelt, the man who had made the party's continued existence possible. PM, the tabloid which often voices A.L.P. opinions, was so sure Roosevelt would win that it ran a gleeful headline: FARLEY: RINGMASTER WITHOUT A SHOW.
Supporting Bennett, symbol of a Roosevelt defeat, was unthinkable for them.
"Beat Bennett" became the battle cryand this the A.L.P. might well do by splitting the Democratic vote, thus letting the G.O.P.'s unthinkable Tom Dewey win.
Now the ALPmen began to scrabble about for a candidate. Desperately they proposed Rex Tugwell, Adolf Berle, Wendell Willkie, Fiorello LaGuardia and Dorothy Thompson. None, of course, was "available." A.L.P. finally settled on moonfaced, bespectacled Dean Alfange, 44, lawyer, author and onetime unsuccessful Tammany candidate for Congress. Although his was the only name presented to the convention, politically unknown Dean Alfange said what pleased him most was that the convention was "free and un-bossed." He identified himself as a New Deal Democrat.
In 1938, when Democrat Herbert H. Lehman got a narrow 64,000 plurality for Governor over Republican Thomas E. Dewey, 419,000 of Lehman's 2,391,000 votes were cast by the A.L.P. Since that time the A.L.P. has claimed to hold the balance of power in New York politics. November's election will put its claim to a real test.
With fanfare but without fuss New York Republicans picked youngish (40) shoebrush-mustached Thomas E. Dewey this week to run for Governor. They applauded Keynoter Joe R. Hanley: "It is high time that this nation realizes that you cannot win this war with business as usual, strikes as usual, pleasures as usual and happiness as usual." Then happily, enthusiastically they turned to the pleasures of Saratoga Springswhere their convention was heldthronged its race track, filled its bars four-deep, paraded and played all through the night.
Candidate Dewey apparently foreswore Presidential ambitions for 1944. Said he: "For my part, let me say right now, that I shall devote the next four years exclusively to the people of New York State."
So lusty, gusty was the meeting in the jampacked upstate resort, so great the display of optimism over G.O.P. chances of carrying the State ticket for the first time in two decades that leaders had to caution delegates against overconfidence.
But the GOPsters were gay, uncankered with cares, not gnawed with doubts. "Dewey!" they shouted and went home happy.
"A Mighty Man Is He"