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270,000 persons vote in New York State this year, for the candidates of the two great parties, who did not vote last fall. Give the Republican ticket 135,000 of these, as the experience of 1884 may be supposed to warrant the party in expecting, and the vote for the Blaine electors would be about 590,000. Let the Democracy be, somehow, deprived of 20,000 of its share of the increase, and there remain but 115,000 to be added to Cook's vote of 470,000, giving a total of 485,000 and a plurality of 5,000 for the Republican electors. But what reason is there to suppose that, with Mr. Blaine as the Republican candidate, the party could get in this State 20,000 more than would be given to the Democracy of the added vote of a presidential year? I suppose it will be conceded that it must look for this advantage mainly to a transfer of Democratic votes in New York and Brooklyn. In the whole State, the Republican ticket of 1884 got some 17,000 votes more than the opposing ticket did of the increment of a presidential year. But in New York City alone, where the increase throughout the State called for a Republican gain of less than 19,000, there was an actual gain of over 30,000 votes. In other words, the Blaine vote in this city and county showed an increase of 50 per cent. over the average party strength of the year before, while the increase shown by the Cleveland vote was less than 33 per cent. In Kings, on the other hand, owing to the exceptional strength of the Independent revolt, the increase in the Republican vote was but 12 per cent., while that of the Democratic was 30 per cent. But, as Mr. Blaine failed of election in 1884, his friends must expect the ticket to do a little better both in New York and Kings to make victory secure in 1888.
Mr. Blaine's own argument is, that the party in New York is stronger than it was in 1884, and that, therefore, it has a better chance of carrying the State than it had four years ago. So far as political facts and figures can be assumed to agree they are as follows: In 1883 the Democratic plurality in New York and Kings was but 46,749 (on the vote for State comptroller), while last year it reached 62,271. In 1884 the Democratic plurality in these two counties was increased by 12,044 over the previous year, leaving a plurality of 58,793 to be overcome by the Re
publican plurality in the rest of the State. Suppose the increase of the Democratic plurality in New York and Kings next fall should be equal to that of 1884 over 1883, there would evidently be a plurality of over 74,000 to be overcome by the Republicans of the rest of the State. It is evident that the Republican Party has lost ground in New York and Brooklyn in the last four years, and it may at least be assumed that the standing candidacy of Mr. Blaine has contributed to that result. As compared with 1883, there was a falling-off, last year, of 885 in the Republican vote of the city and county of New York, and of 1,494 in that of Kings County. Taking the same basis of comparison, there was an increase of 10,057 in the Democratic vote of New York, and 3,086 in that of Kings. This can hardly be said to have been due to any marked growth of respect for the Democratic Party, as such, on the part of intelligent voters. A typical Democratic candidate for district attorney ran 11,450 votes behind the head of the State ticket of his party in New York; and a candidate for mayor of Brooklyn, who, as a candidate for other elective offices, had shown exceptional strength among Independent voters, ran 1,209 votes behind the head of the Democratic State ticket, merely because there was some ground for doubting his absolute independence of the dictation of the local "boss." That there is, in the ranks of the Democratic Party, a bitter and vindictive feeling of dissatisfaction with President Cleveland's general method of dealing with the public service, does not admit of question. That among thoughtful men a rooted distrust of the tendencies of Democracy, as a force in our system of government, is growing instead of lessening, I take to be equally manifest. We are thus confronted with the extraordinary spectacle of a party making substantial gains at the polls, in spite of serious dissensions within its own ranks and of an accumulating load of public odium. How much more demoralized must be the rival party to render such a state of things possible! The management of the Democratic Party in these two cities has certainly not shown, of late years, very much wisdom; but is it not a fair deduction from the facts, that the management of the Republican Party has been a marvel of folly? What may be called the Blaine tradition has been carefully nursed by the organized
Republicanism of New York and Brooklyn, and the result has been a growth of the Democratic majority by 16,000 in four years. Does that fact encourage the belief that the actual candidacy of Mr. Blaine would wipe out the plurality of 16,000 to be overcome in the State? Can his own influence be a tower of strength, while the influence of his friends and advocates is a pledge of weakness?
Instead of doing better in New York and Kings than they did in 1884, Mr. Blaine's friends must evidently be resigned to do much worse next fall. Instead of an adverse plurality of 58,793, as in 1884, they must expect in these two counties a plurality of at least 74,000. What prospect is there of a Repub lican plurality in the other fifty-eight counties of the State large enough to overcome this? The normal increase of the aggregate vote of the State in four years is 75,000. Between 1876 and 1880 the actual increase was 78,000, and between 1880 and 1884 it was 65,000. But of the latter increase 36,000 was contributed by New York and Kings, leaving but 29,000 for the rest of the State. Assuming that the increase of the present year over 1884 will not be less than 75,000, it is safe to assert that 40,000 of it must come from New York and Kings, leaving 35,000 for the rest of the State. I have already assumed, from the analogy of the latest preceding election, that the increased vote of the two metropolitan counties would add 16,000 to the Democratic plurality of 1884, after making due allowance for the division of the vote between the greater and minor parties. Applying a similar standard of distribution to the rest of the State, what do we find? Let it be premised that there will certainly be a Prohibition ticket, and possibly a Labor ticket, for the presidency next fall. A considerable proportion of the increased vote must be neutralized by the superior strength of these two parties as compared with 1884. We have seen that the minor parties took, last year, two-thirds of the increase over 1883, but this is probably greater than the ratio which can be credited to a presidential year. Let one-half of the estimated increase over 1884 go to swell the numbers of the Prohibition and Labor voters, which is equivalent to saying that, instead of 42,000-the combined Greenback and Prohibition strength of 1884-the Labor and Prohibition ticket
of 1888 will divert at least 79,000 votes from the two great parties. This is an estimate which both Prohibitionists and Labor reformers will regard as altogether too modest. It involves, however, the reduction by 14,000 of the 29,000 estimated as the extra-metropolitan increase of the vote of the year. There remain, say, 15,000 votes to be divided between the electoral tickets of the two great parties north of the Harlem. Let two-thirds of this net increase be given to the Blaine electoral ticket, and only one-third to its Democratic rival. This is surely greater liberality to the Blaine cause than the most sanguine of its supporters would claim. But even the 5,000 votes thus added to the Blaine plurality in 1884, of 57,748 outside of New York and Kings, would still leave the Blaine electors at least 12,000 short of a majority in the State, on any reasonable estimate of the distribution of the metropolitan vote.
In brief, by no ingenuity of figuring which does no ignore the election returns of the last four years, can it be shown that there is any likelihood of Mr. Blaine carrying this State. The claim that he can is very much of a piece with that other assumption of his friends, that, because he received forty-eight per cent. of the votes of his fellow-citizens in 1884, the charges made against his character and public record may be regarded as dismissed. The last presidential vote may be cited as a "vindication" of the Republican Party, with some obvious qualifications, but it can hardly be appealed to as a vindication of Mr. Blaine. In this State there was certainly a considerable body of Republicans who voted for Mr. Blaine under protest, and who are not likely to vote for him again. Timid men will be under no such compulsion as they were in 1884 to take counsel of their fears. Democracy does not spell "ruin," in the sense that Mr. Blaine and his advocates on the stump said it did. Scrupulous men will find it easier to choose than they did in 1884, between the present occupant of the White House-who is the only conceivable candidate of the Democracy-and the author of the Mulligan letters. Mr. Cleveland's bachelor life will furnish no more campaign material, but Mr. Blaine has not ceased to be the representative of certain degenerate tendencies of American statesmanship. In the last resort, the Republican Party in this
State must appeal to a resolute minority of voters who regard Mr. Blaine with a feeling compounded of suspicion and dislike. And to these the party will be even less than it was four years ago, and the candidate more. As between reactionary Democracy tempered by the obstinacy or clear-sightedness of Mr. Cleveland, and reactionary Republicanism intensified by the character and affiliations of Mr. Blaine, the voters who will decide the next election in this State will be found on the side of Democracy. There are Republican "leaders" who would rather throw away the chance of regaining the presidency than make any concession to what they regard as an impracticable and unmanageable faction of their party. But if it be worth while for Republican statesmen to go very much out of their way in order to conciliate the vote that favors the recognition of dynamite as a political weapon, it ought to be worth their while to consult so innocent a preference as that for a certain standard of political purity. As between two kinds of concession, perhaps the party leaders have chosen the baser one, in the belief that its rewards are more secure. But with any other candidate than Mr. Blaine this is more than doubtful, and it is not at all doubtful that no concession will have any weight with the "conscience" Republicans of this or any other State which does not include the abandonment of that candidacy. It appears to me that a victory won by the aid of such allies as the dynamite faction of the Irish-American voters would not only involve party dishonor, but would be fraught with potent elements of party disruption. Such an alliance seems alien to the true spirit and purpose of Republicanism, and could be maintained only by a further series of concessions inimical to the very life of the party. As between voters who may be open to the reproach of being righteous overmuch, and voters who recognize in politics no scruples of conscience at all, I imagine that a large body of Republicans would prefer to give the casting vote in the choice of their presidential candidate to the former. I am sure that such, at least, is the only way in which the party can make an effective appeal for the support of those voters who prefer, in the present stage of our political evolution, to designate themselves independent.