I don’t want to carry this too far, and I haven’t entirely worked it out yet, but 1940 might well be an interesting template thru which to view this year’s election. Today, as then, the country will be emerging from a vast economic calamity with a Democratic liberal in charge. Today as then, the Republicans are poised to nominate a business titan at time when there is a great deal of mistrust in the country of the corporate elite. Today as then, the GOP is struggling to somehow construct an economic policy that, at least, appears to address the needs of those below the top 1%. Today as then, the shadow of a war that the U.S. wishes to avoid hangs over the election. While both candidate’s stand with America’s traditional ally, the Republican is the one most loudly endorsing that country’s right to fight a nearby adversary. (and, no, I’m not comparing the size of the second world war with an Israeli-Iranian war, only the second would have on the America’s politics and economy.)
The differences are interesting too–Willkie promised to keep most of the New Deal’s signature programs, while the entire Republican party of today is as one in wishing to role back Obama’s health care reform and financial reform legislation. Perhaps today’s GOP needs to suffer a large enough defeat, as the party of the thirties did, in order for it to, at least, rhetorically accept the normal workings of a capitalist mixed economy.
I dunno, I’m still thinking about this. What do you think?