Democratic Party: Franklin Roosevelt (New York) and John Nance Garner (Texas)
Republican Party: Herbert Hoover (California) and Charles Curtis (Kansas)
Socialist Party: Norman Thomas (New York) and James Maurer (Pennsylvania)
Roosevelt and Garner: 22.82 million popular votes, 472 electoral votes.
Hoover and Curtis: 15.76 million popular votes, 59 electoral votes.
Thomas and Maurer: 884,000 popular votes, 0 electoral votes.
The preceding two years of the Hoover administration was disastrous not only for Hoover’s political career but for the American people. Following the 1929 stock market crash (which has been credited to the deregulation of businesses during the Republican administration of the 1920s), the conservative Hoover did little to respond to the needs of the American public, insisting that the best way for Americans to recover was to help themselves. The cold, technocratic side of Hoover that was appealing during the Roaring Twenties was now a huge detriment when the nation was in crisis. Bread lines and “Hoovervilles” (makeshift cities of tents and shanties) popped up throughout the country as the Hoover administration encouraged private charities help ease the pain of economic depression. The hope of Herbert Hoover and his cabinet of wealthy conservatives was that the massive valley of depression would yield soon to a leveling or peaking of economic activity
The Democratic Party was licking its chops following its return to power in the House during the 1930 midterm elections. The nominating convention of 1932, held in Chicago, involved two major candidates: Texas politician and party favorite John Nance Garner and New York governor Franklin Roosevelt. While Garner held a lot of the delegates, the 2/3 majority rule prevented him from taking out Roosevelt before balloting began. Instead, Roosevelt used his connections to major party fundraisers, like Joseph Kennedy, to swing delegates towards his side. As well, Roosevelt used his connections to New York publisher William Randolph Hearst to get media attention on his side. In the end, Roosevelt was able to defeat Garner on the first ballot and kept the Democrats together by announcing Garner as his running mate. What was most remarkable about Roosevelt’s nomination is that he was the first president to make the acceptance speech and accept his nomination in person, which was a political tactic to play up his resilience against an earlier bout of polio.
The Democratic campaign matched Roosevelt’s exuberance, stumping across the nation for the Roosevelt “New Deal for America”. In a speech late in the campaign, Roosevelt clarified that the New Deal would involve federal mobilization to stop the economic bleeding and actively aid the massive poverty in America. This included decreasing tariffs to increase competition, aid to farmers, help for the unemployed, and the repeal of Prohibition in America. Meanwhile, Hoover and his surrogates tried to promote their conservative agenda and play Roosevelt off as a dangerous liberal by using the slogan “Play it Safe with Hoover.” The increasingly poor American public was not in the mood of the same old policies and saw Roosevelt as a solution to the poor leadership in Washington D.C. Roosevelt destroyed Hoover and the Republicans in 1932 and got off to a fast start in his first term, winning popularity among a wide coalition that he would use to win four terms in office.