By YENA SEO, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
August 28, 1892 – The 1982 Presidential Election is officially underway, with the conclusion of nominating conventions for the Populist and Republican parties. Charles Dow of The Wall Street Journal, working in conjunction with efforts from Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World, has received exclusive information on the parties’ tickets and platforms.
The Wall Street Journal has learned that President Benjamin Harrison will not be running for re-election. With approval rates at an all-time low due to the U.S.’ ongoing wars with the United Kingdom and Spain, Harrison has struggled to prove himself as a political leader and commander-in-chief. Furthermore, Harrison was recently rocked in scandal due to his collaboration with New York’s exclusive Union Club; the president had appointed club members as his war advisers, despite active protests and riots from people across the country.
Forming the Populist Party ticket are David Bennett Hill, the current governor of New York, with P.T. Barnum of Barnum & Bailey Circus as his vice-presidential running mate. The Populist Party was formed just this year in St. Louis, in an effort to bring America’s policies back to the common folk. Recent actions by industry leaders and businessmen who were a part of the Union Club have furthered tensions between the general public and the elite; Eugene DuPont’s actions to silence populist protests only exacerbated the situation. Additionally, Andrew Carnegie’s efforts to initiate billboard campaigns across the country against Hill, who many expected to run for president even a year before the party’s official endorsement, failed as a result of populist anger against Carnegie’s factory working conditions.
The Populist Party platform emphasizes massive infrastructure investment that would benefit laborers and blue-collar workers. The platform advocates for a national power grid, anti-trust legislation, a reduced 9-hour work day, federal investment into vocational training and schools, and investment in technological innovation. To protect the rights of workers, the platform also supports the creation of a new branch of the Department of Justice to monitor private sector compliance with antitrust laws, right to unionization, and trade protection.
On the Republican side, William Evans and Oscar Underwood have created a ticket of their own, but have struggled to gain a foothold in the early polls. The Republican Party platform is traditional and does not change drastically from its previous platforms. Evans and Underwood will be advocating for the advocacy for free silver, predictable raises, limited government intervention in business and industry, and support of trust busting.
For the Union Club members of New York, the Populist Party stands as their greatest threat as they take power away from America’s elites to bring back to the commoners. While the Republican Party does stress the importance of trust-busting, it stands for the core values of laissez-faire economics. Ultimately, the Republican Party will work for the interests of industry leaders, and it is not surprising that several Union Club members have backed the Evans-Underwood ticket.
The first presidential debate will occur on August 29th in Cleveland, Ohio, between William Evans and David Bennett Hill. Massive turnout is expected, and rumors of riots and protests outside the debate hall are circulating.
Union Club members are actively invested in the results of the 1982 Presidential Election.