My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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NEW YORK, Monday—One begins to feel the Presidential nominations drawing closer in our preconvention campaign activities. The campaign managers are arriving to look over the Convention Hall in Chicago, and the debate goes on whether this candidate or that one will be in Chicago in person.

I am really wondering whether the day ever will come when instead of having nominating conventions the people will vote directly for their candidates for President and Vice President in a sort of national Presidential primary. It seems as though a method should be devised whereby one could sound out the feeling of the people and let them express themselves as to whom they want as candidates by a majority vote. Something like this could be done rather than going through our present method of electing delegates and bargaining back and forth throughout the convention for a shift here or there in order to gain a sufficient number of votes to put a particular candidate across.

I have heard people say that Senator Taft controls the Republican party machinery so thoroughly that there is no question that he cannot win the vote in the Republican convention. But almost invariably when this statement is made, someone else claims it is impossible to ignore the will of the people, and the people want General Eisenhower. Then a third party speaks up and says it may be a stalemate and Governor Warren or Mr. Stassen or even Governor Dewey may be the ultimate nominee. It would seem simpler if one really ascertained who was the choice of the voters in the Republican party.

The same holds true in the Democratic party. If the voters had a chance to have their say there would be no question in people's minds as to whether one candidate or the other would be considered, or whether this or that candidate might be drafted. The voters would say which one of those candidates in the field they desired to nominate and that would be the end of it.

It sounds very simple and reasonable but one of the earmarks of a democracy is that we go ahead for a long while doing things in a complicated way. The new way could be the simpler way, but we have to be very sure that anything new has been most carefully considered.

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The Asia Institute, of New York City, has announced it is opening its summer school on July 6.

This school tries to keep a very high standard in its faculty and endeavors to develop a real depth and breadth of knowledge on all Asiatic questions. It is one of the few places in America where an effort has been made to bring together the expert teaching in various departments of other universities to give short and concentrated courses.

I hope the Asia Institute will make a real contribution in its summer session in a field in which we need all the insight and knowledge that we can accumulate.

E. R.