My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

LOS ANGELESTuesday—One thing is being made clear in this Democratic convention: The people are becoming less and less happy about boss rule; they want to be given information and a chance to make up their own minds.

Even the political leaders and bosses themselves must be aware of this as they see the people on the move for the first time at any convention.

Former Gov. Herbert Lehman came out of the New York State meeting with only four and a half votes for Adlai Stevenson; Carmine De Sapio and Michael Prendergast controlled all the others. And yet without question the proportion of New York Democrats who would prefer Stevenson to any other candidate is far greater than that represented by the four and a half votes. In other words, the bosses in New York State do not allow us to reflect the real feeling of the people.

This fact will bring enthusiasm in both the City and State of New York for our efforts to give the people a stronger voice in party affairs, whether it be in New York County, the Bronx, Brooklyn or some area upstate.

I think, too, in the light of what is happening here it will be easier to make some changes in the way we choose our convention delegates and representatives in general. Yes, the people are really on the march, and for this I am deeply grateful.

Another factor pointing up this movement of the people is the great outpouring of sentiment for Stevenson in the mail and telegrams that have arrived here. At the same time, the Stevenson demonstrators—not hired ballyhoo artists—keep marching around the headquarters lobby and the outskirts of the convention hall itself, since they do not have floor privileges. The delegates, on the other hand, seem to be apathetic, perhaps because they know they have to do as the leaders tell them.

At this writing, the outcome seems to be still undecided, though, of course, Sen. John Kennedy is sure that he has the necessary votes and there are innumerable people who say they have polled every delegation and know that he has the needed votes. I doubt if anyone will really know until the ballots are cast.

Whatever happens, I am a Democrat and I will abide by the decision of even a controlled convention. A Stevenson-Kennedy ticket would win in November; of that I am confident. Any other ticket I would feel uncertain about, although I agree that the trend this year is to the Democrats and that, without question, we ought to be able to win. The people who want a Stevenson-Kennedy ticket are certainly more in evidence at this convention than supporters of any other candidate, although the delegates may be held to a different voting result.

The opening day of the convention was certainly a confusing one as far as I was concerned. I was on the move from early morning.

I saw National Chairman Paul Butler for a few minutes and thanked him for his kindness and courtesy in giving me tickets and all possible facilities for attending the convention. I also explained to him that I had wired that I did not need either the guide or the car which he offered me because my son had provided me with a Fiat and a driver.

Somehow this seemed an easier way to get about than in one of the big official cars. As long as Mr. Butler had given my son the necessary official stickers so we could move about and park without trouble, it seemed to me this would be better than an official car such as is provided for such people as President Truman—who is not here—and less noticeable.

Getting around Los Angeles is a real problem. From uptown to downtown, it takes hours at the crowded times of day. I am grateful to do things at the Biltmore Hotel, where most of the headquarters are situated, whenever possible.

I was able to make a recording with Mike Wallace and another with Martha Deane without leaving the hotel, and this made it possible to keep the day's schedule on a moderately even keel.

I also met with the Young Democrats, who are trying to federate all of the college Democratic clubs, and this meeting, too, was in the downtown area.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL