The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project is a university-chartered research center associated with the Department of History of The George Washington University

The George Washington University

The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project
Teaching Eleanor Roosevelt Glossary

The year 1940 was a crucial election year in American history, not only because it was the first time that a major party had nominated an incumbent president for a third consecutive term, but also because FDR's re-election ensured that he would steer the United States through World War II. Nonetheless, the decision to run for a third term was controversial and Democratic leaders worried that voters would defect to the Republican ticket in protest. As a result, it was vitally important that the president retain the support of the so-called "New Deal coalition," a powerful alliance of minorities, blue-collar workers, organized labor, farmers, and progressives that had twice before handed FDR the presidency.

The Independent Committee for Roosevelt and Wallace (formed shortly after FDR's renomination in 1940 and his selection of his secretary of agriculture as his vice-presidential running mate) was headed by Independent Senator George Norris of Nebraska and Republican mayor of New York, Fiorello La Guardia. Although they were not Democrats, both were ardent supporters of the New Deal, and their partnership on the committee illustrated broad bipartisan support for FDR across vast geographic and cultural differences. La Guardia was an ethnic New York native, while Norris was the model of the midwestern heartland. United behind FDR they were a powerful political symbol, and they closely collaborated with Eleanor Roosevelt to insure that the New Deal coalition remained intact through Election Day.
 


Sources:

Lash, Joseph. Eleanor and Franklin. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1971, 811.