OCTOBER 13, 1955
BEMIDJI, Minn.—What I have to say today really has nothing to do with my brief trip to the Middle West, but I think it is important to all of us, no matter where we live.
This is registration time in our City of New York and anyone who votes there of course must have registered.
The question of party regularity is one which, at registration time and at other periods, comes up in the thoughts of a great many citizens. We wonder whether we are bound always to stay with the candidates of our own party in order to prove we are loyal Republicans or loyal Democrats or whether we should show independence at times in order to encourage our parties to get better candidates.
An example of this was shown in a conversation I had the other day with Mrs. Lucretia Grady of San Francisco. Mrs. Grady told me frankly she was backing the Republican candidate for Mayor in San Francisco because she felt he was best fitted to be mayor of her city. I am not qualified to judge the quality of candidates outside of New York State, but I could see the validity of her argument.
I asked her, however, how she felt about the Democratic candidates for President as they lined up now in view of the President's illness. I had felt when we thought the run probably would be made against President Eisenhower that Adlai Stevenson was the outstanding Democratic candidate and the only one who might win.
Of course, since the President's illness a number of other people are working for the nomination and, quite naturally, political bosses in various places would like to feel that their particular state would have the good fortune to elect a Democratic President.
I still feel that no matter who runs on the Republican ticket my reasons for backing Adlai Stevenson are valid. Some of the most important questions coming before our nation touch on international affairs, and both the Republican and Democratic candidates should be men who have had experience in dealing with people from many other nations and who know conditions in many other parts of the world. In addition, executive experience in a state, such as Mr. Stevenson's years as Governor of Illinois, is an added asset.
Mrs. Grady responded immediately that she agreed with me and said she felt our strongest candidate, no matter who the Republican nominee was, would be Adlai Stevenson. She said she expected to work for his nomination and, if nominated, as she felt he would be, she would work for his election.
So, regardless of her local deviations she is still a Democrat, and I wonder if there are not a great many women who look upon their party affiliations with a little less rigidity than do the men. The women seem to be more concerned with the man himself as well as with their party regularity.
This may be wrong but I think politicians in the Republican and Democratic parties had better reckon with this possibility when they are considering the women's vote. Women are interested in issues and in social conditions. And they are apt to want to spread their political interest on an all-round basis and not be primarily concerned with the few weeks before election day.