American 'Fascist' President Charles B. Davenport

Need to think this one over more thoroughly. Some preliminary thoughts

1] Fr. Charles Coughlin does not get mentioned. He is in his ascending period in the late 1920's. He represents something of a wild card. The KKK is historically antiChatholic but certain elements of his worldview would seem to dovetail.

2] Actually the religious overones of this need further consideration. Is the movement wrapped in Klanesque assumptions about real Christianity is OR does it have the PostChristian mentality of the Nazis OR something else?

3] WR Hearst is not mentioned. Is he an intractable enemy or has he jumped on the bandwagon? OTL his political progression was from Bryan Radical to Isolationist Republican.

4] American black participation in the Great War is something to address. Are they perceived as having fully participated or is their some real or imagined dissatisfaction with their effort by White America?

Tom
 
Walter_Kaufmann said:
1) The Socialist Party in the US was already effectively dead.
Yes, yes it was. However, the notion of the small guy up against the big bad corporations was still present. remember all those comments about FDR being socialist?

Heck, a large part of the reason we were against intervenin in WW2 was because we felt the US was manipulated into the first one by arms companies.

2) By this logic, shouldn't Germany have become socialist/communist.
Well, leaving aside the obvious fact that this was a great fear (although probably not overly likely)....

The US is not Germany. We experienced a traumatic war in the 1860's which killed more people, percentage wise in terms of our population. We did not become fascist.

Indeed, it's interesting that you cite the only other country to not get screwed up as Britain. (Presumably Australians and Canada had a bout with fascism in which they were ruled by dictators for a week before reverting back to normal).

Dare I suggest that America has more in common with Britain than with, oh, Austria-Hungary?
 
Walter_Kaufmann said:
1) The Socialist Party in the US was already effectively dead.

2) By this logic, shouldn't Germany have become socialist/communist.

"One and a half million germans died for the aristocrats!"
It almost did, several times. The only reason Germany did not become a Socialirst/Communist state in the immediate aftermath of the war was that the Allies quietly tolerated and in some cases supported savage repression by right-wing non-government forces. The eventual compromise found by moderate Socialists left both the left and the right pissed off, but the right was given considerable control over the organs of the state to prevent a left-wing takeover. Not stacking the deck like that I'd expect a Socialist or Communist revolution/takeover before 1924.
After that time there was a brief respite during which it looked less likely, but when the Depression hit, the Communist numbers went up again, and the right-wing forces were again at work countering them, with everything they had at their disposal (there was a study at the time pointing out that the police and army could not withstand an attack by both the Communist and Nazi/right wing militias. Conclusion: If the crunch comes, the army should make common cause with the SA. Ick!)
Yes, Germany didn't go Communist, but it took a lot of hard work and money (and you have to wonder whether it wouldn't have been better if it had...)

BTW, an interesting side note is that the eugenics movement, fascist and quasi-fascist groups and all manner of neo-authoritarians (as opposed to traditional authoritarians, who wouldn't stand a chance in the US 'cause they don't have a tradition of authoritarianism in government) were competitors to Communism and Socialism much more than to the Conservatives. It is quite possible for a group campaigning on these principles to espouse a strongly populist platform addressing the concerns of 'the little guy'. That would make them a danger to the Democrats and Socialists much more than the Republicans.

Part of the appeal of Socialism/Communism at the time was that it appeared scientific and progressive and addressed a powerful feeling of having been wronged. Unlike modern Socialists, who tend to be idealistic and see a big picture, many voters back then wanted their 'fair share of the pie' and didn't much care how they got it. I'm pretty sure that's a demographic into which a party claiming that it was run on scientific principles, opposed to monopolies and untrammelled 'Wall Street' dominance, in favour of keeping out the 'lesser breeds', seeking to improve the gene pool, better the lot of hardworking common folk, and could prove that YOU THE VOTER are an example of the superior race could make inroads.

OK, I kinda doubt they would pick up much of the black, Jewish or Catholic vote, but your average second-generation NW-European-ancestry worker, small businessman or farmer looks like a good candidate.

I envision a majority-led, grass-roots democratic but strongly emotionalised and manipulative system where the 'Truth' is taught in schools and laid out in films and books, where state laws provide for 'separate but equal' facilities, the humane sterilisation of people who 'must be kept from procreating for the greater good', eugenic tests as a requirement for voting and/or state office, and probably some kind of official organ of propaganda and indoctrination (imagine a far more sinister version of the CCC, the TVA, or the FDA...). Those who oppose the government are, of course, tolerated and even encouraged to participate in the democratic process, but those whose misguided opposition to the scientific principles underlying our new society threatens the very fabric of this happy country need to be prevented from causing more damage. Expect black lists, loyalty tests, and 'gentle re-education' for the children of Communists, NAACP members and other subversives. Compassionate Fascism :p
 
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