It's a statewide alliance though - Liberals in the Midwest (other than the-soon-to-abandon-the-party-anyways LaFollette) and especially the Northeast wouldn't touch the Socialists with a 10-foot pole. And quite frankly you're assuming Socialists would vote heavily Democratic without the Socialists to vote for, when IMO they wouldn't necessarily do that (as the WA/OR alliance you cite shows, some Socialists would genuinely prefer the Libs over the Dems). As an OTL example, the Populists in the 1890's diverged wildly on which party they'd support - Western Populists preferred Democrcats, Southern populists preferred Republicans.
And again, the Democrats already have other reasons for agreeing to appoint LaFollette as chair - plus they have 6 of the 9 seats on the committee, and I very much doubt they had a 2/3 majority in the actual chamber. It's far from a stupid play, and just because they helped uncover it does not mean the Liberals won't be hurt by having their corruption exposed.
We know Liberals win the Presidency and at least the House in 1916 and are in good shape to at least tie in the Senate (giving them the VP tiebreaker) so, given that, how are Liberals going to be hurt by having their corruption exposed again?
My issue with Socialists isn't that they have
to vote for Democrats. They can vote for anyone they want. My issue is that as long as a conservative in Penrose is Liberal caucus chair and the next Senate Majority Leader if Libs take the Senate it is that Socialists, by voting for seemingly progressive Liberals in OR/WA are empowering a guy in Penrose who is diametrically opposed to everything they believe in.
Not to mention now we're two Senate seats close to Cabot Lodge running Senate Foreign Relations.
Part of the problem is that with OTL WWI tech, a tie is *much* easier than Victory/Defeat *especially* in the dense Eastern Front.
The East is Football (the one with the round ball) , the Far West is Basketball.
Which reminds me, what would this war look like where the Confederacy after getting to the Susquehanna went with the strategy of Hold in the East.
(No advancement unless there was a *complete* screwup on the part of the USA) and acceptance of fallback to trenches each time the US wanted to spend a couple of hundred troops. (Yes, I know that means a "What if the entire CSA leadership political and military had brain transplants?)
The US eventually figures out that 300,000 or so CSA troops are just sitting there not doing anything in PA/northern VA and sends the vast majority of their army to attack TN, AL, and GA with the eventual goal of attacking the Carolinas and Virginia from the south.
Agreed, and I'll go a step further and say that the decision to have LaFollette chair the committee was a stroke of pure political genius by Kern and the Senate Dem Leadership - during a time where the press should otherwise be lauding the advances being made on every front against the Bloc, the Hughes admin is instead getting pilloried, and this move gave them bipartisan cover for it. They played 5D chess and won, you have to tip your cap to that.
I don't want to repeat myself but the electoral consequences are a point here. I laud this committee for being dogged as hell in rooting out corruption and graft but now Democrats can't run on that stuff because Liberals can point and say "well, our guy is in charge of the committee so we too are anti-corruption!" and then you lose that plank to run on. You've neutered that point during campaign season and in related news Liberals win in 1916.