Ibn Warraq

Having just seen the movie All the King's Men, and coming to the conclusion that Willie Stark was not nearly as interesting as the real-life Huey Long, I've been a bit inspired. Now untill he was assassinated Huey Long and Father Charles Coughlin were planning on mounting a 3rd party challenge under Long's "Share Our Wealth" program running to the left of FDR. They didn't expect to win, but hoped that this would bring about a Democratic loss and in 1940 Long would be able to win the Democratic nomination and then run for President. I should mention that Long wanted Burton Wheeler to be the sacrifial lamb, but following his assassination in 1935 Wheeler backs out. Now here's my POD: Long survives his assassination attempt and gains a tremendous amount of public sympathy(It's happened to other public figures who've been assassinated, why not Long), Wheeler backs out as in OTL, Long can't find any other suitable candidates, and after being reminded of his own mortality and seeing his spike in approval, decided to run himself with Coughlin as his VP gambling that even if he can't win, the Democrats will be too afraid to NOT give him the nomination in 1940. So what would have happened.
1. Would Long and Coughlin have been able to win enough Southern States and steal away enough rural voters and Catholic voters to allow Landon the edge he needed to win election?
2. Would Landon run a more aggressive campaign if he thought he could beat Roosevelt?
3. Would Roosevelt have tacked left while campaigning and if so, what effect would that have?
4. If Roosevelt loses, how would a Republican administration have handled both the depression and the emerging war in Europe?
5. Would the Lend-Lease act and the embargo on Japan have been passed? If not, what effect would that have.
6. How would this have effected the election of 1940 and the US's joining or not joining the allied cause during WWII?
I thought Father Coughlin was a right-winger, not a leftist. His pre-war radio speeches were akin to Lindbergh's in terms of content.


His was right-wing populism, which it could be argued was Huey's position too. Coughlin just threw in religion and anti-Semitism.
I have heard different views of Long. I have heard it argued that he was less racist than most politicians from that state.

I have certainly heard it alleged that he was very corrupt, but I have heard that alleged of lots of Governors of Lousiana over a long period.

My impression is that in 1936 issues around Europe and the Nazi threat were not seen as so major.

Is there any chance that Landon would come third in such an election? If so what would happen to the Republican Party.

I am assuming that FDR gets the Presidency if the election goes to the House.

Did Long have plans to run lots of candidates for Congressional seats?

Ibn Warraq

Long had no plans to run any candidates for Congress. He didn't want to start a 3rd party, he just wanted to sabotage Roosevelt and set himself up for the future. I can't see Landon coming in 3rd. He still won 39% of the vote and I can't see too many of his voters abandoning him for Long and no matter how popular Long was I can't see him doing better than the 24% of the vote that Roosevelt won 1924(the most of any 3rd party candidate in the 20th century.) and if he saw Long's candidacy as giving him a chance to win, I think he would have fought much harder and, if anything, had more votes in TTL than OTL. I think there are three major possibilies; the first is that Roosevelt wins, but barely, with only about 40-42% of the vote and is in a much weaker position beginning the 2nd term than the OTL Roosevelt who won 61% of the vote and every state but Maine and Vermont. The second is that, as Derek suggests, the race goes to the House and FDR wins but again, is much weaker than OTL especially if Long allows Landon to win a plurality of votes(not absurd since I think he would steal far more from Roosevelt than Landon). The third is that Landon barely wins but roughly 60% of the public voted against him so he has a very rocky 1st term and there's alot of bitterness within the Democratic party between the supporters of FDR and those of Long.
As I recall, Roosevelt's '36 campaign was fairly weak, mostly because he already knew he could easily win just by resting on his laurels. If Long is there changing the scenario then Roosevelt might decide to launch a more aggressive campaign to try and shore up his position.


If long is able to get in instead of FDR expect a farther reaching new deal and a more militarized US.
I have certainly heard it alleged that he was very corrupt, but I have heard that alleged of lots of Governors of Lousiana over a long period.

Show me an honest Louisiana politician and I'll show you my social life. :D

Long would almost certainly win the Democratic nomination in 1940 and would then go onto to defeat Republican incumbent President Alf Landon. By 1940, Landon would have reversed all of FDR's reforms so the Depression would be even worse in TTL in 1940 than it was in OTL. Long would then return all of Roosevelt's reforms and add some new ones. Pearl Harbor could be worse in TTL, too, and Long wouldn't have a lot of time to get the nation from a primarily-isolationist nation to a pro-war one, but Pearl Harbor'll change that.
The idea that Long could have siphoned votes from Roosevelt, and tipped the election to the Republicans, was based on the assumption that the 1936 election would be fairly close.
Democratic Chairman Jim Farley privately said Long could win five million votes. But FDR ended up beating Landon by a margin much larger than anyone predicted in 1934 or 1935. Roosevelt won by 11 million votes.
I doubt Long could have won that much support.
I think it would be interesting for LOng and Coughlin to form their own third party, carry seats in the south, maybe the working poor of the rust belt too. They are lestist on the economy, rightist on social issues, and isolationist on foreign policy. With landon in office there might be no US involvement in WWII. No one was all that excited about invading Europe, and the Japanese werent much of a concern until FDR goaded them into bombing Pearl Harbor. If Landon let them get their oil from the US, then they probably would have left Hawaii alone. Long's party would be very against the joining the war, republican would be split, and democrats would have trouble convincing voters to let their sons get shot in "someone else's war". Would it be possible ofr the allies to win if Landon kept the US out of the war?

Hmmm... perhaps I will stretch this into an TL, if you dont mind.

Ibn Warraq

I actually think that if their had been a President Landon followed by a President Long,(admittedly a big if) we probably wouldn't have Pearl Harbor. The primary reason Japan attacked the US was because the US imposed an embargo on them and I don't think a Republican or a Long administration would have done that.

Sky Emperor,

Go ahead and make it into a TL if you want. I think it could be interesting.:D
Archangel Michael said:
Show me an honest Louisiana politician and I'll show you my social life. :D

:D :D :D :D :D

We are proud of our crooked politics. That's why that schmuck Edwin Edwards got elected four f***ing times!
Why would the US be MORE militarised under Huey Long? Usually military budgets contract under champions of social programs.

Not necessarily. Long was an isolationist, and probably would have needed every penny he could get for social welfare programs.
Shameless Plug: everyone who digs Huey Long ought to to check out my Kingfish in Ameica TL in this forum.


Huey Long was a big critic of military spending. A very big critic. The military would be cut down and never expanded, as money went to social and economic programs instead.