For those of you unfamiliar with him, Alf Landon was a one-term Governor from Kansas who landed the Republican nomination for the Presidential election of 1936. Considered a shoe-in based on a mail-in poll taken by the magazine Literary Digest, it placed Landon the overwhelming winner with some 57% of the vote. A strong opponent of the New Deal and also of Social Security, he was considered the shining hope for the conservative wing of the party to dismantle the legislation introduced and overwhelming passed during FDR’s first term in office.
Trouble was, the mail-in poll was wrong – it fact it was horribly wrong. Instead of the resounding victory, Landon suffered a stunning defeat losing by some 10,000,000 votes. The magazine got it wrong and soon went out of business and the nature of polling would be changed forever.
Fast forward five years and here we are with a War entering it’s second year in Europe and edging closer to U.S. involvement as of January 11, 1941. Landon is vehemently opposed to our involvement in the war and indicates that, despite insistence on maintaining a neutral position, the Lend-Lease Bill is anything but neutral and that the American people were being sold a bill of goods, and that it would be only a matter of time before we were involved in the war.
But Landon was looking at our involvement as a drain on our economy and resources. Delivering his address at the 15th annual banquet of the Alexander Hamilton Club in Tulsa Oklahoma, he lashed out at Britain, saying if we ensured Britain’s victory in the war it would spell economic ruin for us.
As a reminder of opposing views on matters of vital interest, here is that address given by Alf Landon on January 11, 1941.