November 6, 1936 – President Roosevelt Returns to Washington – NBC Red Network – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
November 6, 1936 – Roosevelt wins reelection to the presidency in stunning fashion, gaining 523 electoral votes (27,750,000 popular) to Landon’s 8 (16,680,000 popular). The Union Party candidate, William Lemke, garners just under 900,000 popular votes, while Communist Party candidate Earl Browder wins only 80,000. The overwhelming public support for FDR’s New Deal is mirrored in the congressional elections as the Democrats retain their majorities in both houses of Congress.
The 1936 United States presidential election was the 38th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 1936. In the midst of the Great Depression, incumbent Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt defeated Republican Governor Alf Landon of Kansas. Roosevelt won the highest share of the popular and electoral vote since the largely uncontested 1820 election. The sweeping victory consolidated the New Deal Coalition in control of the Fifth Party System.
Roosevelt and Vice President John Nance Garner were re-nominated without opposition. With the backing of party leaders, Landon defeated progressive Senator William Borah at the 1936 Republican National Convention to win his party’s presidential nomination. The populist Union Party nominated Congressman William Lemke for president.
The election took place as the Great Depression entered its eighth year. Roosevelt was still working to push the provisions of his New Deal economic policy through Congress and the courts. However, the New Deal policies he had already enacted, such as Social Security and unemployment benefits, had proven to be highly popular with most Americans. Landon, a political moderate, accepted much of the New Deal but criticized it for waste and inefficiency.
Although some political pundits predicted a close race, Roosevelt went on to win the greatest electoral landslide since the beginning of the two-party system in the 1850s. Roosevelt took 60.8% of the popular vote, while Landon won 36.5% and Lemke won just under 2%. Roosevelt carried every state except Maine and Vermont, which together cast eight electoral votes. By winning 523 electoral votes, Roosevelt received 98.49% of the electoral vote total, which remains the highest percentage of the electoral vote won by any candidate since 1820.
Here is FDR’s return as well as remarks as he heads back to the White House – November 6, 1936.