Notes on the Elections

Notes on the Elections

It is all beginning again. Ike is beaming and putting; Adlai dodging and quipping; Estes preparing to shake several million hands; and Dick, that Devil’s darling of the liberals, has turned tame, his gift for nastiness suppressed in preparation for a “high level” campaign.

It is a commonplace that American elections often tend to conceal and blur issues. Our cult of personality, the amorphous social and ideological composition of the parties, the burden of regional and state traditions, the built-in expectation that campaigns consist mainly of nonsense, and (more recently) the tendency to transform the more or less spontaneous bunkum of American politics into a carefully manipulated and pre-tested branch of advertising—such factors have frequently buried issues amid a clatter of confusion and noise.

But never as much as in 1956. The issues facing the country have been obliterated by 1) techniques of diversion that stress irrelevancies and trivia (a president “who’s always on the job”) or 2) occasionally deliberate and occasionally unconscious blunting of all political edges, so that the real differences of interest and opinion that cut so deeply through our society get lost amid compromise and rhetoric.


Socialist thought provides us with an imaginative and moral horizon.

For insights and analysis from the longest-running democratic socialist magazine in the United States, sign up for our newsletter: