[Marxism] Communist Party Campaign of 1949
brian_shannon at verizon.net
Tue Jan 24 09:07:08 MST 2006
On Jan 24, 2006, at 9:50 AM, David McDonald wrote:
> what a tease you are Brian. who won and by how much? Later careers
> of Mr.
> Davis & Brown?
Instead of going for a slice of the electoral pie for 4 or 5
candidates from Manhattan, Davis had to go 1 to 1 against a single
candidate. Under PR he might have gotten 20% of the vote, if 5 were
elected, or 25% if 4 were elected (the number chosen depended on the
number who actually voted) and thereby have won as the legitimate
representative of 20 or 25 percent of the electorate.
When you run 1 to 1 in separate districts, the vote of the minority
is wasted. Under the most extreme cases, and there have been some
very close to this in Canada and elsewhere, the winning party could
win by 51% in every jurisdiction and sweep the election with 100% of
those elected. The other 49% would get no representation at all. For
example, Massachusetts has from 35 to 40 percent Republicans; it has
no Republican representatives in Congress. The reverse is true for
Kansas—they only have Republicans.
See below for what happened to Benjamin Davis, plus lots on the
Earl Brown was no slouch either.
NYTimes Editorial of Nov 9, 1949
A COMMUNIST DEFEAT
Whatever the over-all results of the repeal of Proportional
Representation voted in 1947, and we hope they are also good,* the
change in method of electing our City Council has put the Communist
Benjamin J. Davis Jr. out of office. A coalition of Democrats,
Republicans and Liberals defeated Mr. Davis, and its representative
was Earl Brown, Negro reporter on Life Magazine. The "bullet"‡ voting
of PR was an ideal weapon of the Communists in putting Mr. Davis into
office and keeping him there. He went to the Council through a vote
of 44,334 in the general election of 1943, and was returned to office
in 1945 with a final count of 63,498, which was second only to the
vote of Stanley Isaacs. Republican, among the Manhattan candidates.
NYTimes, Nov 10, 1949
Mr. Brown, who defeated Davis by 41,068 in the Twenty-first Senate
District, received 15,313 votes on the Republican line, 38,779 on the
Democratic line and 8,938 on the Liberal line for a total of 63,030.
Davis received 20,772 on the American Labor party line and 1,190 on
the Communist line for a total of 21,962.
. . .
The City Council, short of two members of the American Labor part,
one Communist [Cacchione, already sick, had a heart attack 2 weeks
after PR was defeated in 1947; the Democrats refused to follow the
law and accept a replacement selected by his party so the post went
unfilled until this election.], four Republicans and three Liberals
by Tuesday's election will retain its present leadership. [I'm
beating a dead horse here, but notice that PR also allowed the ALP,
the Liberal Party and the Republicans to get elected.]
. . .
With the change in the method of electing Council members by State
Senate districts instead of by proportional representation, the
Council now reverts to nearly the one-party membership of the old
Board of Alderman
NYTimes, Aug 24, 1964
Benjamin J. Davis, 60, Is Dead
Secretary of Communist Party
. . .
Went to Prison in 1951
Mr. Davis remained free on bail until July, 1951, when the Supreme
Court upheld the convictions. He [seved] a five-year sentence at the
Federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. Released after three years and
four months, he was jailed for another two months in Pittsburgh on
* In its campaign to get rid of PR, the Times insisted that there
would never be a return to Tammany (Davis was the Tammany candidate;
DeSapio. mentioned in the previous article. was a long-time leader
into the 1960s). Yet the result of the 1949 election was 24 Democrats
and only 1 Republican. That's why The Times editorial has to admit
that it only has "hope" that the over-all results are "good."
‡ So-called "bullet" voting was, again and again, asserted by the
NYTimes as one of the sinister means by which Davis and Cacchione
were elected under PR. In fact, bullet voting is irrelevant to PR
although it plays a role in other voting methods. The additional
preferences of both those elected and those eliminated are counted on
subsequent rounds. So bullet voting or the failure to designate
additional choices has nothing to do with the votes for Davis and
The NYTimes charged ignorance on the part of Black voters, but it was
the Times itself that played on ignorance of this fact in its
campaign to get rid of PR in 1947. Here's a letter to the Times on
Nov 16, 1949. During its long campaign to get rid of PR in order to
get rid of the Communists on the Council, the Times never printed a
single letter challenging its "bullet" voting charge, even though
there was a very active PR group in the city with prominent leaders:
"One of the advantages of PR (proportional representation) is that it
makes impossible bullet voting. Under PR each voter may help to elect
only one Councilman and the voter cannot concentrate his voting power
or make his vote into a bullet for one candidate. Using PR, voters,
instead of making several choices, might vote for only one candidate,
but if they do so it is of no extra advantage to the candidate. It
simply means that if this candidate is not elected their ballot
cannot be used to aid another candidate. . . . —Robert Auerbach"
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