Jim Jenkins in his Nov. 17 column asked the question “Where did the FDR Democrats go?” The answer to this question depends on whether it refers to the FDR of 1933 or the FDR of 1935.
President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933 decided to continue the Emergency Relief Act adopted under the prior administration which authorized loans to states for relief of unemployed people. By 1935 FDR concluded that people receiving grants from the program were encouraged to give up trying to find work.
Therefore, he stated in his 1935 State of the Union address: “The lessons of history ... show conclusively that continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way ... is a subtle destroyer of the human spirit. It is inimical to the dictates of a sound policy.”
FDR then pushed through the formation of the Works Progress Administration which emphasized working for relief, which he said, “preserved their self-respect.”
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So the FDR Democrats of 1935 have passed away, and the new Democrats have reverted to the doling programs of 1933 and many on relief have lost their self-respect.