Democratic Futility


 “Tapped for $ugar”
  Cartoonist:  Grant Hamilton
  Source:  Judge
  Date:   October 8, 1892, p. 244

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cartoon maintains that the national Democratic campaign of Grover Cleveland was having trouble tapping financial contributions from the party’s major donors. In the center foreground, William Harrity, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, sits in despair because the money trees have produced no “campaign sugar” to fill the empty barrels. Behind him is a perplexed trio of Democrats (left-right): publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World (seated), Cleveland campaign manager William Whitney, and vice-presidential nominee Adlai Stevenson (hands in pockets).

The unyielding hardwoods are (left-right): Robert Roosevelt, treasurer of the Democratic National Committee (and uncle of future president Theodore Roosevelt); Roswell P. Flower of New York, governor of New York and prosperous businessman; Smith M. Weed, a friend of Grover Cleveland, former Democratic state legislator, and wealthy businessman from Plattsburgh, New York; Edward Murphy, chairman of the New York State Democratic Party; Senator Calvin Brice of Ohio, president of the Lake Erie and Western Railroad Company and investor in other railroad firms; August Belmont Jr., a banker, financier, and sportsman who had assumed control of Belmont & Co. upon the death of his father in 1890; Henry Villard, chairman of the board of directors of the Northern Pacific Railroad Company; and William R. Grace, shipping tycoon, former mayor of New York City (1881-1882 and 1885-1887), and founder of W. R. Grace & Co. (ultimately a multibillion dollar corporation).

Despite the message of this cartoon that the traditional Democratic benefactors were not contributing to the national ticket in 1892, Democrats actually outspent Republicans by the end of the presidential campaign. The party’s national expenditure of $2,350,000 (or $46,300,000 in 2002 dollars) was about $800,000 (or $15,700,000 in 2002 dollars) more than the GOP outlay. Part of the difference, though, was due to Whitney’s own contribution (said to have been a quarter-million dollars) and his requirement that local Democratic organizations pay their own expenses.













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