Cleve and Steve: The Democratic Ticket


 “They Strongly Support the Tail of the Ticket”
  Cartoonist:  Bernhard Gillam
  Source:  Judge
  Date:   August 6, 1892, pp. 88-89

Click to see a large version of this cartoon...

Click to see a large version of this cartoon

Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
This cartoon conveys the message of Grover Cleveland’s unpopularity among some leading Democrats who supported the national ticket only in the expectation of political patronage. They believed the spoils of victory would be delivered through the influence of Adlai Stevenson, once he assumed the office of vice president. While assistant postmaster general during the first Cleveland administration (1885-1889), Stevenson became notorious for firing 40,000 Republicans and replacing them with Democrats. (The Post Office was the largest source of federal patronage.) His actions earned him the dedication of Democratic politicians and the ire of Republicans, who blocked his nomination in the Senate to the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia (not the U.S. Supreme Court).

Here, Democrats associated with the powerful political machines of New York City’s Tammany Hall and New York State’s David B. Hill stand on opposite banks holding up a log over a river. The Democratic Donkey is tied to it, with the Stevenson tail safely above water and the Cleveland head underwater. Sitting atop the hill in the right background are Tammany Hall and a banner declaring in large print for Stevenson and in small print for Cleveland. The machine Democrats on the left bank are: Charles Dana, editor of the New York Sun, who had unsuccessfully backed Hill for the 1892 Democratic presidential nomination; Senator Hill; Senator Calvin Brice of Ohio, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee; and Richard Croker, boss of Tammany Hall. The machine Democrats on the right bank are: Edward Murphy Jr., chairman of the New York State Democratic Party; Henry Watterson, editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal; Lieutenant Governor William Sheehan of New York, also a member of the New York State Democratic Committee; and Governor Roswell P. Flower of New York, who opposed Cleveland’s nomination but endorsed the ticket after Stevenson was nominated.

The inclusion of Henry Watterson in this group is odd because his opposition to Cleveland’s nomination in 1892 was not based on machine politics or patronage. The editor was an avid tariff reformer who concluded that the former president was not sufficiently committed to the issue and could not win the general election in 1892. After the Democratic National Convention, the two men stopped talking to each other.













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