The Democratic Nomination


 “A Strenuous Political Spring Is Predicted"
  Cartoonist:  Victor Gillam
  Source:  Judge
  Date:  January 30, 1904

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Complete HarpWeek Explanation:
When the candidacy of Senator Arthur Pue Gorman of Maryland was fatally injured by his opposition to the Panama Canal treaty, some conservative Democrats promoted Grover Cleveland, the former president (1885-1889, 1893-1897) as the best choice for the presidential nomination. Although he had presided over an economic depression during his second administration, Cleveland’s political credentials were exactly what the conservative Democrats wanted: he was well-known nationally, could unite Democrats in the urban North and rural South, was pro-business, favored the gold standard and tariff reform, and opposed an expansionist foreign policy and federal protection of voting rights. However, Cleveland preferred remaining in political retirement and actively engaged as a trustee of Princeton University, so he declined to seek a third term.

Here, Cleveland appears as the proverbial groundhog on Groundhog’s Day, February 2. During his political winter, he has been hibernating in the “political retirement” den. Now, he emerges into the sunlight to cast a shadow of “Presidential Aspirations,” which “has been seen by persons of undoubted veracity”—four leading Democrats appearing in the left background. Leaning out from behind the tree is Congressman John Sharp Williams of Mississippi, the House minority leader, who was a key figure in the task of finding an electable candidate. Williams himself was occasionally mentioned in the press as being of presidential timber or as a possible vice-presidential nominee, but expressed no interest in either position.

Behind the other tree is Richard Olney, attorney general and secretary of state in Cleveland’s second administration. He was considered by many conservatives to be a suitable alternative to Cleveland, and he had the backing of his home state of Massachusetts. However, he also decided not to seek the nomination. Just behind Olney is David B. Hill, a former governor of and U.S. senator from New York, who was the campaign manager of Judge Alton B. Parker, the party’s eventual nominee. In the very back is Judge George Gray of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, The Netherlands. A well-respected former senator from Delaware, Gray was regarded as a potential Democratic presidential candidate, but owed his judicial appointments to the late Republican president, William McKinley.













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