Chaos Party Congress in 1924

This time Donald Trump saved the victory celebration. After he won, lost the recent US primaries in Arizona in Utah but, the Republican was limited to a few obligatory Twitter posts: “Thank you, Arizona!” Why even more? The nomination of his party seems to have Trump anyway.

His Republican rivals, however, hoping for a last chance to stop the bombastic populists: no later than at the election Party Congress end of July you could replace Trump perhaps with a less radical candidate. “I consider it possible”, says Party Chairman Reince Priebus. “We prepare us.”
But this scenario is increasingly unlikely. Not only because Trump has threatened riots of his supporters for such a case. But also because this rare and drastic step could split the party and take her chance of winning.

A glance shows that would be as distasteful, back in the year 1924. Then rattled not the Republicans, but the Democrats in the chaotic, longest Party Congress of in U.S. history. It lasted 16 days and comprised 103 ballots, riots, brawls – and at the end was a compromise candidate that is doomed to failure.

Although there was later some similarly controversial party days, but never such a disaster. The consequences were so persistent, that the Democrats won only eight years later a US presidential election.

Cauldron in the middle of New York

Alone, the venue of the Party Congress of 1924 was spectacular – New York City’s Madison Square Garden. Rather its precursor, a Palazzo in the Moorish style with the world’s largest arena. Delegates and thousands of spectators sweated in 1098 in the haze.

The “Washington Post” described the crowds at the time: “Yiddish cantors, vaudeville performer, Indians, Hula dancers, street cleaners, firefighters, policemen, movie stars, alcohol smugglers.” The prohibition was – imposed four and a half years ago and the election issue.

Two wings clashed in this sultry cauldron. William McAdoo, the winner of the primaries, and a man with a colorful resume was on one side. He was a lawyer, businessman and progressive politician, previously rail Chief and Finance Minister. And he was a son-in-law of former President Woodrow Wilson.

Despite his connections to the racist Ku Klux Klan and a corrupt oil Baron he had prevailed in the primaries – against three ex-governors and the auto pioneer Henry Ford. McAdoo were delegates from the remote southern and Western States: farmers, Protestants and supporters of prohibition.

On the other side of the party machine of the New York Democrats: trade unionists, Catholics, immigrants and opponent of prohibition, who supported their Governor Al Smith. Smith was presented by the later President Franklin D. Roosevelt.