The commoner. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-1923, December 01, 1916, Page 5, Image 5

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    The. Commoner
A Dry Nation in Four Years
Tho following interview of Mr. Bryan ap
peared in the New York World, November 15,
"My work during the next four years," de
clared William Jennings Bryan, in an interview
for The World last night, "will he to contribute
whatever I can toward making the national dem
ocracy dry. When an issue arises it must bo
met, and the prohibition issue is here. Our
party can not afford to take the immoral side
of a moral issue. The democratic party can not
afford to become the champion of the brewery,
the distillery and tho saloon. The members of
the party will not permit it to be buried in a
drunkard's grave."
Mr. Bryan, who took up a two days' abode at
tho Holland House yesterday morning, on his
first visit to New York since before the pres
idential campaign opened, had been pointing out
why Mr. Wilson won, why Mr. Hughes loot, why
Colonel Roosevelt did not help Mr. Hughes and
what effect the victory for the President would
have upon our international relations. Ho had
explained that Mr. Hughes's campaign had fallen
fiat because "Mr. Hughes was like the man who
had to take the side of the moon in a debate, on
the relative merits of the sun and the moon."
The prediction that prohibition is to be the
big issue four years hence came in answer to this
"In what ways will the result of the election
affect the future of the democratic party?"
"In two ways," was Mr. Bryan's quick re
joinder. "In the first place, four years more of
experience under democratic reforms will make
it impossible to repeal the laws passed. By 1920
the country will have adjusted itself to the new
laws, so that conservatism will support the laws
that are as against a proposed change.
"This will leave the democratic party free to
take up new issues such as "equal suffrage and
prohibition and the "election returns make it
easy for the democratic party to take the lead in
both of these reforms. It does not owe anything
to the political bosses who control the politics
of the wet cities, and besides, a considerable ma
jority of President Wilson's electoral vote came
from dry territory."
Mr. Bryan was asked to estimate the demo
cratic strength in the dry states. He resumed:
Of the twenty-three dry states, seventeen went
for Mr. Wilson, two more were very close, while
prohibition has been practically decided upon in
four otherstates which he carried. It happens,,
also, that Mr. Wilson carried nearly all the states
in which women vote. If the democratic party
takes the liquor side of the prohibition question,
it will risk a loss without certainty of gain, even
if it could be supposed that it was willing to
make an even trade of dry votes for wet ones.
"It is worth noting, also," continued Mr.
Bryan, "that the republican party, having been
defeated on tho old issues, will be looking for
some new issue upon which to make the next
fight, and since the wet vote was not sufficient
to give it a victory and several more states
will be dry before 1920 it may champion pro
hibition in the hope of winning back the dry
states of the west.
"It is not at all Impossible, therefore," was
Mr. Bryan's conclusion, "that the two leading
parties will, in 1920, enter into active rivalry to
obtain the dry vote of the country."
When discussing the attempt he predicts will
be made to capture the dry states of the west
in 1920, Mr. Bryan was asked what will be the
effect of the apparent shifting of political power
from the west to the west and south. He re
plied: "The first effect is to teach the East a lesson
in geography. It has been enjoyable to those
Hving beyond the Alleghany mountains to hear
such plaintive inquiries as 'Whore is New Mex
ico?' How did Arizona go?' 'Are the returns
from Nevada complete yet?' 'What about Wy
oming?' and 'Why is North Dakota?' The ques
tion of 'How old is Ann?' was overshadowed for
a while.
"The second effect is to free the country -from
the superstition that all campaign calculation
must be based on carrying New York. Tho coun
try can now proceed to legislate on tho theory
that the law should suit tho majority, no mat
ter In what section or sections the majority
"Y! iaV0 you t0 say ns t0 th0 knl of a
candidate Mr. Hughes mado and tho campaign
ho conducted?" was the next question asked of
Mr. Bryan The reply was:
i "JS? havo t0 make allwances for tho fact
that Mr. Hughes could not successfully attack
the administration's record and could not prom,
lso to plunge tho country Into war, although war
was the natural inference which many drew
from his attacks upon the President's policy.
Mr. Hughes was like the man who had to taico
the side of the moon in a dobato on tho relative
merits of the sun and moon. Ho did tho best
he could, but he had the wrong side. Ho was
put in the attitude of attacking without offering
anything as a substitute. 1 think tho best car
toon of the campaign, illustrated his embarrass
ment. It was entitled: 'Listen to tho Knocking
Bird.' "
On the much debated question whether or not
Colonel Roosevelt's support helped or injured
Mr. Hughes's-candidacy, Mr. Bryan said:
"I should say it would be difficult to decide
which hurt Mr. Hughes most, his own speeches
or Mr. Roosevelt's speeches. However, tho fact
that Mr. Hughes lost most In the territory in
which Mr. Roosevelt was supposed to be popu
lar and won in the states where Mr. Roosevelt
was supposed to be least. popular, would seem to
give the candidate the advantage over his prin
cipal supporter." .
As to the possibility of a change in the election
returns which would show Mr. Hughes to-be a
winner after all, Mr, Bryans comment was: -
"All things are possible,' but there is no prob
ability of a mistake sufficient to change the re
sult.. And why should Mr. Hughes desire to hold
the office when he knows Mr. Wilson received
some 400,000 more votes than ho did? How
would Mr. Hughes feel conducting a govern
ment oveY the protest of so largo a plurality?"
Mr. Bryan summarized the reasons for Mr.
Wilson's victory in these words:
"Some voters were influenced by one reason
and some by another. Every large group of our
voters had received some material advantage
from the Wilson administration. The commer
cial class had been benefited by the Curroncy
Law and tho laboring man by the Eight-Hour
law, the Anti-Trust law against government by
injunction and other measures of special inter
est to labor. t
"Here are the three most important groups
and all had reason to be satisfied by the Wilson
"The women voters probably were Influenced
by the fact that the President had been able to
keep the country out of war with Mextfco and
with Europe, and all classes had been doubly
benefited by the Tariff law. First they had the
advantage of lower import rates, and, secondly,
they were relieved of the fear of panic by the
fact that prosperity had come with a low tariff,
despite all the gloomy predictions of the repub
lican leaders.
"Generally speaking, the unparalleled record
in the matter of economic reforms was the basis
of tho President's claim for popular approval,
but the peace argument strongly reinforced the
argument based upon remedial legislation'
"What effect will the re-election of Mr. Wilson
have upon the European war situation?" was
"The attitude of Europe will prohably depend
upon the personal bias of the man who expresses
himself, but the European public In general
ought to find satisfaction in the continuation of
a policy already settled and known. A change in
administration would have ushered In an era of
uncertainty, especially between November and
"The fact that the belligerents on neither side
were entirely pleased with the Wilson adminis
tration was proof of Ita neutrality. If either
sldo had championed the President it would
havo furnished an argumont against hfm."
Mr. Bryan wan roluctant to discuss "his part
In tho campaign, oven whon reminded that tho
democratic victory was won in tho states where
ho spoke. At length ho said:
"It is truo that tho west, the stone which
builders had hitherto rejected, has become the
hoad of tho cornor. But thoro wore so many
democrats at work in that section that no one
person can claim a largo amount of credit for
tho result. My share in tho rejoicing Is surely
largo, whatover my share may havo boon In tho
"Wo are also rojoiclng that Nebraska wont
dry. Wo aro now a part of the white territory
which covers nearly all tho country west of the
Mississippi. Wo are truly proud of Nobraaka.
It went for Wilson, as well as for tho prohibition
Tho drive Mr. Bryan will captain against tho
liquor Interests will bo undortakonjmmodlatoly.
Ho will leave tonight for Indiana ami speak In
Indianapolis Sunday morning before a national
assemblage of tho Women's Christian Temper
ance Union. He will speak In Chicago Monday at
a luncheon of tho Anti-Saloon league.
In Indiana tho liquor interests forced a wot
plank into tho platform in splto of the protest
of democratic leaders, and then, after having
disgraced the party by their insolent domina
tion of it, they proceeded to throw their sup
port to tho republican party. Indiana wont re
publican on President, senators, congressmen
and state ticket.
Tho democrats of the nation may well profit
by tho lesson taught In Indiana. Tho liquor
interests havo no politics; they use tho party
that best serves their purpo.o, and they cast
it aside whon through with It. They THOUGHT
Hughes would win. W. J. BRYAN.
Thirty-four thousand two hundred and five re
publicans gave $2,441,508 to tho Hughes cam
paign fund that Is, to tho fund distributed, by
the republican national committee an AVER
AGE of about $70 for each contributor. That
is not a POPULAR subscription only about ono
republican voter In two hundrod contributing.
But, Judging tho future by the past, the admin
istration would havo been controlled by' a still
smaller proportion if tho republicans had won.
Food prices are said to bo lower in Europe
man they aro In the United States. If tho war
is to blame for tho high prices, it would seem
only logical that tho closer they get to where
there Is war the higher they ought to be. It Is
suspected, however, that the governing prin
ciple hasyt more relation to where they have the
money topay them.
There is nothing hasty or reckless about the
canvassing board of New Hampshire either. On
the afternoon of December 2d, twenty-five days
after the election, It announced that President
Wilson had carried the state by GO votes out of
a total of over 87,000. They say that only faint
signs of life have been visible In Senator Gal
linger ever since.
Election analysts say that comparatively few
straight party votes were cast outside of those
sections where political machines still hold sway.
Tho office humorist says that ono explanation
is that since candidates have Inaugurated the
practice of campaigning by automobile it isn't
safe for a yotcr to stay in the middle of the road.
We trust that nothing in the recent election
returns will deter Col. George B. M. Harvey's
publicity agent from ' calling attention, on the
eve 'of the 1920 presidential election, to the re
markable accuracy that characterizes the
colonel' prediction of the result by states. The
need of adding to the gayety of the nation i
crises like these forbids.
Anxious Reader: You havo been misinformed
The -favoriteAjpoem of Chairman Willcpx"o the
republican committee is not "Out Where the
West Begin."