What effect did the presidential election of 1936 have on political parties?
The 1936 presidential election was considered a major victory for incumbent President Franklin Roosevelt, even though the Republican candidate, Alf Landon, Kansas governor, brought little dynamism and no name recognition to the campaign. The election, in addition to contrasting the candidates, was also a measure of the popularity of Roosevelt’s key domestic program, the New Deal. That Roosevelt’s margin of victory in both the popular (60 percent supported the president) and electoral votes (523 out of a possible 531) was so one-sided provided a mandate for his administration to continue on the path characterized by New Deal programs, which represented efforts at pulling the country out of the depths of the Great Depression by putting the unemployed to work. Roosevelt’s first term in office involved major political efforts on his part to enact the New Deal programs, which represented a massive increase in the government’s role in the economy, which was anathema to many Republicans. The lopsided electoral outcome, which also saw the Democratic Party increase its majorities in both chambers of Congress, sent a strong message to legislatures in both parties regarding the public’s attitude towards the federal government’s efforts regarding the economy.
The 1936 election, then, marked a major boost for the fortunes of the Democrats, and a resounding defeat for the Republicans.