Republican impotence in the face of the Great Depression had resulted in a shift in traditional party allegiance. The implementation of FDR's New Deal, that had benefited millions of voters, created a realignment of political views. This enabled FDR to construct a new political coalition, referred to as the New Deal Coalition, that established a solid Democratic majority.
New Deal Coalition
The key support of the Democratic Party had traditionally been amongst the white voters in the south but the Republicans were blamed for the Great Depression and their inadequate response to the economic crisis that had gripped the nation.
The benefits of FDR's New Deal had triggered a political realignment with long standing Republicans changing their vote to the Democratic Party.
The US presidential election of 1936 saw President Franklin D. Roosevelt re-elected in a landslide victory for the Democrats carrying 46 of the 48 states and receiving 98.49% of the electoral vote.
The New Deal Coalition of voters backing FDR was established with a solid Democratic majority.
The groups who were key components of the New Deal Coalition and contributed to the creation of the Democratic majority included women, farmers, African Americans, labor unions, new immigrants, seniors, Jews, Roman Catholics, intellectuals, progressives and liberals
African Americans had been severely hit by the Great Depression as the group most devastated by unemployment. The Civil Works Administration had provided more than a quarter of a million young black men with jobs. A few found work Public Works Administration (PWA). Most importantly support given to the cause of civil rights by both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt gave the African American community hope for the future.
Women recognized that FDR’s New Deal programs supported the concept of equality and appreciated that the president had appointed the first female cabinet member, Frances Perkins, as Secretary of Labor. Other women gained important administrative positions in a variety of New Deal agencies and programs. The influence of Eleanor Roosevelt had an enormous impact on American women
New Deal legislation had gained support of the labor Unions. The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) had given workers the right to organize and bargain collectively and established codes to address many issues including minimum wages, working hours and productivity.
The Unemployed, Senior citizens and the disabled gave FDR support due to the prospect of Social insurance which would establish a national pension fund and an unemployment insurance system. Their confidence in the president was well placed when the Social Security Act of 1935 was passed.
Religious minorities gave the president support as the FDR administration staffed new agencies with talented Jews and Roman Catholics
Ethnic minorities, many from new immigrant groups, derived benefits from the New Deal Programs as President Roosevelt displayed a sensitivity to life in urban American
President Roosevelt was a skillful politician who used his many abilities to bring many groups of Americans to form the New Deal Coalition of political supporters.
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