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How do you get an Social Democratic America?

Time Enough

Louise Haigh for DCMS again goddamnit!
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#1
Been wondering how you could get a Social Democratic America recently and I have a couple of ideas:

1) The Progressive Party manage to win in 1912 ushering a Leftward shift in American politics. Now the Progressive Party ain’t perfect so I could see it battling a stronger Farmer-Labour Party or a stronger SPA.

2) A worse great depression hits and there’s No New Deal, Floyd Olson and the Minnesotan Farmer-Labour Party is able to create a ‘Co-Operative Commonwealth’ which leads to a domino effect as other states try there own version in the coming years.

Those are a couple of vague ideas but I would be interested in hearing other ideas etc.
 

Japhy

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#2
1) The 1912 Progressive Party for all of its trappings was another upper class, conservative "We need to contain these problems or the people will become Marixst" Progressive organization. Its not a vehicle for drastic change vs what actually came about IOTL. They also can't win in 1912, its an impossibility.

2) This one is possible but Olson's death really puts it on the ropes for charismatic leadership.

I can offer my own thoughts on this but I'm at work right now, I'll try to type them up tonight. If I don't someone @ me.
 

Time Enough

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#4
1) The 1912 Progressive Party for all of its trappings was another upper class, conservative "We need to contain these problems or the people will become Marixst" Progressive organization. Its not a vehicle for drastic change vs what actually came about IOTL. They also can't win in 1912, its an impossibility
Well I knew Roosevelt ran a particularly racist and populist campaign in the South so that doesn’t surprise me much. Maybe a better one to ask what if the Progressive Party didn’t exist and the effect that would have on the SPA and Farmer-Labour Parties.

If per day 1912, the Progressives never arise would folks maybe turn towards the SPA instead, particularly during the 1910s?
2) This one is possible but Olson's death really puts it on the ropes for charismatic leadership.
I know the original idea was proposed in 1932 by Olson and Co so it gives him four years for him to start work (also the idea that Olson was always going to get stomach cancer is odd). In the middle of those four years Upton Sinclair manages to get into office under the EPIC banner then maybe we could see a rise of decentralised Social Democratic/Democratic Socialist entitles.
 

Time Enough

Louise Haigh for DCMS again goddamnit!
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#5
How do you define Social Democratic? A bigger welfare state? More workers control?
I would say a stronger welfare state alongside stronger unions and co-operative movements with a Capitalist model of consumption still being run in a way.
 

Japhy

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#6
Well I knew Roosevelt ran a particularly racist and populist campaign in the South so that doesn’t surprise me much. Maybe a better one to ask what if the Progressive Party didn’t exist and the effect that would have on the SPA and Farmer-Labour Parties.

If per day 1912, the Progressives never arise would folks maybe turn towards the SPA instead, particularly during the 1910s?
In that case Eugene Debs probably manages 10% of the vote if its Taft vs Wilson, probably less if its Roosevelt with the New Nationalism platform vs Wilson. I'm not sure there's as simple a roadmap as people have often made it out for the Socialists continuing to make gains at that point. Though you can always go for TR gets the US into WWI for REASONS and in 1916 the Anti-War Socialists make gains because the Democrats aren't a party with a massive Populist-Agrarian-Isolationist streak that would have just seen their Progressive effort to turn against that blow up in their faces four years before.
 

d32123

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#7
I would say a stronger welfare state alongside stronger unions and co-operative movements with a Capitalist model of consumption still being run in a way.
Okay so basically a bigger and longer lasting New Deal. We can look elsewhere and see that basically the only major advanced capitalist nation that managed to partially avoid neoliberalism was France. Global economic forces are not something easily changed through single elections or candidates.
 

Time Enough

Louise Haigh for DCMS again goddamnit!
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#8
Okay so basically a bigger and longer lasting New Deal. We can look elsewhere and see that basically the only major advanced capitalist nation that managed to partially avoid neoliberalism was France. Global economic forces are not something easily changed through single elections or candidates.
I was thinking more about the Scandinavian countries but France works too.

Also I was less looking for a single election/candidate and more how you could get there eventually and what forces could lead to that.
 

Japhy

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#9
I was thinking more about the Scandinavian countries but France works too.

Also I was less looking for a single election/candidate and more how you could get there eventually and what forces could lead to that.
I get you, they're just bad starts.

Broadly I'd say the best case is to go back to the 1870s and start building a party then. David Davis was a reprehensible "Liberal" who wanted to support the Redeemers in the former confederacy but he was also a man very popular with labor. In the event that he were to get the Liberal Republican nomination in 1872, and then beat Grant there's a path where that party survives, merges with the Democrats and moves forward with the party veering further to the Left. I'd say you'd do better with the various movements of the post-Reconstruction Era Gilded Age that Ben Butler got himself involved in, but like the Populists who swallowed those IOTL movements, you do have to deal with the fact that the Agrarian element will probably be dominant for several decades.

After that I'd say the 1930s are a good choice though big reform is hard to avoid there coming from the mainstream. Hoover, eventually and pathetically came around to action to combat the depression though it was too little too late, Alf Landon in 1936 and Hiram Johnson also talked big games about Social Reform, but that would require the Republican left to roll several natural 20's to get the job done. The Democrats are in a similar position sans FDR. A Third Party movement could make progress then but must run a careful course between the likes of Huey Long, the Isolationists and the sort-of-socialists-sort-of-fascists that dominated the American populist forces of the era.

For a down and dirty pair of ideas that are closer to home, first I'd suggest having WWII go differently. If you can somehow cause the collapse of the Soviet Union in that war but still have the allies win it in a similar timeframe Henry A. Wallace might be able to maintain his position as FDR's VP or get replaced by William O. Douglas. Without the IOTL Red Scare and Cold War both men could probably do far more with their own Fair Deals then Truman aimed to or was able to manage.

And either related to that or separate, Walter Reuther was considered for JFK's VP in 1960. If he can keep out of Vietnam, well, there's a man to truly seize the Liberal Hour and drag it out into at least a Social Liberal if not Social Liberal with Industrial Democracy Couple of Hours. Instead of LBJ muttering racial slurs as he passes a Civil Rights Act there's someone who will actively try to change things because its right. And if we're lucky seek a Second Term in 1968.
 

Time Enough

Louise Haigh for DCMS again goddamnit!
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#10
Broadly I'd say the best case is to go back to the 1870s and start building a party then. David Davis was a reprehensible "Liberal" who wanted to support the Redeemers in the former confederacy but he was also a man very popular with labor. In the event that he were to get the Liberal Republican nomination in 1872, and then beat Grant there's a path where that party survives, merges with the Democrats and moves forward with the party veering further to the Left. I'd say you'd do better with the various movements of the post-Reconstruction Era Gilded Age that Ben Butler got himself involved in, but like the Populists who swallowed those IOTL movements, you do have to deal with the fact that the Agrarian element will probably be dominant for several decades
Reading up it seems the Populists did poorly with Labourers despite the endorsement of Labour leaders like Eugene Debs. So any movement like the Populists would have to realise that would have to appeal to Labourers too, maybe having Labour Unions affiliating like the SPA did. So in this scenario we could essentially get an 1890s version of a Farmer-Labour Party vs a Democratic-Republican Party with various smaller parties around them on either side which is an interesting thought.
After that I'd say the 1930s are a good choice though big reform is hard to avoid there coming from the mainstream. Hoover, eventually and pathetically came around to action to combat the depression though it was too little too late, Alf Landon in 1936 and Hiram Johnson also talked big games about Social Reform, but that would require the Republican left to roll several natural 20's to get the job done. The Democrats are in a similar position sans FDR. A Third Party movement could make progress then but must run a careful course between the likes of Huey Long, the Isolationists and the sort-of-socialists-sort-of-fascists that dominated the American populist forces of the era.
Phil LaFollette is a decent choice even mentioning that he wanted to create a National Progressive Party in 1939 similar to the Wisconsin Progressive Party which he was part of (which unlike the original Progressive Party seems more Left Wing and similar to the Farmer-Labour Party). This came to nothing when FDR declared his own run, also he opposed entering the Second World War although once the War started he immediately joined the Army so his isolationist tendencies aren’t as dominating as with other Populists/Progressives from the era.

I would also say Floyd Olson would also be good though he seems destined for death and Sinclair too but he is too old and too Socialist for most Americans. Folks like Louis Waldman having more control and say in the SPA could maybe help it avoid the infighting of the 20s and 30s under the weaker leadership of Norman Thomas.
For a down and dirty pair of ideas that are closer to home, first I'd suggest having WWII go differently. If you can somehow cause the collapse of the Soviet Union in that war but still have the allies win it in a similar timeframe Henry A. Wallace might be able to maintain his position as FDR's VP or get replaced by William O. Douglas. Without the IOTL Red Scare and Cold War both men could probably do far more with their own Fair Deals then Truman aimed to or was able to manage.
That’s true, it could be interesting though I could quite easily see them being turfed by the Conservative elements of the Party (it seems the Conservatives of the Democrats really hated Wallace due to be both a Liberal and also being a former Republican).
And either related to that or separate, Walter Reuther was considered for JFK's VP in 1960. If he can keep out of Vietnam, well, there's a man to truly seize the Liberal Hour and drag it out into at least a Social Liberal if not Social Liberal with Industrial Democracy Couple of Hours. Instead of LBJ muttering racial slurs as he passes a Civil Rights Act there's someone who will actively try to change things because its right. And if we're lucky seek a Second Term in 1968.
Huh, learn something new everyday. Having Reuther in also probably means we don’t have the problems of 68 and all that entailed is Reuther can sweep nominations. He would also likely have the backing of a number Unions which would certainly help in the long run.
 

Japhy

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#14
How would a Reuther (1963-1973) presidency look like?
Industrial Democracy, War on Poverty, War on Hunger, the Federal Government fully behind Civil Rights, at the very least. Depends on how strong the opposition is. I'd say probably not a huge escalation in Vietnam (Robert McNamara is getting fired pdq)

Edit: Also a Department of the Environment. And some form of UHC most likely, if he can win that fight.
 
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#15
Here's my favorite way for a social democratic America: Ford wins in 1976, has a bad term and a Democrat wins in 1980, leading to something like Bob Hawke's Australia. There's still economic liberalization but universal health care is enacted and the welfare state is expanded.
 

Sulemain

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#16
Industrial Democracy, War on Poverty, War on Hunger, the Federal Government fully behind Civil Rights, at the very least. Depends on how strong the opposition is. I'd say probably not a huge escalation in Vietnam (Robert McNamara is getting fired pdq)

Edit: Also a Department of the Environment. And some form of UHC most likely, if he can win that fight.
Seems pretty darn utopian, compared to OTL. I wonder how foreign policy would go, outside of Vietnam which you've already mentioned. McNamara going is good thing-the guy was a pretty disastrous SecDef.