October 30, 2014 / by admin / American History / No Comments

The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair's Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics

The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair's Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics

Language: English

Pages: 686

ISBN: 1468075721

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


---- Winner of the Goldsmith Book Prize.

In 1934, voters hoping to turn the tide of the Great Depression backed an unlikely candidate for governor of California: Upton Sinclair, muckraking author of "The Jungle" and lifelong socialist. Amazingly, Sinclair swept the Democratic primary, leading a mass movement called EPIC (End Poverty in California). More than a thousand EPIC chapters formed, much like Occupy Wall Street sites popped up in 2011.

Alarmed, Sinclair’s opponents launched an unprecedented public relations blitzkrieg to discredit him. The result was nothing less than a revolution in American politics, and with it, the era of the “spin doctor” was born. The iconic Hollywood producer Irving Thalberg created the first "attack ads" for the screen, the precursor of today's TV travesties. Hollywood took its first all-out plunge into politics and money started to play the tune in our political process.

In a riveting, blow-by-blow narrative featuring the likes of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Louis B. Mayer, H. L. Mencken, William Randolph Hearst, Will Rogers, Katharine Hepburn, and a Who's Who of political, literary and entertainment stars, Greg Mitchell brings to life the outrageous campaign that forever transformed the electoral process.

A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, it served as the basis for one episode in the award-winning PBS documentary "The Great Depression"

“Sizzling, rambunctiously useful.” —Los Angeles Times

“Fascinating….a lively, anecdote-filled history.” —The New York Times Book Review

“To read The Campaign of the Century is to understand how the business of electing officials began to get so colossally out of hand.” —Newsweek

“America witnessed a transforming experience, as Greg Mitchell makes clear in his vivid chronicle.” —Wall Street Journal

“There are lessons to be learned herein. Politicians learned them long ago, to the general detriment. Perhaps now Mitchell can help the rest of us learn them.” —Washington Post Book World

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thinking of giving O'Connor a rest—from Washington. O'Connor had been feuding with his boss, Henry Morgenthau, for months, and FDR wanted to find a new job for him out in California, his home state. O'Connor, a native of North Dakota with a law degree from Yale, was one of Roosevelt's pets. He had managed FDR's campaign in southern California in 1932, earning his high-level position in the process. Now FDR offered to appoint him chief of the Federal Reserve in San Francisco. "The salary is

corrupt anyone—and we don't have to corrupt anyone to vote for us." Although illegal registrants presumably existed throughout the state, the GOP focused its probe on the south. The party in Los Angeles, led by state vice-chairman Ralph Clock, a judge in Long Beach, tried to get the north to follow suit, but to little avail. The vote-fraud scheme was simply too complicated for the California League Against Sinclairism to undertake in the Bay area with only twenty-two days remaining until the

recent claim that FDR had been sent by Providence to govern the country at this time. "He did not offer any excuse, however," Pegler commented, "for attempting to obstruct God's work in the last Presidential election when he supported Herbert Hoover and Prohibition. That is something which is between him and his conscience." Finally, Pegler advised: “It is too bad for California that the choice is down to Sinclair and Merriam, but it can't be helped now. It is an awful thing to have to vote for

biscuit company for nothing. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of EPICs had made similar sacrifices. So when Stanley Anderson called the candidate late this morning in Beverly Hills and sketched a scenario for victory, Uppie was all ears. Sinclair had met Anderson in the early 1930s, when Uppie was writing his book about Stanley's friend William Fox. Now Anderson was an adviser to the EPIC campaign. He often entertained the candidate with celebrity gossip over dinner at his Benedict Canyon home. He was

raise the Haight option with a wide range of civic and financial leaders, such as real estate tycoon Culbert Coldwell. Privately, however, Chet held steady for Merriam—despite serious reservations. Back in August, Chet’s boss, George T. Cameron, had ordered him to write an editorial endorsing Merriam in the GOP primary. Rowell argued against it: “Merriam's whole record, and the lack of it, will be flung at him constantly. Some of that record is bad; much of it is negative, and all of it is

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