Henry A. Wallace
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|Hail to the Chief?|
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Henry A(gard). "Loony Toons" Wallace was the Vice President under Franklin Roosevelt from 1941 to 1945.
Wallace was relatively intelligent, absurdly liberal for his day (opposing segregation and sex discrimination in the era when half the Democratic Party voted down a federal anti-lynching bill)... and just a little bit of a kook. His downfall was ultimately a result of anti-Asian racism, red-baiting, and back-room jockeying.
After a long and public pro-Soviet record during the war, the Democratic Party bosses decided they wanted to slide into the VP seat a more hardline figure: Harry S. Truman. After FDR dropped dead, Truman inherited an alliance with Stalin, which soon broke down.
Not having been in the right place at the right time to slide into the White House, in 1945, he ran as a third party candidate for President in 1948 against Truman, Thomas Dewey, and Strom Thurmond. Both he and Thurmond got about 2% each of the popular vote, which didn't keep Truman from winning. Wallace ran to the left of Truman, in part against the Cold War and the emerging new Red Scare. The Communist Party USA endorsed Wallace in a "popular front" strategy that year rather than run their own candidate.
Wallace was also into all sorts of nonsensical bullshit. In a twirly-whirly trip from Presbyterianism to Roman Catholicism before becoming a High Mass Episcopalian Anglican, he got into the woo of a guru named Nicholas Roerich. His private correspondence with Roerich was made public by his enemies, and they were cynical enough to call him insane for wishing blessings from the wrong god in his salutations, while simultaneously invoking Jesus Christ being outlawed by the damned Commies.