RichTAkes! On a Klanbake
The 1924 Democratic National Convention was held at New York’s Madison Square Garden, which was not air-conditioned. They convened on June 24, and did not come up with a nominee until July 9, after 103 ballots. A summer heat wave also happened.
Over 60 names were eventually placed in nomination, the DNC rules demanded a 2/3 majority vote to win nomination. A resolution in the platform to condemn the KKK failed to pass by one vote. There were at least 300 Klansman delegates, maybe more, who all supported the Prohibition and McAdoo from California. The other major nominee was Al Smith from New York. He was in favor to repeal Prohibition, and was also a Catholic.
The Klan was a huge movement at the turn of the 20th century. They saw themselves as defenders of Christianity, suppressing blacks and other inferior peoples, like Jews and Catholics. Nearly all were Democrats, and many local elected politicians, as well as some national politicians were members wearing a white hood at night. The Klan was the terrorist arm of the Democratic Party in effect. Not all Democrats, mind you, but large enough to wield huge power in the 20s and 30s.
The Klan held a Patriot party for NY, NJ, and PA on July 4, where they burned effigies of Al Smith, and had a baseball toss carnival type thing. 20,000 were in attendance. At the time, the Klan was not confined to the deep south. They were, however, confined to Democrats.
By the third day the Washington Post was reporting “Delegates in Fist Fights on Floor Over Klan.”
Al Smith and his anti-prohibition forces had the whiskey flowing, while McAdoo and his pro-prohibition delegates piously called for divine retribution against the “big city wets.” (~McAdoo was the Klan supported nominee. The Klan did not hold a high opinion of Catholics, either)
“The deadlock that developed might as well have between the Pope and the Imperial Wizard of the KKK, so solidly did the Catholic delegates support Smith and the Klan delegates support McAdoo.” Some reporters claimed even the prohibition forces were drunk by this point.