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Defining DemocracyElectoral Reform and the Struggle for Power in New York City$
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Daniel O. Prosterman

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377736

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377736.001.0001

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A Red (in the) City Hall

A Red (in the) City Hall

(p.155) 5 A Red (in the) City Hall
Defining Democracy

Daniel O. Prosterman

Oxford University Press

As discussed in Chapter 5, the victory of one Communist in the 1941 council elections—and two in 1943—cemented anti-Communism as the central rhetorical weapon for Democrats and Republicans in their assault on PR and progressive policy making in New York City. Against the backdrop of World War II and the continued power of Mayor Fiorello La Guardia and President Franklin Roosevelt in city politics, the Communist legislators and PR survived the first half of the decade. Postponing a popular campaign against PR, the electoral system’s most powerful opponents (who included New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses) designed a repeal strategy to be implemented on the conclusion of the Second World War. With the death of Roosevelt and the close of La Guardia’s tenure in 1945, PR’s detractors determined that the off-year elections in 1947 provided the best opportunity to abolish the system.

Keywords:   New York City, city council, world war II, Robert Moses, Fiorello la Guardia, Franklin D. Roosevelt, communism, proportional representation

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