Clark Clifford’s 1947 memo on political strategy to Harry Truman is a fascinating historical document for all kinds of reasons, notably including its offensive descriptions of Italians, and the view that Truman should back civil rights because “the Negro voter has become a cynical, hardboiled trader.” There’s also an incredibly cynical description of how increased Cold War tensions will help Truman. And this on Jews:
The Jew. The Jewish vote, insofar as it can be thought of as a bloc, is important only in New York. But (except for Wilson in 1916) no candidate since 1876 has lost New York and won the Presidency, and its 47 votes are naturally the first prize in any election. Centered in New York City, that vote is normally Democratic and, if large enough, is sufficient to counteract the upstate vote and deliver the state to President Truman. Today the Jewish bloc is interested primarily in Palestine and will continue to be an uncertain quantity right up to the time of election. Even though there is general approval among the Jewish people regarding the United Nations report on Palestine, the group is still torn with conflicting views and dissentsion. It will be extremely difficult to decide some of the vexing questions which will arise int he months to come on the basis of political expediency. In the long run, there is likely to be greater gain if the Palestine problem is approached on the basis of reaching decisions founded upon intrinsic merit.
I don’t really have anything to say about that. But in these depressing times, it’s fun to bury oneself in the past.