Suppose FDR had lived 20 more years

…and further suppose he wanted to remain President until he died, which I’m thinking would be April 1965, not 1945. (He would have been in his 80s then, which is not implausible.)

  1. Could he have gone being elected as long he liked?
  2. If so, would that have changed the way we thought about the Presidency?
  3. Again, if so, which major differences in U.S. policy would his re-re-re-re-re-election have caused?

I think once the war was over, he would have been voted out, much as Churchill and De Gaulle were.

That’s certainly the conventional view. But he was a brilliant politician in ways that Churchill and DeGaulle never imagined being.

However brilliant he was, I still believe the electorate would have voted him out. Imagine a matchup in the 1948 election between him and Eisenhower.

I think it’s unlikely. People get tired of their elected leaders. Even though you hear a lot about Representatives and Senators who keep getting reelected, consider that more than 12,000 people have been elected to the House and/or Senate, and you only hear about a few of the long-termers.In fact, the average length of service in the current Congress is 8.6 years for a member of the House, and 10.1 years for a Senator. Less time than FDR spent as President.

And don’t forget that while FDR swamped the 1936 election with 523 electoral votes, his total in 1940 was 449, and that dropped to 432 in 1944. Still overwhelming, but declining even in the middle of a war. If he had run in 1948 he would have had at least as much trouble as Truman.

The bomb followed by winning the war would have made him unbeatable.

The four freedoms would have been the new battle cry. Especially Freedom from Want. Roosevelt established successful communes during the depression. I suspect those programs would have been expanded. He would have remained friendly to Communism and would have crushed McCarthy.

He was good politically for at least two more terms, but nothing lasts forever.