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Philip Dru: Administrator

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<SPAN name="XIV"></SPAN> <h1 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">Chapter XIV</h1> <h2 align="center" style="margin-top: 2em;font-variant: small-caps">The Making of a President</h2> <p>Selwyn now devoted himself to the making of enough conservative senators to control comfortably that body. The task was not difficult to a man of his sagacity with all the money he could spend.</p> <p>Newspapers were subsidized in ways they scarcely recognized themselves. Honest officials who were in the way were removed by offering them places vastly more remunerative, and in this manner he built up a strong, intelligent and well constructed machine. It was done so sanely and so quietly that no one suspected the master mind behind it all. Selwyn was responsible to no one, took no one into his confidence, and was therefore in no danger of betrayal.</p> <p>It was a fascinating game to Selwyn. It appealed to his intellectual side far more than it did to his avarice. He wanted to govern the Nation with an absolute hand, and yet not be known as the directing power. He arranged to have his name appear less frequently in the press and he never submitted to interviews, laughingly ridding himself of reporters by asserting that he knew nothing of importance. He had a supreme contempt for the blatant self-advertised politician, and he removed himself as far as possible from that type.</p> <p>In the meantime his senators were being elected, the Rockland sentiment was steadily growing and his nomination was finally brought about by the progressives fighting vigorously for him and the conservatives yielding a reluctant consent. It was done so adroitly that Rockland would have been fooled himself, had not Selwyn informed him in advance of each move as it was made.</p> <p>After the nomination, Selwyn had trusted men put in charge of the campaign, which he organized himself, though largely under cover. The opposition party had every reason to believe that they would be successful, and it was a great intellectual treat to Selwyn to overcome their natural advantages by the sheer force of ability, plus what money he needed to carry out his plans. He put out the cry of lack of funds, and indeed it seemed to be true, for he was too wise to make a display of his resources. To ward heelers, to the daily press, and to professional stump speakers, he gave scant comfort. It was not to such sources that he looked for success.</p> <p>He began by eliminating all states he knew the opposition party would certainly carry, but he told the party leaders there to claim that a revolution was brewing, and that a landslide would follow at the election. This would keep his antagonists busy and make them less effective elsewhere.</p> <p>He also ignored the states where his side was sure to win. In this way he was free to give his entire thoughts to the twelve states that were debatable, and upon whose votes the election would turn. He divided each of these states into units containing five thousand voters, and, at the national headquarters, he placed one man in charge of each unit. Of the five thousand, he roughly calculated there would be two thousand voters that no kind of persuasion could turn from his party and two thousand that could not be changed from the opposition. This would leave one thousand doubtful ones to win over. So he had a careful poll made in each unit, and eliminated the strictly unpersuadable party men, and got down to a complete analysis of the debatable one thousand. Information was obtained as to their race, religion, occupation and former political predilection. It was easy then to know how to reach each individual by literature, by persuasion or perhaps by some more subtle argument. No mistake was made by sending the wrong letter or the wrong man to any of the desired one thousand.</p> <p>In the states so divided, there was, at the local headquarters, one man for each unit just as at the national headquarters. So these two had only each other to consider, and their duty was to bring to Rockland a majority of the one thousand votes within their charge. The local men gave the conditions, the national men gave the proper literature and advice, and the local man then applied it. The money that it cost to maintain such an organization was more than saved from the waste that would have occurred under the old method.</p> <p>The opposition management was sending out tons of printed matter, but they sent it to state headquarters that, in turn, distributed it to the county organizations, where it was dumped into a corner and given to visitors when asked for. Selwyn&#8217;s committee used one-fourth as much printed matter, but it went in a sealed envelope, along with a cordial letter, direct to a voter that had as yet not decided how he would vote.</p> <p>The opposition was sending speakers at great expense from one end of the country to the other, and the sound of their voices rarely fell on any but friendly and sympathetic ears. Selwyn sent men into his units to personally persuade each of the one thousand hesitating voters to support the Rockland ticket.</p> <p>The opposition was spending large sums upon the daily press. Selwyn used the weekly press so that he could reach the fireside of every farmer and the dweller in the small country towns. These were the ones that would read every line in their local papers and ponder over it.</p> <p>The opposition had its candidates going by special train to every part of the Union, making many speeches every day, and mostly to voters that could not be driven from him either by force or persuasion. The leaders in cities, both large and small, would secure a date and, having in mind for themselves a postmastership or collectorship, would tell their followers to turn out in great force and give the candidate a big ovation. They wanted the candidate to remember the enthusiasm of these places, and to leave greatly pleased and under the belief that he was making untold converts. As a matter of fact his voice would seldom reach any but a staunch partisan.</p> <p>Selwyn kept Rockland at home, and arranged to have him meet by special appointment the important citizens of the twelve uncertain states. He would have the most prominent party leader, in a particular state, go to a rich brewer or large manufacturer, whose views had not yet been crystallized, and say, &#8220;Governor Rockland has expressed a desire to know you, and I would like to arrange a meeting.&#8221; The man approached would be flattered to think he was of such importance that a candidate for the presidency had expressed a desire to meet him. He would know it was his influence that was wanted but, even so, there was a subtle flattery in that. An appointment would be arranged. Just before he came into Rockland&#8217;s presence, his name and a short epitome of his career would be handed to Rockland to read. When he reached Rockland&#8217;s home he would at first be denied admittance. His sponsor would say,--&#8220;this is Mr. Munting of Muntingville.&#8221; &#8220;Oh, pardon me, Mr. Munting, Governor Rockland expects you.&#8221;</p> <p>And in this way he is ushered into the presence of the great. His fame, up to a moment ago, was unknown to Rockland, but he now grasps his hand cordially and says,--&#8220;I am delighted to know you, Mr. Munting. I recall the address you made a few years ago when you gave a library to Muntingville. It is men of your type that have made America what it is to-day, and, whether you support me or not, if I am elected President it is such as you that I hope will help sustain my hands in my effort to give to our people a clean, sane and conservative government.&#8221;</p> <p>When Munting leaves he is stepping on air. He sees visions of visits to Washington to consult the President upon matters of state, and perhaps he sees an ambassadorship in the misty future. He becomes Rockland&#8217;s ardent supporter, and his purse is open and his influence is used to the fullest extent.</p> <p>And this was Selwyn&#8217;s way. It was all so simple. The opposition was groaning under the thought of having one hundred millions of people to reach, and of having to persuade a majority of twenty millions of voters to take their view.</p> <p>Selwyn had only one thousand doubtful voters in each of a few units on his mind, and he knew the very day when a majority of them had decided to vote for Rockland, and that his fight was won. The pay-roll of the opposition was filled with incompetent political hacks, that had been fastened upon the management by men of influence. Selwyn&#8217;s force, from end to end, was composed of able men who did a full day&#8217;s work under the eye of their watchful taskmaster.</p> <p>And Selwyn won and Rockland became the keystone of the arch he had set out to build.</p> <p>There followed in orderly succession the inauguration, the selection of cabinet officers and the new administration was launched.</p> <p>Drunk with power and the adulation of sycophants, once or twice Rockland asserted himself, and acted upon important matters without having first conferred with Selwyn. But, after he had been bitterly assailed by Selwyn&#8217;s papers and by his senators, he made no further attempts at independence. He felt that he was utterly helpless in that strong man&#8217;s hands, and so, indeed, he was.</p> <p>One of the Supreme Court justices died, two retired because of age, and all were replaced by men suggested by Selwyn.</p> <p>He now had the Senate, the Executive and a majority of the Court of last resort. The government was in his hands. He had reached the summit of his ambition, and the joy of it made all his work seem worth while.</p> <p>But Selwyn, great man that he was, did not know, could not know, that when his power was greatest it was most insecure. He did not know, could not know, what force was working to his ruin and to the ruin of his system.</p> <p>Take heart, therefore, you who had lost faith in the ultimate destiny of the Republic, for a greater than Selwyn is here to espouse your cause. He comes panoplied in justice and with the light of reason in his eyes. He comes as the advocate of equal opportunity and he comes with the power to enforce his will.</p>
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