1 AUGUST 1952, Page 1

A Pressed Men's 'Election

One volunteer is worth quite a number of pressed men. But the American Presidential Election knows no volunteers. Two pressed men face one another in the lists. General Eisenhower made no attempt to conceal the fact that he would far rather be left where he was at S.H.A.P.E. than be plunged in the welter of a contested election, or even than be installed in the White House. Governor Stevenson had to be almost literally dragged to what for him meant the stake. It is a situation without precedent in America, but one in which, in one aspect at least, both America and the world as a whole may take satisfaction. Whatever the issue of the contest, the next President of the United States will be a man of high character and great ability, commanding the confidence both of his countrymen and of foreigners. He will on the whole be a middle-of-the-road man, likely to stir no animosities or partisan passions. On which of the far from would-be Presidents the mantle will fall is a question that must remain unanswered till November. Since all activity is suspended during the dog-days of August it will be September before the relative positions can be any different from what they are now. On what in fact they are now our Washington corres- pondent throws a good deal of light in a message on a later page from the Convention city. If he is right, as there is good reason to think he may be, the Democrats have better ground for optimism than the Republicans. They start with a five- million advantage in party-membership, and they are a com- pletely united party (in spite of various threats of fissure) whereas their opponents are still badly split. The Republicans may bank heavily on General Eisenhower's personality, but Mr. Stevenson is manifestly no nonentity, and the successful administration of a State like Illinois is better preparation for the administration of the United States than the successful conduct of a campaign in Europe. But September and October are capable of changing the whole complexion of things. That is what gives zest to the game. It is by no means only the candidate who counts. Two efficient and not over-scrupulous machines will both be working overtime.