|Ron Peterson wrote
"Henry Wallace did run as an independent."
Yes he did, but he was aced by the establishment Democrats as vice-presidential nominee for FDR's 4th term, the Dems were all in for turning on the Soviet Union, he stood for rapprochement, and so he ran as an independent, presciently foreseeing the result for all of humanity of enmity toward the Soviet Union, doubtless without being fully aware of the full consequences of a prolonged nuclear arms race and the proliferation of this ultimate weapon.
Wikipedia tells some of the story (fluffs the rest):
"In fact, Wallace almost became the nation’s president. In 1940, he was FDR’s running mate and served as his Vice President for four years. But in 1944, against the advice of the Democratic Party’s progressives and liberals — including his wife Eleanor — FDR reluctantly allowed the party’s conservative, pro-business and segregationist wing to replace Wallace with Senator Harry Truman as the Vice Presidential candidate. Had Wallace remained as Vice President, he would have become president when FDR died in April 1945."
You have to wonder how reluctant FDR might have been. Wallace's main claim was as a New Deal supporter, an outspoken liberal. When capitalism faces barriers or crisis, its managing directors do what has to be done by way of interim compromise, even against the short-term interests of their own, and the New Deal filled the bill. When the war was won there was no place for the New Deal, as Truman made clear. I don't recall ever reading that there was any particular bond between FDR and Wallace, socially or politically, although some biographies may relate versions of that story. My impression is that FDR had proven himself as governor of NY, capital's headquarter state, and Wall Street's anointed alternative presidential candidate. On his landslide victories he then had served well as a populist, pragmatic, malleable 'New Deal' president for four terms through the greatest economic crisis in capitalism's history with a quarter of the workforce unemployed, and successfully through the victorious role of the industrially-predominant US in WW2 - - surrounded as he was by such as Bernard Baruch (wealthy Wall Street investor), Jim Farley (Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, business executive and deal maker), Sam Rosenman (former NY associate supreme court justice and president of the New York City Bar Association). FDR had been a loyal servant of of his wing of the party of Wall Street - as they were shaping the post-war American empire with the task of reviving global capitalism in the wreckage of the war. They were only entertaining the alliances of dependent cooperating capitalist sycophants in collapsed states susceptible to Communist revolution. So Wallace broadcast his predilection for cooperation with the Soviet Union, the specter on their horizon always, along with his liberal views (even though he was originally a Republican). In an era of rampant profit-taking, the managers of capital wouldn't have put up with a Wallace candidacy for an instant.
So Henry Wallace was effectively marginalized and ended up with 3% of the vote.
That's all part of the shrinking magic of an insurgent hegemon, now openly questioned by the suits and much of the rest as global capital heads toward what may be the mother of all crises.
As to that, in his book Imperialism in the 21st Century (2016), John Smith quotes James Kynge and Jonathan Wheatley on the significance of the economy's role in inducing a likelihood of deflation, which was blamed for turning the 1929 US stock market crash into the Great Depression:
"Fears that a downward price spiral might follow the 2008/09 financial crisis was a key impetus behind the decision of Ben Bernanke, then chairman of the US Federal Reserve, to unleash quantitative easing—the monetary policy that has dominated the world’s economic cycle ever since. For these reasons, evidence of a deepening deflationary spiral in Asia—sparked by manufacturing overcapacity, an evaporation of trade demand and anaemic productivity—is a major cause for concern. That anxiety is amplified because . . . it is taking place just as the EU and Japan are slipping back into deflation while the US is struggling with weak corporate earnings, [and this] makes Asia’s falling prices a pivotal issue."
And here is the conclusion to Imperialism in the 21st Century http://resistir.info/livros/imperialism_john_smith.pdf, quoted here in full and well worth contemplating:
"The vast wave of outsourcing of production processes to low-wage countries, enabled by the fortuitous arrival of ICT and rapid advances in transportation technology, was a strategic response to the twin crises of declining profitability and overproduction that resurfaced in the 1970s in the form of stagflation and synchronized global recession. This course that was conditioned by the imperialists’ reluctance to reverse the expensive concessions that helped convert the workers of the Global North into passive bystanders, or even accomplices, to their subjugation of the rest of the world. along with a huge expansion of domestic, corporate, and sovereign debt, the global shift of production gave the outmoded and destructive capitalist system a respite that lasted for barely twenty-five years. The “financial crisis” that brought this to an end is a secondary infection, a sickness caused by the medicine imbibed to relieve a deeper malaise, one for which capitalism has no alternative remedies. Exponentially increasing indebtedness succeeded in containing the overproduction crisis, but it has brought the global financial system to the point of collapse. Outsourcing has boosted profits of firms across the imperialist world and helped to sustain the living standards of its inhabitants, but this has led to deindustrialization, has intensified capitalism’s imperialist and parasitic tendencies, and has piled up global imbalances that threaten to plunge the world into destructive trade wars. All of the factors that produced this crisis—increasing debt, asset bubbles, global imbalances—are being amplified by the effects of the emergency measures designed to contain it. The irony of zero-interest rate policy and quantitative easing is that their greatest success—preserving the value of financial assets and thus the wealth of those who own these financial assets—blocks the only possible capitalist solution to the crisis, namely a massive cancellation and reassignment of claims on social wealth. QE and ZIRP— Zero Interest Rate Policy, or “crack cocaine for the financial markets,” in a memorable phrase uttered by a Goldman Sachs banker —are therefore means of postponing the inevitable, of kicking the can down the road while waiting and hoping for the growth engine to restart.
Although the global crisis first manifested in the sphere of finance and banking, what’s now engulfing the world is far more than a financial crisis. It is the inevitable and now unpostponable outcome of the contradictions of capitalist production itself. In just three decades, capitalist production and its inherent contradictions have been utterly transformed by the vast global shift of production to low-wage countries, with the result that profits, prosperity, and social peace in imperialist countries have become qualitatively more dependent upon the proceeds of super-exploitation of living labor in countries like Vietnam, Mexico, Bangladesh, and China. It follows that this is not just a financial crisis, and it is not just another crisis of capitalism. It is a crisis of imperialism.
The rise of neoliberalism after a decade of wars, crises, and revolutions was not inevitable. The 1970s was, after all, the decade of the expulsion of the United States from Vietnam, the Nicaraguan and Iranian revolutions, Cuba’s defeat of South Africa’s invasion of Angola, and the Soweto uprising that followed. It was the result of battles whose outcome was not determined in advance. Neither, four decades later, is the future predetermined, but this does not mean that there are an infinite number of possible futures. In fact, there are just two: socialism or barbarism. Which of these futures will come to pass will depend on the struggle of millions, and on the capacity of revolutionaries to forge a leadership of the caliber of Russia’s Bolsheviks or Cuba’s July 26 movement.
The enormous growth of the working class, and in particular the industrial working class, in China and in nations oppressed by imperialism is the most significant transformation of the neoliberal era and ranks among the most important developments in the history of capitalism. The southward shift of the working class, the reinforcement of the working class in imperialist countries through migration from oppressed nations, and the influx of women into wage labor in all countries means that the working class now much more closely resembles the face of humanity, greatly strengthening its chances of prevailing in coming battles. Surplus-value extracted from these new legions of poorly paid workers helped to dig the capitalism system out of its hole in the 1970s, when the imperialist order was challenged by overproduction, falling profits, and rising class struggle in its heartlands and by rebellions and revolutions in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Together with their sisters and brothers in the imperialist countries, workers have the capacity, the mission, and the destiny to dig a new hole, a grave in which to bury capitalism and bring an end to what Marx called “the pre-history of human society.”
The interaction between living labor and nature is the source of all wealth. Capitalism’s frenzied exploitation of both has resulted not only in a grave social and economic crisis, but also in a spreading ecological catastrophe. Rising concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, along with the rest of the filth generated by capitalist production and dumped on land and into rivers and oceans, are already causing extreme weather conditions across the Global South. Capitalism’s tendency to exhaust labor and nature is as old as capitalism itself, but like its voracious appetite for cheap labor and its dream of circumventing production altogether through financial alchemy, all of its destructive tendencies are reaching their most extreme expression at the same time. The capitalist destruction of nature means that this is not just capitalism’s greatest-ever crisis, it is capitalism’s final crisis, an existential crisis for humanity.
From here, then, all roads lead into the crisis. This, in the words of Cuban revolutionary leader Raúl Valdés Vivó, is un crisis sin salida del capitalismo, a crisis with no capitalist way out. The only way forward for humanity is to “begin the transition to a communist mode of production. . . .Either the peoples will destroy the imperialist power and establish their own or the end of history. It is not ‘socialism or barbarism,’ as Rosa Luxemburg said in 1918, but socialism or nothing.”