Harry Truman was not a popular politician in 1948… Labor unrest, foreign crises, and domestic communism scandals plagued his time in office- the bulk of FDR’s fourth term. A Presidential term no one really wanted Truman to serve- FDR’s administration had ignored Truman in the first 80 days and became openly hostile during the transition. Truman had no choice but to make key changes in the cabinet to counter the insubordination from Roosevelt’s aides. Even Elanor Roosevelt questioned Truman’s foreign policy decisions- FDR’s widow was cordial with his successor, but had never enthusiastically endorsed his position.
FDR supporters saw Truman as… provincial, uneducated, and just plain average. He lacked a college education, performed poorly in social situations, and didn’t possess the charismatic presence that endeared so many Americans to Roosevelt the icon. Truman’s Midwest roots alienated him from the Democratic power structure of the Northeast. Roosevelt diehards resented that he had replaced long-time confidant, Henry Wallace, on the 1944 ticket. Truman angered them further when he dismissed Wallace from the cabinet for insubordination in 1946. Wallace used this animosity to garner the Progressive party nomination in 1948. The Roosevelt coalition had been irreparably broken, so Wallace had little chance of winning- but his campaign threatened Truman’s Democratic base.
This uncouth, undereducated, Midwest rube… was now trusted to keep the US out of World War 3, get the economy moving again, root-out communist subversives, and continue the struggle for civil rights- all while his party divided twice beneath him during a reelection campaign.