Tag Archives: Election of 1948

Facts in Five

Election of 1948 edition

 

  • Democrats briefly courted Dwight D. Eisenhower to challenge Truman for the nomination.  The Republicans were talking with Douglas MacArthur during the same period. 
  • Truman’s support for  NAACP legal efforts combined with his executive order desegregating the military caused the Southern Democrats to splinter and nominate Dixiecrat, Strom Thurmond.
  • Liberal Democrats rejected Truman as well- they nominated Henry Wallace as the Progressive party candidate.
  • Dewey’s lackluster campaign was best summed up by the poorly crafted message- “You know that your future is still ahead of you.”
  • As election day arrived, only Truman was convinced of his victory- many on his staff had already accepted other jobs. 

Harry1

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Mild about Harry

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.

Keeper of the New Deal faith

Keeper of the New Deal faith

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.

Trust me, I'm President

Trust me, I’m President

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.

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Filed under Ephemera, News

Facts in Five

Election of 1948 edition

 

  • Democrats briefly courted Dwight D. Eisenhower to challenge Truman for the nomination.  The Republicans were talking with Douglas MacArthur during the same period. 
  • Truman’s support for  NAACP legal efforts combined with his executive order desegregating the military caused the Southern Democrats to splinter and nominate Dixiecrat, Strom Thurmond.
  • Liberal Democrats rejected Truman as well- they nominated Henry Wallace as the Progressive party candidate.
  • Dewey’s lackluster campaign was best summed up by the poorly crafted message- “You know that your future is still ahead of you.”
  • As election day arrived, only Truman was convinced of his victory- many on his staff had already accepted other jobs. 

Harry1

Leave a comment

Filed under Ephemera, News

Mild about Harry

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.

Keeper of the New Deal faith

Keeper of the New Deal faith

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.

Trust me, I'm President

Trust me, I’m President

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.

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More Effort Needed

Tom Dewey seemed to be the perfect candidate… to unseat Harry Truman in 1948.  He staged the strongest challenge to FDR’s four electoral victories, losing the election of 1944 by only 3 million votes.  Handsome, charismatic, with a silky-smooth baritone delivery, Dewey had the reputation of a no nonsense crime fighter and effective executive.  His matter-of-fact style carried him to three terms as New York’s Governor and led to his surprisingly effective campaign against Roosevelt.  Harry Truman appeared to be easy prey to Republicans in 1948; Tom Dewey’s time had finally come.

I believe the polls

I believe the polls

The old Republican guard led by Senator Robert Taft… resented Dewey and considered him weak.  Taft and his allies believed Dewey to be far too Liberal to represent the Conservative movement.  Dewey had supported parts of the New Deal and continued to advocate increased social spending in New York.  To Taft, Dewey’s moderation brought him more in line with Harry Truman than with the Republican base.  The party disagreed, passing over Taft yet again in favor of the moderate Dewey.  Dewey was a safer candidate- and not tied to the 80th Congress- the only part of government less popular than Truman in 1948.

Harry giving hell

Harry giving hell

Dewey and all those advising him believed the polls… in the Summer of 1948.  His lead over Truman was so substantial that pollster Elmo Roper refused to take any new surveys that summer- the election appeared to be decided.  Dewey played it safe- deciding upon a non-partisan, purposely vague campaign.  As Truman took his case to the American people on the famous “whistle stop tour,”  Dewey meekly followed speaking only in generalities.  The American people were left wondering what Dewey stood for-  Truman left little doubt.  Dewey’s passive approach allowed Truman to take the election away in our greatest electoral upset.

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Channeling Harry

Give ‘Em Hell Harry !

 

Barack Obama faced an obstructionist Congress in 2012… much like the one Harry Truman faced in 1948.  Truman waged a fiery campaign against what he termed the “do nothing Congress” and surged past a floundering Thomas Dewey.  The 80th Congress was dominated by Conservative Republicans who blocked most of Truman’s domestic agenda that he laid out in 1945.  Congress then passed the controversial anti-union Taft-Hartley Act over Truman’s veto.  Truman went back to his populist roots and crisscrossed the nation championing the common man.  The people rejected Republican obstructionism.  Truman’s victory is the greatest election upset in our history.

Don’t always believe the polls

Truman faced a Congress with both houses… controlled by Republicans.  Obama was confronted by a divided legislature, but it is giving him just as many headaches.  Obama’s biggest problem is a flagging economy that has prompted legislative initiatives following a shift in control of the House.  When Democrats controlled both houses much of Obama’s program was enacted, including the massive healthcare overhaul.   The election proved that Truman’s tactics are still viable;  Obama returned to some of Harry Truman’s rhetoric of ’48.  Obama channeled Harry Truman to secure his second term. Unlike Truman, his legacy is still in doubt….

Did he really say “trillion ?”

 

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Channeling Harry

Give ‘Em Hell Harry !

 

Barack Obama faced an obstructionist Congress in 2012… much like the one Harry Truman faced in 1948.  Truman waged a fiery campaign against what he termed the “do nothing Congress” and surged past a floundering Thomas Dewey.  The 80th Congress was dominated by Conservative Republicans who blocked most of Truman’s domestic agenda that he laid out in 1945.  Congress then passed the controversial anti-union Taft-Hartley Act over Truman’s veto.  Truman went back to his populist roots and crisscrossed the nation championing the common man.  The people rejected Republican obstructionism.  Truman’s victory is the greatest election upset in our history.

Don’t always believe the polls

Truman faced a Congress with both houses… controlled by Republicans.  Obama was confronted by a divided legislature, but it is giving him just as many headaches.  Obama’s biggest problem is a flagging economy that has prompted legislative initiatives following a shift in control of the House.  When Democrats controlled both houses much of Obama’s program was enacted, including the massive healthcare overhaul.   The election proved that Truman’s tactics are still viable;  Obama returned to some of Harry Truman’s rhetoric of ’48.  Obama channeled Harry Truman to secure his second term. Unlike Truman, his legacy is still in doubt….

Did he really say “trillion ?”

 

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Filed under Ephemera, News