Wednesday, November 2, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 2117


Chicago, Illinois (JFK+50) Sixty-eight years ago today, November 2, 1948, the presidential election of 1948 was held between incumbent President Harry S Truman, the Democrat, and Governor Thomas E. Dewey, the Republican.  All the pre-election polls had Dewey as the clear favorite.

In order to boost his chances, the President had gone on a nation-wide whistle stop campaign speaking to crowds from his railroad car.  He appealed to hard-working American citizens when he said...

"Any working man or farmer who votes against the Democratic party ought to have his head examined."

By the Fall of 1948, Mr. Truman, who took office on the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt on April 12, 1945, was even unpopular in his own Democratic party.

Unwilling to "dump" Truman at the 1948 Democratic Convention, some delegates wore buttons which read..."I'm Just Mild About Harry," a play on the popular song of the day "I'm Just Wild About Harry."

Nevertheless, Truman shocked everyone, when he, not Mr. Dewey, won.  It was to go down as the greatest upset in presidential election history.  The Chicago Daily Tribune of Wednesday, November 3rd published the headline "DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN," and a beaming POTUS was later photographed holding the paper up for all to see. 

The final totals were...

Electoral Votes:   Truman (D)      303
                                    Dewey (R)         189
                                    Thurmond          39

Popular Votes:  Truman (D)  24,179,347
                                 Dewey (R)     21,991,292
                                 Thurmond       1,175,930

Chicago Daily Tribune
November 3, 1948
Displayed at The Newseum
Washington, D.C.
Photo by John White (2016)

Truman on Whistle-Stop Campaign
Truman Library Photo