Now that Election Day is here, our thoughts have turned from campaign speeches, fact checking, and stressing out over the polls, to getting out and voting, and then sitting back to watch the election night coverage…unless you are so tired of the whole political process, that you just want the whole thing to be over with!! Even if you are very intent on the election, you are most likely very tired of the political process. Still, the elections are very important…especially this year.
This year isn’t the only critical year we have ever had either. The November 3, 1948 Presidential election was really an important one too. President Harry S Truman was the incumbent, running against New York Governor Thomas Dewey. Truman was very much pro-Israel, and whether people realize it or not, that is important. That fact isn’t always considered important in an election, but in 1948, I believe it was, and that it made the difference. Nevertheless, many of America’s major newspapers had predicted a Dewey victory early on in the campaign cycle. A New York Times article editorialized that “if Truman is nominated, he will be forced to wage the loneliest campaign in recent history.” Maybe that was true, but it was not a deterrent. In fact, that may be the reason Truman chose not to use the press to get his message across. Truman decided in July 1948, to head out on an ambitious 22,000-mile “whistle stop” railroad and automobile campaign tour. Truman’s message was simple…”Help me keep my job as President.” As time went on, things looked worse and worse for Truman. The polls were against him. Nevertheless, the common voters warmed to his simple message, and although he was a political “underdog,” and at the end of one speech, the crowd could be heard yelling “Give ’em Hell, Harry!” It didn’t take long for the phrase to catch on and become Truman’s unofficial campaign slogan.
Then came the Chicago Tribune’s issue stating that Dewey had won the election. In reality, the Chicago Tribune severely jumped the gun. I’m sure the final outcome of the brought with it as much confusion as did the mistaken prediction of a Dewey win. Be that as it may, the “Dewey Defeats Truman” headline was a serious “egg on the face” moment for the Chicago Tribune. On Wednesday morning there was a new headline showing a picture of re-elected President Harry S Truman holding the Chicago Tribune issue that had wrongfully predicted his political downfall. In the end, Truman beat Dewey by 114 electoral votes. All I can say is beware of those early predictions.