Truman versus Dewey
In 1948, some Democrats think the President is too hard on Communism. Those Democrats, who want more reforms at home, form their own party, the Progressive Party. And in the South, where no state has voted for a Republican for president since before the Civil War, many Democrats are furious because of Truman's civil rights proposals. They aren't quite ready to turn Republican, but they are certainly against Harry. So they form still another partythe Dixiecrats. When a candidate splits his own party in three, he is in trouble. In 1948, Truman and the Democrats are in big trouble. Clare Booth Luce, a prominent Republican, sums up the opinion of many when she says, "Mr. Truman's time is short; his situation is hopeless. Frankly, he's a gone goose."
The Republicans choose Thomas E. Dewey as their candidate . Dewey is governor of New York. He is dignified. He doesn't say much. He doesn't campaign hard. He just begins to act as if he were president, because everyone knows he is going to win. Except Harry Truman. He gets on the presidential train and begins to campaign .
He crosses the country twice. When the train pulls into a city, or town, or hamlet, the President stands on the back platform and speaks to anyone who comes to the station to hear him . He lashes out at the Republican-controlled Congress (which isn't passing the bills he wants) and attacks those who ask for special government favors. His fans call out, "Give 'em Hell, Harry!" Still, it seems hopeless. Newsweek Magazine asks fifty leading journalistspeople whose business it is to know politicswho will win. All fifty say Truman will lose. And every leading poll shows a Dewey landslide.