Musing on the Relevance of Truman’s 1948 Electoral Victory
April, 6, 2011
The Republican Party controlled both houses of Congress in 1947-1948. During the presidential campaign of 1948 – “The Give Em’ Hell Harry” campaign – Truman attacked the 80th. Congress as “The Do Nothing Congress”. After 14 years out of power The GOP attempted to undo the New Deal of FDR and the Fair Deal program of Truman (New Deal approach). It was assumed the GOP candidate Tom Dewey would easily gain the election. Remember the Chicago Tribune headline: DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN? Republicans meeting after unexpected defeat and Truman’s election they came to realize politically you can’t reject the New Deal out of hand. The Republicans ever since have readjusted their approach to the role of the Federal Government in politics. Both parties must, and have, related positively to the role of the Federal Government in the lives of the citizen. The question is how much or how little the party should relate to the central government’s political role. The vast middle of the electorate relates either somewhat to the left or right of center. One wonders if the present rather sharp move rightward of the Republican majority in the House places them in political danger. That remains to be answered in the forthcoming election.