(For Three-Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "Q" is for "Qualified")
What with the U S presidential election so close, I thought the above looked like a typical political loser. :-)
Which got me to thinking about a very special event of a few decades ago.
In my heavy-handed, portentous way, I hereby state that the presidential election of 1948 was the greatest political upset in American history.
And - yes, I know it’s getting repetitious, but – Berowne was there. :-)
Virtually every prediction and poll had indicated that incumbent Harry S. Truman would be defeated decisively by Republican Thomas E Dewey.
We all – voters of every political party – seemed to feel that Harry Truman was about the least likely, least qualified presidential candidate anyone could think of.
He had, of course, not been elected; he had been thrust into the office by the death of President Roosevelt.
But all the foregoing wasn’t nearly as important as the disaster, the shipwreck that the Democratic Party, which Harry was supposed to lead, had turned into. It was like the Titanic and the iceberg, but with a twist.
If the Democratic Party was the Titanic, the iceberg had sliced it into three parts.
A huge chunk – the Southern wing - couldn’t stomach Truman; they just got up and walked out. They formed a new party, the Dixiecrats, dedicated to the racist idea of movimg forward with their beloved system, segregation, forever alive.
So Truman’s political right was gone. So was his left.
Another huge chunk, politically-left Democrats, who felt that HST was too middle-of-the-road for them, also took off and formed the Progressive Party.
That left Harry as the Dem’s presidential candidate, all alone by the telephone, heading up the tattered remains of the Democratic Party. There was some question that its wounds would ever heal. But anyway, everyone, including me, was convinced Harry Truman didn’t have a chance at winning.
For the Republicans, however, things looked bright, couldn’t have been brighter.
But Dewey, watching with pleasure the amazing disintegration of the Democratic Party, was convinced that all he had to do was avoid shooting himself in the foot and he’d be in. It made sense.
Now, I was working in radio in New York at that time. On election night our announcers would go to the various headquarters to report back in. The choice assignment was the Republican HQ because the newspapers reported that they had been stocking up for an unprecedented party – a victory shindig with numerous buffet tables loaded with a spectacular collection of delectable viands and victuals, along with, of course, a wide variety of potables. The attending news media would be welcome to dig in.
Believe it or not, I got the short straw; I eagerly headed for the big party.
Well, I was there for twelve hours, from 7 pm to 7 am, and there was no decision, no definite election results; it kept being too close to call. And all that glorious food stayed in the kitchen.
I gave up and went home at 7 am, not knowing – no one knew at that time – who had been elected, and I collapsed into bed. When I woke up around 2 in the afternoon, I learned that Truman had won.
Seems that Harry had spent his campaign with a solid discussion of the issues while Dewey stayed with his platitudes, and that had paid off for Truman.
(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings.)
1 year ago