Truman won an upset victory
(Excerpt taken from
The election of 1948 seemed
certain to bring victory to the Republicans. United and confident,
they faced a sharply divided Democratic Party. A group of liberal Democrats
had already left the party and formed the Progressive Party. Another group, made up of Southern Democrats who opposed a strong
civil rights program, organized the Dixiecrat Party. The Republicans
nominated Dewey for President, and chose Governor Earl Warren of
California as his running mate.
Every public opinion poll predicted that Dewey would win a
landslide victory. But, with an extraordinary show of fighting spirit,
Truman made the experts look ridiculous. He traveled 31,000 miles
(49,900 kilometers) by train in a "whistle-stop" campaign and made
more than 350 speeches. He attacked what he termed the "do nothing"
Republican Congress, calling it "the worst in my memory." Truman
received a warm response with his simple language, earthy humor, and
pluck. He also shrewdly appealed to the groups that had strongly
supported Franklin D. Roosevelt--labor, farmers, liberals, minorities,
and many middle-class consumers. In one of the biggest upsets in
political history, Truman won 28 states. Dewey won 16 and Thurmond, 4.
Truman won with less than 50 percent of the total popular vote.
The Chicago Daily Tribune was so confident that Dewey would win,
they ran the headline that Truman is displaying in the photo above.