We don’t want to see this headline again. It was 1948. Harry Truman was running to capture the White House on his own merit. He had been Vice President to Franklin Roosevelt when Roosevelt passed away in 1945. Truman was not popular and was challenged by Thomas Dewey – the darling of the Republican Party. Pollsters quit taking polls two weeks before the election – the outcome was obvious. The election of 2008 is beginning to look like a foregone conclusion – but we should all take a lesson from 1948.
Workers at the Chicago Tribune were on strike, so less experience staff produced the paper. The voting returns came in slowly and the Tribune had a deadline. The substitue staff went with their ‘gut’ feeling and produced the paper.
I the last two weeks before the election Truman traveled the country by rail, stopping at every town to give a stump speech. Truman stopped the political spin and began telling folks the truth as he understood it. People began yelling, “Give’em Hell Harry!” Truman responded, “I will just tell the truth and they will think it is hell.”
Truman and his wife voted on November 2 and retired to their Independence, Missouri, home. Truman was spirited out of the house in the back seat of a car driven by the Secret Service. Truman went to the Elms Hotel in Excelsior Springs, Missouri, to get a good nights rest. Truman went to bed with the vote tally showing him behind. He was awakened at 5:00 Am by an aid and told he had won. Truman was given a copy of the Chicago Tribune and he proudly showed it to everyone – the two pictures in this post are but examples – there are many.
There are more that two weeks left in the 2008 election. And John McCain is campaigning hard. This is a tremendously emotional election – our soldiers are at risk in war, our jobs are at risk in a recession, and our savings are being destroyed in the stock market. People are angry and people are scared. We have witnessed the passion at political rallies.
The tendency to vote one way or another is as volatile as the stock market. Independents are changing their mind every day. Thoughtful Democrats and thoughtful Republicans can yet be swayed. This election is not locked up for Obama.
To the McCain Camp we would encourage – “Remember Harry Truman.”
To the Obama Camp we would caution – “Remember Harry Truman.”