1948 elections

1948 elections: President Truman with vice-President Alban Barkley - nobody was more surprised than those two.

Elections In Hindsight – When Pundits Get It Wrong – James Farley – 1948 – Past Daily Reference Room.

election - 1948
1948 elections: President Truman with vice-President Alban Barkley – nobody was more surprised than those two.

Meet The Press – Guest: James Farley – November 7, 1948 – NBC TV and Radio – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Looking back on the previous year, sifting through the stories and events that made 2022 a year to remember, the outcome of the mid-term elections, the election that confounded the pundits and the mainstream media; one that will be on the minds of many in politics over the coming year in anticipation of 2024. And for all that, those same pundits and pollsters who predicted the “red wave” and who threw their hands up in despair over what many considered “unprecedented” really only had to look at the Presidential election of 1948 to get an idea that what was going on behind those microphones and cameras wasn’t what was going on in the trenches – getting down to the grassroots – what was happening door-to-door was a whole lot different than what they had assumed.

Same in 2022 – same in 1948 – paid attention to the shiny objects and not the inner working parts. Elections are a bit more complex.

This episode of NBC’s Meet The Press is a panel discussion with former Postmaster under FDR and later to become Chairman of the New York State Democratic Committee. The issue of the surprise turn of events is addressed. Even Farley himself is somewhat amazed – all the predictions of a Dewey landslide were wrong, and even the threatened disruption of the Southern vote on the parts of newly-minted Dixiecrats didn’t materialize. The Dixiecrats were a pocket of Southern Democrats who were staunch segregationists and vehemently opposed to Truman’s plans for integration in, among other things, the Armed Forces.

Fact of the matter was – the majority of Americans were in favor of Truman’s plans. But more that, those same Americans were not hearing any definitive alternative plan from the Dewey campaign.

And that, like just about every other political campaign that has gone on is the essence of what elections are about: having a plan – knowing the plan – sticking to the plan.

Simple, you’d think – but . . .

Here is that panel discussion with James Farley, as it was broadcast on November 7, 1948.

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