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    Sunday, April 14, 2024

    Is Trump a Truman?

    Truman and Trump. The Democrats didn’t want Truman to run, even though he was a sitting president. Dewey was a New York shoo-in, and Harry was from Independence, Missouri, and that described his personality. Nobody thought he could win. He was a lousy public speaker, point one; point two, Zzzzzz. Harry also decided to campaign by train, whistle-stopping across the country. The party groaned over that dumb scheme, but Harry was stubborn. 

    Dewey reminded Eleanor Roosevelt of a groom on a wedding cake, all tuxed out and stiff. He wasn’t going to excite anybody, but after four terms of Democratic presidents the country was ready for a Republican. The newspapers were completely sure that Dewey was in the bag. H.V. Kaltenborn, a radio pundit, thought Truman was a joke. But Harry rode those trains, stopping to talk and joke with whoever came out to see him. Stopping hundreds of times. And finally drawing big crowds out West. 

    In those day vote counts came in from east to west, all night long. New York put Harry behind, and the counts moved through the Midwest with Harry picking up farm votes; in person, people connected with Harry. He was elected and stunned the nation. 

    Howard Flora