With five months until the election, things couldn’t look any worse for the president of the United States. His approval rating is down to 40%. People are getting tired of his antics and the insults he hurls at his opponents. The media is increasingly confident that, come November, the voters will elect a new chief executive.
This might sound like June 2020, but I’m actually referring to June 1948 — when President Harry Truman, a Democrat, was running to keep his job against Republican Thomas Dewey.
The similarities between the 1948 and 2020 elections are striking. Like President Trump, Truman often ruffled feathers with his salty language. At one point, Truman even described Dewey as a fascist, a term not taken lightly just three years after World War II.
Just as with Trump, the media described Truman as desperate and unhinged. They mocked him for the more than 8,000 empty chairs at a speech he gave in Nebraska — presaging the coverage of Trump’s recent speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Almost everyone thought Truman would lose, including the president’s mother-in-law. A Newsweek pollreported 50 out of 50 politicos predicting a Dewey victory.