Craziest Elections Part IV: 1948

In the presidential election of 1948, the incumbent president Harry S. Truman was facing off against his Republican challenger, Thomas Dewey. Truman had succeeded to the presidency in 1945 following the death of President Franklin Roosevelt. The election, considered to be the greatest upset in American election history, had virtually every single indicator predicting Dewey as the victor. There may have only been one person in the United States who firmly believed Harry Truman would win the election: Harry Truman himself.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

GLENN: Listening to the media follow the 2016 presidential election, you might actually be led to believe that the polls and the media had never before gotten an election wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. In the presidential election of 1948, the incumbent president Harry S Truman who was the Democratic nominee and who had succeeded to the presidency after the death of president Franklin Roosevelt in 1945 was running against Thomas Dewey, the Republican nominee who had also been the Republican presidential nominee in 1944. The election is considered to be the greatest election upset in American history. Virtually every single prediction indicated that Truman would be defeated by Dewey.

In fact, there may have only been one person in the United States of America who actually firmly believed that Harry Truman would win the election.

VOICE: The next four years will be a Democrat in the White House, and you're looking at him.

GLENN: That person was Harry Truman. Somehow through it all, Truman held onto the belief that he was going to pull off this amazing upset.

VOICE: The New York Times was predicting Dewey would run away with the election. The poll was so certain of the outcome, it stopped polling before the end of October.

GLENN: Then came election night. His early returns started to come in. The staff of the Chicago tribute and one of America's largest newspapers at the time were still confident enough in a Dewey victory to go to print with their first edition headline reading Dewey defeats Truman. The story accompanying the headline was even more wrong. In addition to declaring Dewey the president, it also declared a Republican sweep of the election, claiming Republican control of the House of Representatives and the senate, indicating that the GOP would have an easy time pushing through an agenda with control of congress and the White House. But that didn't happen. Instead, Truman did win the presidency with a electoral vote of 303, over Dewey but Democrats regained the control of the house and the senate that they had lost in 1946. The new media of the day were amazed at what they had witnessed.

VOICE: I think we can all agree on one thing. That not politically but looking at it from a news standpoint, this is a marvelous news story. One of the great news stories of all time.

VOICE: Right.

VOICE: What a lucky thing three fellas like this on this new and tremendously growing thing like television had a chance to play a part of.

GLENN: Dewey was gracious in his concession speech.

VOICE: I've sent the following wire to President Truman. My heartiest congratulations to you. I urge all Americans to unite behind you in support of every effort to keep our nation strong and free and to establish peace in the world.

GLENN: So the Democrats had set the all-time record for the party winning their fifth consecutive presidential election in 1952. Dwight Eisenhower final reverse this trend. Ike was now limited to two terms, which was quickly passed and added to the constitution after FDR's four terms. As a result in 1960, Eisenhower's vice president Richard Nixon ran against a young, upstart senator John F Kennedy. It was Kennedy's catchy presidential ad jingle that seemed to be.

VOICE: Do you want a man who is seasoned, a man who is old enough to know. And young enough to do. Well, it's up to you, up to you, it's strictly up to you. It's Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy.

GLENN: Nixon's campaign was a little more low-key.

VOICE: What is the most important issue confronting the American people in this election campaign? There's no question about the answer that I have found in traveling all over this nation. Above everything else, the American people want leaders who will keep the peace without surrender for America and the world. Henry and I have had the opportunity for serving with president Eisenhower in this cause for the last seven and a half years. We both know Mr. Crusha. We have sat opposite of the conference table with him. We will keep America the strongest nation in the world, and we will couple that strength with firm diplomacy. No apologies. No regrets.

GLENN: Plus Nixon made multiple mistakes during the campaign that cost him dearly. Including an incredibly poor performance in the nation's first televised presidential debate, and he wound up losing to JFK by 112,000 votes nationwide. A .17% different. But there is no doubt that one of, if not the craziest elections in American history took place in 2000. It happened between Texas governor George W. Bush and vice president Al Gore.

The nation had been through scandal after scandal after scandal during the 1990s. The presidency of Bill Clinton and as a result, Clinton and Gore never complained together. Everyone knew that it would be a close election but few would have predicted that it would turn out as razor thin as it did. The day before the election, Matt allower asked what he thought Americans should be watching for on Election Day.

VOICE: What's the key element we should be watching throughout the day tomorrow?

VOICE: Florida, Florida, Florida. I honestly believe, Matt, as goes Florida, as goes the nation.

GLENN: His words turned out to be prophetic. It did indeed come down to Florida. Election night turned out to be an absolute nightmare. For who? Well, for the media. And because it was a nightmare for them, it was a nightmare for us.

VOICE: We're going to report a win of 25 electoral votes in the state of Florida. Turns out President Bush was not his family's keeper. The family was joking that seriously it could be a cold Thanksgiving. Tim has great news in Nashville tonight.

GLENN: NBC wasn't alone.

VOICE: CNN announces that we call Florida in the Al Gore column. This is the state both campaigns desperately wanted to win. The state of Florida fought over very hard. The state with a Republican governor named Bush. The brother of the Republican nominee, Jeff Greenfield, this is something that is not making the Bush campaign happy.

VOICE: This is a roadblock the size of a boulder to George W. Bush's path to the White House.

GLENN: A short time later, CNN had to change their call.

VOICE: Stand by. CNN right now is moving our earlier declaration of Florida back to the too close to call column. 25 very big electoral votes in the home state of the brother Jeb Bush are hanging in the balance. This no sleeping victory for vice president Gore. We're moving it back.

VOICE: Oh, waiter, one order, please.

GLENN: Early the next morning, the networks began to declare that but she was now the winner of Florida and a few hours later, they were forced to withdrawal that prediction as well. By 4:30 a.m., the day after the election, the media had decided that Florida was too close to call for either candidate. So they just gave up trying. America would have to wait for days even weeks before the presidential race would be finally decided. While Al Gore actually won the national popular vote by just over 500,000 votes, in Florida, out of the six million votes cast, George W. Bush won the state by the now famous number of 537 votes. That's what triggered a recount and a massive battle in the court system which ended up eventually in the United States Supreme Court. And we all learned new terms like hanging Chad, dimpled Chad, and pregnant Chad.

VOICE: First you have to know that the punch hole is called a Chad. It is attached to the ballot by four threads. In the morning, the commissioners had decided that if it had been detached by only one thread, it would not be counted as a vote. Two detachments, maybe. Three, definitely counted as a vote. At some point in the process, that was changed and the commissioners decided that any Chad that was detached to any degree would be counted as a vote.

GLENN: Dozens of lawyers from both campaigns descended on Florida to weigh in on the process.

VOICE: There are two other strange-sounding categories that were not counted as votes. The first one is called the dimpled Chad. That is that there's an indentation in the Chad, the voter put some pressure on it but didn't detach it at all from the ballot. Not counted. The final category is the pregnant Chad. That is the Chad was Pierce with a hole but not detached actually. Those were not counted. Now, the Republicans said, see? We told you. This is a deeply flawed process. It must stop. But as we know the county commissions here have decided not to stop. They will go for a full recount beginning tomorrow.

GLENN: Litigation in select counties started additional recounts and this litigation ultimately reached the United States Supreme Court. The court's contentious 5-4 decision in Bush V Gore finally ended all of the recounts stating that the already certified recount would stand. Since the safe harbor for counting the electoral votes was at hand. Since Bush had won the previous certified recount, he also won Florida's 25 electoral votes and with it the presidency of the United States. By the slimmest of margins, 271 electoral votes to 266. One of the closest races in all of American history. The outcome gave rise to the phrase that Bush had been selected and not elected. The Democrats were quick to point out that he wasn't a legitimate candidate. Something now many Democrats fail to remember. And even though the Supreme Court had not selected a winner but simply put a stop to the process of recounting the votes over and over again, it didn't stop the claims. Through it all, Americans can take an enormous amount of pride. Pride in the fact that no matter how close, no matter how fought or contentious U.S. elections have been over all of the years, they have always been decided through the constitutionally-mandated process peacefully. What makes America great? Well, this is one of them. We have peaceful transfers of power without violence and tanks rolling through our streets.

On Wednesday's TV show, Glenn Beck sat down with radio show host, author, political commentator, and film critic, Michael Medved.

Michael had an interesting prediction for the 2020 election outcome: a brokered convention by the DNC will usher in former First Lady Michelle Obama to run against President Donald Trump.

Watch the video below to hear why he's making this surprising forecast:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

On Thursday's "Glenn Beck Radio Program," BlazeTV's White House correspondent Jon Miller described the current situation in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam (D) declared a state of emergency and banned people carrying guns at Capitol Square just days before a pro-Second-Amendment rally scheduled on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Jon told Glenn that Gov. Northam and the Virginia Legislature are "trying to deprive the people of their Second Amendment rights" but the citizens of Virginia are "rising up" to defend their constitutional rights.

"I do think this is the flashpoint," Jon said. "They [Virginia lawmakers] are saying, 'You cannot exercise your rights ... and instead of trying to de-escalate the situation, we are putting pressure. We're trying to escalate it and we're trying to enrage the citizenry even more'."

Glenn noted how Gov. Northam initially blamed the threat of violence from Antifa for his decision to ban weapons but quickly changed his narrative to blame "white supremacists" to vilify the people who are standing up for the Second Amendment and the Constitution.

"What he's doing is, he's making all all the law-abiding citizens of Virginia into white supremacists," Glenn said.

"Sadly, that's exactly right," Jon replied. "And I think he knows exactly what he's doing."

Watch the video to catch more of the conversation below:

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To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Ryan: Trump Louisiana Finale

Photo by Jim Dale

Part One. Part Two. Part Three.

At the end of Trump rallies, I would throw on my Carhartt jacket, sneak out of the press area, then blend in with everyone as they left, filing out through swinging doors.

Often, someone held the door open for me. Just 30 minutes earlier, the same person had most likely had most likely hissed at me for being a journalist. And now they were Sunday smiles and "Oh, yes, thank you, sir" like some redneck concierge.

People flooded out of the arena with the stupidity of a fire drill mishap, desperate to survive.

The air smacked you as soon as you crossed the threshold, back into Louisiana. And the lawn was a wasteland of camping chairs and coolers and shopping bags and to-go containers and soda cans and articles of clothing and even a few tents.

In Monroe, in the dark, the Trump supporters bobbled over mounds of waste like elephants trying to tiptoe. And the trash was as neutral to them as concrete or grass. They plodded over it because it, an object, had somehow gotten in their way.

It did not matter that they were responsible for this wreckage.Out in the sharp-edged moonlight, rally-goers hooted and yapped and boogied and danced, and the bbq food truck was all smoke and paper plates.

They were even more pumped than they had been before the rally, like 6,000 eight year olds who'd been chugging Mountain Dew for hours. Which made Donald Trump the father, the trooper, God of the Underworld, Mr. Elite, Sheriff on high horse, the AR-15 sticker of the family.

Ritualistic mayhem, all at once. And, there in Louisiana, Trump's supporters had gotten a taste of it. They were all so happy. It bordered on rage.

Still, I could not imagine their view of America. Worse, after a day of strange hostilities, I did not care.

My highest priority, my job as a reporter, was to care. To understand them and the world that they inhabit. But I did not give a damn and I never wanted to come back.

Worst of all, I would be back. In less than a week.

Was this how dogs felt on the 4th of July? Hunched in a corner while everyone else gets drunk and launches wailing light into the sky? configurations of blue and red and white.

It was 10:00 p.m. and we'd been traveling since 11:00 a.m., and we still had 5 hours to go and all I wanted was a home, my home, any home, just not here, in the cold sweat of this nowhere. Grey-mangled sky. No evidence of planes or satellites or any proof of modern-day. Just century-old bridges that trains shuffled over one clack at a time.

And casinos, all spangles and neon like the 1960s in Las Vegas. Kitchy and dumb, too tacky for lighthearted gambling. And only in the nicer cities, like Shreveport, which is not nice at all.

And swamp. Black water that rarely shimmered. Inhabited by gadflies and leeches and not one single fish that was pretty.

Full of alligators, and other killing types. The storks gnawing on frogs, the vultures never hungry. The coyotes with nobody to stop them and so much land to themselves. The roaches in the wild, like tiny wildebeests.

Then, the occasional deer carcass on the side of the road, eyes splayed as if distracted, tongue out, relaxed but empty. The diseased willows like skeletons in hairnets. The owls that never quit staring. A million facets of wilderness that would outlive us all.

Because Nature has poise. It thrives and is original.

Because silence is impossible. Even in an anechoic chamber, perfectly soundproofed, you can hear your own heartbeat, steady as a drum. A never-ending war.

I put "Headache" by Grouper on repeat as we glided west. We were deadlocked to asphalt, rubber over tarface.

And I thought about lines from a Rita Dove poem titled "I have been a stranger in a strange land"

He was off cataloging the universe, probably,
pretending he could organize
what was clearly someone else's chaos.

Wasn't that exactly what I was doing? Looking for an impossible answer, examining every single accident, eager for meaning? telling myself, "If it happens and matters the next year, in America, I want to be there, or to know what it means. I owe it to whoever cares to listen."

Humans are collectors and I had gone overboard.

Because maybe this wasn't even my home. These landmarks, what did they mean? Was I obvious here? When I smiled, did I trick them into believing that I felt some vague sense of approval? Or did my expressions betray me?

Out in all that garbage-streaked emptiness — despite the occasional burst of passing halogen — I couldn't tell if everything we encountered was haunted or just old, derelict, broken, useless. One never-ending landfill.

Around those parts, they'd made everything into junk. Homes. Roads. Glass. Nature. Life itself, they made into junk.

I cringed as we passed yet another deer carcass mounded on the side of the road.

As written in Job 35:11,

Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?

Nobody. Look at nature and you feel something powerful. Look at an animal, in all of its untamable majesty, and you capture a deep love, all swept up in the power of creation. But, here, all I saw were poor creatures who people had slammed into and kept driving. Driving to where? For what reason? What exactly was so important that they left a trail of dead animals behind them?

So I crossed myself dolorously and said an "Our Father" and recited a stanza from Charles Bukowski's "The Laughing Heart"

you can't beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.

Out here, nothing but darkness. Needing some light, by God. Give me something better than a Moon that hides like an underfed coward.

Jade told me about some of the more traumatic things she'd seen while working at the State Fair.

"Bro, they pull roaches out of the iced lemonade jugs and act like nothing happened."

"All right but what about the corn dogs?"

"You do not want to know, little bro."

She looked around in the quiet. "Back in the day, the Louisiana Congress refused to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21," she said. "They didn't want to lose all that drunk gambler money. So the federal government cut off funding to highways."

We glided through moon-pale landscape for an hour before I realized what she had meant. That there weren't any light poles or billboards along the road. Nothing to guide us or distract us. Just us, alone. And it felt like outer space had collapsed, swallowed us like jellybeans.

Like two teenagers playing a prank on the universe.

In the cozy Subaru Crosstrek, in the old wild night, brimming with the uncertainty of life and the nonchalance of failure, we paraded ourselves back to Dallas. Alive in the river silence that follows us everywhere.

New installments come Mondays and Thursdays. Next, the Iowa caucuses. Check out my Twitter. Email me at

The Iowa primary is just around the corner, and concerns of election interference from the last presidential election still loom. Back in 2016, The Associated Press found that a majority of U.S. elections systems still use Windows 7 as an operating system, making them highly susceptible to bugs and errors. And last year, a Mississippi voter tried multiple times to vote for the candidate of his choice, but the system continuously switched his vote to the other candidate. It's pretty clear: America's voting systems desperately need an update.

That's where blockchain voting comes in.

Blockchain voting is a record-keeping system that's 100% verifiable and nearly impossible to hack. Blockchain, the newest innovation in cybersecurity, is set to grow into a $20 billion industry by 2025. Its genius is in its decentralized nature, distributing information throughout a network of computers, requiring would-be hackers to infiltrate a much larger system. Infiltrating multiple access points spread across many computers requires a significant amount of computing power, which often costs more than hackers expect to get in return.

Blockchain voting wouldn't allow for many weak spots. For instance, Voatz, arguably the leading mobile voting platform, requires a person to take a picture of their government-issued ID and a picture of themselves before voting (a feature, of course, not present in vote-by-mail, where the only form of identity verification is a handwritten signature, which is easily forgeable). Voters select their choices and hit submit. They then receive an immediate receipt of their choices via email, another security feature not present in vote-by-mail, or even in-person voting. And because the system operates on blockchain technology, it's nearly impossible to tamper with.

Votes are then tabulated, and the election results are published, providing a paper trail, which is a top priority for elections security experts.

The benefits of blockchain voting can't be dismissed. Folks can cast their vote from the comfort of their homes, offices, etc., vastly increasing the number of people who can participate in the electoral process. Two to three-hour lines at polling places, which often deter voters, would become significantly diminished.

Even outside of the voting increase, the upsides are manifold. Thanks to the photo identification requirements, voter fraud—whether real or merely suspected—would be eliminated. The environment would win, too, since we'd no longer be wasting paper on mail-in ballots. Moreover, the financial burden on election offices would be alleviated, because there's decreased staff time spent on the election, saving the taxpayer money.

From Oregon to West Virginia, elections offices have already implemented blockchain voting, and the results have been highly positive. For example, the city of Denver utilized mobile voting for overseas voters in their 2019 municipal elections. The system was secure and free of technical errors, and participants reported that it was very user-friendly. Utah County used the same system for their 2019 primary and general elections. An independent audit revealed that every vote that was cast on the app was counted and counted correctly. These successful test cases are laying the groundwork for even larger expansions of the program in 2020.

With this vital switch, our elections become significantly more secure, accurate, and efficient. But right now, our election infrastructure is a sitting duck for manipulation. Our current lack of election integrity undermines the results of both local and national elections, fans the flames of partisanship, and zaps voter confidence in the democratic system. While there's never a silver bullet or quick fix to those kinds of things, blockchain voting would push us much closer to a solution than anything else.

Chris Harelson is the Executive Director at Prosperity Council and a Young Voices contributor.