To some historians or students of history, it can be easy to find some parallels in the situation Joe Biden is in going into 2024 that his predecessor Harry Truman found himself in during the 1948 Presidential Campaign.
Consider the following observations.
- Harry Truman had an ambitious progressive agenda and legislative record including integrating the armed forces, the formation of N.A.T.O./ the post-World War Two international order, and calling for (but not getting) universal health care and aid to education. Likewise, Joe Biden has had an impressive legislative track record with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, The CHIPS Act, The Inflation Reduction Act, Gun Safety, protecting veterans health, and the American Rescue Plan that helped vaccinate the country during the Coronavirus and keep the nation’s economy functioning.
- Harry Truman also had to deal with a Do-Nothing House of Representatives, especially on domestic matters, and ran against them in 1948. Joe Biden should do the same with the dysfunctional and fringe MAGA Republican House in 2024.
- In 1948, Soviet Russia was causing havoc with the Berlin Blockade and Truman strongly responded with the Berlin Airlift. Biden is doing the same with the current Russian expansionist designs into Ukraine.
- In 1948, there was a Middle East War when Arab Nations invaded the new state of Israel, and President Truman, despite advice to the contrary from his own Secretary of State, George Marshall, recognized the new Jewish nation. Today, there is another conflict between Israel, Gaza, Southern Lebanon, and the West Bank which the current President, despite having to deal with extremists (terrorist HAMAS and black-shirt settlers) on both sides, has so far largely successfully navigated.
- In 1948, President Truman had to deal with political challenges on his left (Progressive and former FDR Vice President Henry Wallace) and right (Dixicrat Strom Thurmond who felt the party was going too far on Civil Rights.) Today, President Biden may face some pressure from the left (Jill ‘How is Putin today’ Stein is back, Cornell Wilde, and Robert ‘No vaccinations for me today’ Kennedy Jr.) and potentially on the right through No Labels (especially if now retiring Senator Joe Manchin decides to run.)
- In 1948, the polls showed Mr. Truman not prevailing in the Presidential race. In fact, pollsters were so sure that his Republican opponent, Thomas Dewey was going to win that they decided to save money and stopped polling with weeks to go. Today, some polls show the current President behind in some battleground states.
The lesson from all of this is to know your history and like the Biden/Harris Campaign said on a press call last week:
Do not follow the polls. Follow the voters and how they vote.
If that suggestion has the same accuracy in 2024 as it did in 2020, 2022, and 2023, President Biden, despite the pollsters and pundits, will follow the historic path of Harry Truman and win reelection next year.
Fortunately for the President, he has a great record of accomplishment and positions to campaign on.
On the other side, the Republicans have a current front runner in Donald ‘I killed Roe v Wade’ Trump, with his two impeachments, two popular vote losses, two David Duke endorsements, being found liable for sexual assault and business fraud, and four indictments including for his role on the domestic terrorist attack at the Nation’s Capital on January 6, 2021.
If Republicans keep this up and nominate Trump again and the current House leadership keeps acting in a fringe dysfunctional manner, this election may be like 1964, 1972, and 1984 where the incumbent Presidents all won great landslide victories.