Saturday, October 29, 2016

Campaign collectibles from a calmer time: Thomas E. Dewey -- Michigander, New Yorker

Today's campaign collectible from a calmer time leads us to the tale of a Michigander turned New Yorker who came pretty close to winning the presidency.
Thomas E. Dewey was born in Owosso -- about midway between Lansing and Flint -- and attended the University of Michigan.
He earned a reputation as a tough prosecutor in New York, earning the nickname "Gangbuster" for chasing the mob.
That lead to Dewey being elected New York governor, where he doubled state aid to education, increased salaries for state employees, created the State University of New York system and reduced the state's debt by more than $100 million.
Dewey was the GOP nominee for president in 1944, but was defeated by Franklin Roosevelt and Harry S Truman.
He ran again in 1948, and was overwhelmingly favored to beat Truman. Dewey tried to run a cautious campaign, speaking in vague platitudes. He convinced, at least, the Chicago Daily Tribune.
Dewey remained influential and respected, especially with Dwight Eisenhower. Later, President Johnson offered him a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, which he declined.
Dewey remains the only Republican to win the nomination twice and fall short both times.
I've got a couple of of pins from both of Dewey's campaign, but my favorite is the plastic elephant. It doesn't indicate what year it is from, or even if it is from one of his gubernatorial runs. But it's pretty cool!

Central Michigan University has an exhibit in its library right now focusing on the candidates who did not win, and it has one of the original Daily Tribune papers on display. The exhibit is well worth the trip to Mt. Pleasant. Fire up, Chips!

No comments: