The United States presidential election of 1952 was the 42nd quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 4, 1952. President Joe Steele elected to an unprecedented sixth term, defeating Ohio Senator Robert Taft. It was also the last time Steele was elected president.
Steele ran for his sixth term. While he'd obviously aged during his 19 years in the White House, he nonetheless projected an image of strength.
Taft was nominated by the Republicans after a brutal floor fight at their convention in Chicago, which had also been televised. The Republicans had sought to draft military heroes Dwight Eisenhower or Omar Bradley, but both declined, with Bradley stating that politics was no place for soldiers. (Both had also been dissuaded by Steele's political allies.)
Taft was a firm isolationist, who campaigned for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Europe and South Japan, and arguing for supplying areas with weapons instead. Steele forcefully argued that the U.S. was a part of the world whether it wanted to be or not, and that the march of progress would one day make it possible for the country's enemies to attack the U.S. with rockets.
While Taft carried his home state of Ohio, and a few others, Steele's machine went to work, ensuring victory in every state that mattered (including Maryland, which had gone Republican in 1948). Taft conceded a little before midnight on election night.
This was Steel's final victory. He died less than two months into his sixth term on March 5, 1953. His Vice President, the long-overshadowed John Nance Garner, ascended to the Presidency, and began to try to undo some of Steele's more draconian policies.
The 1952 election saw Republicans nominate war hero Dwight D. Eisenhower with Richard Nixon as his running mate. The Democrats nominated Adlai Stevenson II, the erudite Governor of Illinois, and Senator John Sparkman of Alabama as his running mate. Eisenhower's campaign focused on the threat of communism abroad and at home. The Korean War became a hot button, as the Republicans accused the Democrats of being unprepared to fight that war. The Democrats in turn attacked GOP conservatives such as Joseph McCarthy, accusing them of "fear-mongering". In the end, Eisenhower won in a landslide.
Robert Taft did pursue the Republican nomination for the third and final time in 1952. This was his strongest effort, but he was perceived as too conservative for the party bosses, and Eisenhower received the nomination after a certain amount of political horse-trading.
Joseph Stalin was an indirect campaign issue, given the emphasis on global communism. Like his fictional counterpart, Stalin was on the tail end of a decades long political reign in the Soviet Union; he died on March 5, 1953.
- Joe Steele, pg. 397.
- Ibid., 397-398.
- Ibid., pg. 398.
- Ibid., pg. 399.
- Ibid., pg. 400.