4 November 1952
Dwight Eisenhower Elected President
The prospects of the Democratic Party in 1952 were not promising. Casualties continued to mount in Korea, where the Truman administration had proved unable to bring about either victory of a satisfactory peace agreement. At the same time several high-ranking members of the administration were under investigation for corruption, and Joseph McCarthy’s accusations were creating the widespread impression that the Democrats were “soft on communism.” In March, after losing the New Hampshire primary to Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver, Truman announced that he would not seek another term.

Ultimately the Democratic nomination went to Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson, but he faced an uphill fight when the Republicans chose Dwight Eisenhower as their standard-bearer. On domestic issues Eisenhower had a reputation as a moderate, appealing to a broad spectrum of voters in both parties, and his military background made him seem like just the man to bring an end to the war in Korea. On Election Day he won in a landslide, carrying all but nine of the 48 states. Moreover, Republicans managed to win a majority in both houses of Congress.

One of those benefiting from the GOP victory was Joseph McCarthy, who not only won reelection but was given the chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Government Operations. Traditionally one of the least prestigious of the Senate committees, Republican Majority Leader Robert A. Taft of Ohio claimed that there “he can’t do any harm.”