Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Niall Ferguson

Three Words That Haunt Joe Biden: ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’

The 1948 presidential election was a bigger surprise than 2016, and has eerie parallels to 2020.

Back to the future?

Back to the future?

Photographer: Irving Haberman/IH Images/Getty Images

I can see the headline already: “Biden Defeats Trump.”

With just two days remaining before the final votes are cast, President Donald Trump’s obstacles to re-election look insurmountable. The pandemic he wished would miraculously go away is entering its third wave. The economy is recovering, but after a savage recession. He is two points further behind in the polls than John McCain was in 2008 and almost as far behind as George H. W. Bush was in 1992. In recent columns, experienced pundits from Peggy Noonan to Andrew Sullivan to Charlie Cook — none of them card-carrying Democrats — have dared to contemplate a landslide victory for Joe Biden.