#5. Strom Thurmond
At the Democratic National Convention of 1948, delegates officially adopted a pro-civil rights platform for the first time, which was quickly embraced by President Harry Truman. Some Democrats, however, did not like this at all, and the delegations from a number of Southern states marched out of the convention to have their own. This breakaway party called themselves the “States’ Rights Democrats” or the “Dixiecrats,” and they nominated then-Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina for the presidency. Running under the slogan, “Segregation Forever,” Thurmond hoped to keep the federal government from ever interfering with the Jim Crow laws that his party valued so much. Even though their message did not play well throughout most of the United States, the Dixiecrats managed to win the electoral votes of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina. Thurmond’s third-place finish might seem impressive by today’s standards, but in reality his loss allowed Democrats to reject segregationists and to support the Civil Rights Movement - which two decades later finally succeeded.
#4. Henry Wallace
Strom Thurmond wasn’t the only Democrat who felt betrayed by the party platform in 1948. Henry Wallace was the former Vice-President who had served under Franklin Roosevelt, but was replaced by Harry Truman in the Election of 1944. Wallace’s main beef with the party, however, had nothing to do with segregation (which he opposed), and everything to do with the Soviet Union (which he supported). In his first term as president, Harry Truman called for an aggressive stance against Communism and, in particular, the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin. Former Vice-President Wallace, however, did not like this part of the Democratic platform. So in response, he decided to run for the presidency as the Progressive Party candidate - which had a platform emphasizing trust in Stalin and giving American Communists a voice in government. In fact, Wallace’s Soviet-friendly stances were extreme enough that even many socialists refused to support him. On election day, the Progressive Party failed to win a single state or electoral vote, which further pushed American Communists into obscurity. Wallace retired from politics after his loss, and in time grew to regret his opposition to the policies of Harry Truman and the Democratic Party.