The political wave or tide that Senator Everett Dirksen is talking about in this speech is the 1952 Republican sweep. Other than holding Congress from 1947-48, they were completely shutout of power in Washington and the Federal Government, at least as far as being in charge of anything from 1933-53. The Democratic Party, won five straight presidential elections during this period. And again except for 1947-48, held both the House and Senate in Congress during this whole period as well. That changed in 1952 thanks to Dwight Eisenhower as he won the presidency and Congressional Republicans won back the House and Senate in 1952.
Senator Dirksen, initially supported Mr. Conservative at least during his time, Senator Robert Taft for president in 1952. They were both strong Conservative Republicans, from the Midwest, who served in Congress together for twelve-years. They knew each other and the other’s politics and character very well. Dwight Eisenhower, hadn’t announced he was a Republican until he decided to run for president in 1952. He could he being a career U.S. Army officer. So it wasn’t very clear really until General Eisenhower became President of the United States where the General was politically and ideologically.
The Republican Party in 1952 whether they nominated General Dwight Eisenhower or Senator Robert Taft for president, felt this year was definitely their time. Of course they felt that way in 1948 when they barely lost that election as well with Tom Dewey. But 1952 was different for them because they had a great nominee and perhaps the most popular person in America at the time in Ike Eisenhower. And of course the Democrats held the White House for twenty-years at this point and held both chambers of Congress for most of that time as well. President Harry Truman, had been president for eight years at this point and he and his administration were unpopular. So Republicans had a lot to feel good about in 1952.