1976: Carter's Perfect Storm

Carter's crushing victory
Tuesday, 2 November, 1976: “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. After just a few short hours, I can confidently report that governor James Earl Carter has just become the next President-Elect of the United States. Though the final tally of votes will not be known for a few days while the count is underway, reports state that within all likelihood, the Georgia governor will win four hundred and ninety-nine electoral votes, with the states of Colorado, New Hampshire, and Vermont still undecided for a total of fourteen electoral votes, though these states heavily favor Mister Carter. Meanwhile, Mister Reagan has won the following states: Alaska, , Idaho, Nebraska, Utah, and Wyoming, for a total of nineteen electoral votes, and is expected to pick up the state of Arizona, which has a slight bend towards him, which if he wins, will increase his electoral vote by six, up to a total of twenty-five."

"We go now live to our field reporter in Burlington, Vermont where governor Carter is currently wrapping up his campaign in the state, having been here the past few days trying to mobilize democratic support in New Hampshire and Vermont, hoping to make a clean sweep of the New England region in this election."

"Thank you, Walter, I stand here with Governor Carter who has just been informed of his victory in forty-one out of the fifty states in the country, and that polls show that he's the favorite in three more states. How do you feel in regards to this mandate, governor?"

"I feel blessed by God that the American people have seen fit to support my message of change and honesty so much so as to earn such a victory. I have worked tirelessly day and night to earn each and every vote, and I do not intend to stop campaigning until every polling place has closed. This is an election about sending a clear message to Washington that the time of dishonesty and corruption is over. That we the American people demand more from our leaders, and that we will require the help of each and every person to do so, and as such, every vote counts which is why I've spent the last few days personally campaigning in New Hampshire and Vermont, while Senator Church has been campaigning all throughout the state of Colorado for the past week."

"Strong words governor. Have you given thought to how your presidency might go, especially as an outsider?"

"Yes, I have given it much thought, and I think it's clear that throughout my career in politics I've been more than happy to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle, especially within my party, and they fully understand that when I speak of corruption in Washington, I'm referring to, as I've said many times before, to the acts of former President Nixon, and the pardon issued to him by President Ford. The American people were incensed with Watergate and felt relieved for justice to have been achieved with impeachment, yet president Ford's pardon took that away from people. That energy led to Mister Reagan's victory in the primary against President Ford, yet Reagan's conservatism is clearly out of line with what the American people want. He has not done nearly enough to distance himself from Nixon and Ford, and even if he had, his conservative ideas promise policies that are even worse than Nixon's It's made a lot of people angry, regardless of party and it led to tonight's result. I want to channel that energy to clean up the White House and make sure nothing like this ever happens again, while also providing for people's basic needs rather than leaving them to their own devices as President Nixon has done throughout his administration. I want the American people to rest assured knowing that no one is above the law, especially not the President of the United States."

"Thank you very much, governor. Do you have any final words for the viewers at home?"

"Yes. These last four years, we have seen great change come from the people. From the legalization of cannabis in the state of California in 1972 to the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment on the third of February, 1975. We have seen popular movements achieve great things in the history of this country, and I want to continue this movement to achieve real change. However, I can't act alone, and I will do my best to deal with Congress to help pass as much legislation as possible to help the American people. At the end of the day, I want people to be active during my administration, to submit proposals, to call their Senators and Representatives, to stay active and informed, and to vote, vote, vote. so as to make their voices heard."

"Thank you, Governor Carter, and congratulations on becoming President-Elect of the United States. We here at CBS hope to hear more from you and your administration in the coming months."

"Amazing result here tonight, only four short years after former President Nixon's massive victory in 1972, where President-Elect Carter served as senator McGovern's running mate. Unlike the previous elections, this one has shown no marks of electoral trickery, and the governor's crushing victory seems to be the result of a hard-fought campaign that spared no quarter against the Nixon-Ford administrations. As of now, we have Mister Carter's policy priorities from his campaigning, as well as his released 100-days plan, and all we can wait for is to see is how these policies are pursued and implemented once he's in office. Back to you, Walter."

"Thank you for your reporting out in the field. Well, there you have it, folks, governor James Earl Carter is now President-Elect of the United States, and that's the way it is, Tuesday, November 2, 1976 ."
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To those who have read before the changes: 1) I realized that if Ford's popularity crashed this much, it's pretty likely that he would've lost against Reagan, which he does ITTL, making it the first successful primary challenge agaisnt an incumbent president. The electoral college result is still the same since ITTL, Regan is successfully painted as way too far to the right, and combined with bitter Republican moderates and liberals within the party that are unable to be pacified even with Schweiker on the ticket, and as such Republican turnout is at an all-time low. 2) The electoral college maps are color shifted since the color was as of yet undetermined, and internationally, red is the color for social-democratic parties, while blue is the color for center-rught parties. 4) This means that the Reagan Revolution and the "Silent Majority" die stillborn/in the crib, as the movements go down in flames as they're tainted by the Nixon-centric election.

As those of you who have followed my timeline The American Civil War: The Rise of the Radical Republicans, you know that my computer was giving me quite a bit of trouble. Luckily, it wasn't my computer, but rather my charger, as it seems that due to periodic power outages (one of the less wonderful parts of living in Puerto Rico) the charger was damaged beyond use. My finals were crazy, and I've been in a bit of a funk, so I won't return to the TL just yet (but I will eventually). Still, I do want to write, and I realized I'm terrible at writing dialogue (so much for writing fanfic), so I came back to Alt Hist. This particular subject is one dear to me, due to me being quite fond of Jimmy Carter. He's a sweet, honest man, and I genuinely believe that he had the potential to be a good president, but was saddled with too many things to properly deal with, and as such, his reputation has suffered, especially since his term preceded that of Reagan (who is thankfully being weighed more honestly rather than as the second coming of Christ), and as such, I wanted to give Carter a timeline in which he'd be remembered as a great president, so there will be some instances of stretching, but I do hope to be able to justify all of them, even if I have to squint a bit (or a lot to do so).

To be clear, many PoDs will occur before the 1976 election (even before the primaries) and I feel like these are necessary stepping stones to give Carter (and the Democrats) a proper precedent to properly exercise power. As such, the first PoD will be a few decades before the 1976 election, with the first political PoD directly affecting Carter being in 1966 (and to a less direct extent, 1958).

Feel free to interact, and offer up ideas on how to carry on Carter's presidency (preferably in a more liberal/progressive, less neoliberal direction). Opinions are always welcome, and super helpful, though please do try to substantiate any opinions/suggestions.
 
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1976 Senate and Gubernatorial elections
Alongside Carter's crushing victory, the Democratic party made enormous gains at both the state and national level, leading to huge victories across the board, leading to complete domination of the legislative branch by the democrats, having built on their victories in 1972 and 1974.

1976 Gubernatorial elections: (+6 from OTL, *= different candidate)
  1. Arkansas - David Pryor (D) (Inc.)
  2. Delaware - Sherman W. Tribbitt (D) (Inc.) +
  3. Illinois - Dan Walker (D) (Inc.) +
  4. Indiana - Larry Conrad (D) (Inc.)* +
  5. Missouri - Joseph P. Teasdale (D) (Inc.)
  6. Montana - Thomas Lee Judge (D) (Inc.)
  7. New Hampshire - Hugh J. Gallen (D) (Inc.)* +
  8. North Carolina - Jim Hunt (D)
  9. North Dakota - Arthur A. Link (D) (Inc.)
  10. Puerto Rico - Rafael Hernández Colón (PPD) (Inc.) + (Both he and Carlos Romero Barceló were Democrats, but the PPD is (and was) to the left of the PNP, plus, Cerro Maravilla. . .)
  11. Rhode Island - J. Joseph Garrahy (D)
  12. Utah - Scott M. Matheson (D)
  13. Vermont - Brian D. Burns (D)* +
  14. Washington - Wes Uhlman (D)*
  15. West Virginia - Jay Rockefeller (D) (Inc.)
1976 Senatorial elections (+12 from OTL, *=different candidate)
  1. Arizona - Dennis DeConcini (D)
  2. California - Tom Hayden (D)* +
  3. Connecticut - Gloria Schaffer (D) +
  4. Delaware - Thomas Maloney (D) +
  5. Florida - Lawton Chiles (D) (Inc.)
  6. Hawaii - Patsy Mink (D)*
  7. Indiana - Vance Hartke (D) (Inc.) +
  8. Maine - Edmund Muskie (D) (Inc.)
  9. Maryland - Joseph Tydings (D) (Inc.)
  10. Massachusetts - Ted Kennedy (D) (Inc.)
  11. Michigan - Donald Riegle (D) (Inc.)
  12. Minnesota - Huber H. Humphrey (DFL) (Inc.)
  13. Mississippi - John C. Stennis (D) (Inc.)
  14. Missouri - James Symington (D)* +
  15. Montana - John Melcher (D)
  16. Nebraska - Edward Zorinsky (D)
  17. Nevada - Howard Cannon (D) (Inc.)
  18. New Jersey - Harrison A. Williams (D) (Inc.)
  19. New Mexico - Joseph Montoya (D) (Inc.) +
  20. New York - Bella Abzug (D)
  21. North Dakota - Quentin Burdick (D-NPL) (Inc.)
  22. Ohio - Howard Metzenbaum (D) (Inc.)
  23. Pennsylvania - William J. "Bill" Green (D) +
  24. Rhode Island - Philip W. Noel (D) +
  25. Tennessee - John Jay Hooker (D)*
  26. Texas - Lloyd Bensten (D) (Inc.)
  27. Utah - Frank Moss (D) (Inc.) +
  28. Vermont - Thomas P. Salmon (D) +
  29. Virginia - Elmo Zumwalt (D) +
  30. Washington - Henry M. Jackson (D) (Inc.)
  31. West Virginia - Robert Byrd (D) (Inc.)
  32. Wisconsin - William Proxmire (D) (Inc.)
  33. Wyoming - Gale McGee (D) (Inc.) +
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(If anyone has recommendations for nominations to the cabinet, please let me know!)

As can be seen, Carter's overwhelming victory leads to huge ripples throughout the country, especially since a lot of these races were pretty close. Taking this into consideration, the Democratic victories come by for two reasons: the Nixon impeachment which both destroys the Republican party in all but the most pro-Republican areas in the country (as seen in the electoral college) and that the Democrats pounced on this, portraying themselves not only as anti-Nixon but as pro-honesty and pro-change, even if many of the candidates were neutral at best on these issues.

In a few cases, some of these freshmen (IOTL) are incumbents (ITTL) as they had run in primaries/general elections in the previous cycle(s), and I wanted to give them a seniority advantage.

ITTL, the Nixon issue is much more impactful for two reasons: 1) it goes into full impeachment, which considering how drunk/belligerent Nixon got in the months before he resigned, ITTL, its easy to see this getting much worse, which affects him as there's no "Oh poor guy, he resigned" effect. 2) The impeachment means that Nixon is president for longer, which a) means he taints the Republicans for longer, and b) Ford has less time in office, which when combined with the pardon, would mean Ford would be fully overshadowed by Nixon, and 2) Nixon's electoral fraud in 1968 (sabotaging of peace talks with North Vietnam, in violation of the Logan Act) is revealed, and although it isn't included in the impeachment, it makes Nixon look worse as it makes his 1968 administration illegitimate, as well as making the 1972 fraud (Watergate) look worse.

Taking into account issue #2, the articles of impeachment are expanded. From the approved 3 to the proposed 5 IOTL. These were (approved): Obstruction of justice, Abuse of presidential power, and Contempt of Congress. ITTL, the added (voted down) articles are: Cambodia bombing / war powers (courtesy of John Conyers), and Emoluments and tax fraud (courtesy of Edward Mezvinsky {ironically in March 2001 IOTL, he was indicted and later plead guilty to 31 of 69 (not nice) felony charges of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud.}).

As was informally agreed, impeachment would only be debated for one week rather than two (all of it televised), beginning on Monday, August 19, 1974, and (I assume) ending on Monday, August 26, 1974, and would be voted in favor by at least 300 house members, especially after the "smoking gun" tapes, and a few key Republican defectors such as Pete McCloskey (who in ITTL, reached 20% in the New Hampshire primary back in 1972, so he stayed in the primary, alongside John Ashbrook and pulled key support from Nixon, which made him extra reckless when it came to sabotaging the general).

Taking all this into account, it'd be weirder if the Democrats didn't crush in the 1976 elections (and the 1974 midterms).
 
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Inauguration Speech
Januar 20th, 1977:
"For myself and for our Nation, I want to thank my colleagues for all they have done in bringing truth and justice so as to heal this land of ours.*

In this outward and physical ceremony we attest once again to the inner and spiritual strength of our Nation. As my high school teacher, Miss Julia Coleman, used to say: "We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles."

Here before me is the Bible used in the inauguration of our first President, in 1789, and I have just taken the oath of office on the Bible my mother gave me a few years ago, opened to a timeless admonition from the ancient prophet Micah:

"He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." (Micah 6: 8)

This inauguration ceremony marks a new beginning, a new dedication within our Government, and a new spirit among us all. A President may sense and proclaim that new spirit, but only a people can provide it.

Two centuries ago our Nation's birth was a milestone in the long quest for freedom, but the bold and brilliant dream which excited the founders of this Nation still awaits its consummation. I have no new dream to set forth today, but rather urge a fresh faith in the old dream.

Ours was the first society openly to define itself in terms of both spirituality and of human liberty. It is that unique self- definition which has given us an exceptional appeal, but it also imposes on us a special obligation, to take on those moral duties which, when assumed, seem invariably to be in our own best interests.

You have given me a great responsibility--to stay close to you, to be worthy of you, and to exemplify what you are. Let us create together a new national spirit of unity and trust. Your strength can compensate for my weakness, and your wisdom can help to minimize my mistakes.

Let us learn together and laugh together and work together and pray together, confident that in the end we will triumph together in the right.

The American dream endures. We must once again have full faith in our country--and in one another. I believe America can be better. We can be even stronger than before.

Let the events of these last few years* lead to a resurgent commitment to the basic principles of our Nation, for we know that if we despise our own government we have no future. We recall in special times when we have stood briefly, but magnificently, united. In those times no prize was beyond our grasp.

But we cannot dwell upon remembered glory. We cannot afford to drift. We reject the prospect of failure or mediocrity or an inferior quality of life for any person. Our Government must at the same time be both competent and compassionate.

We have already found a high degree of personal liberty, and we are now struggling to enhance equality of opportunity. Our commitment to human rights must be absolute, our laws fair, our natural beauty preserved; the powerful must not persecute the weak, and human dignity must be enhanced.

We have learned that "more" is not necessarily "better," that even our great Nation has its recognized limits, and that we can neither answer all questions nor solve all problems. We cannot afford to do everything, nor can we afford to lack boldness as we meet the future. So, together, in a spirit of individual sacrifice for the common good, we must simply do our best.

Our Nation can be strong abroad only if it is strong at home. And we know that the best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation.

To be true to ourselves, we must be true to others. We will not behave in foreign places as was done before* so as to violate our rules and standards here at home, for we know that the trust which our Nation earns is essential to our strength.

The world itself is now dominated by a new spirit. Peoples more numerous and more politically aware are craving and now demanding their place in the sun--not just for the benefit of their own physical condition, but for basic human rights.

The passion for freedom is on the rise. Tapping this new spirit, there can be no nobler nor more ambitious task for America to undertake on this day of a new beginning than to help shape a just and peaceful world that is truly humane.

We are a strong nation, and we will maintain strength so sufficient that it need not be proven in combat--a quiet strength based not merely on the size of an arsenal, but on the nobility of ideas.

We will be ever vigilant and never vulnerable, and we will fight our wars against poverty, ignorance, and injustice--for those are the enemies against which our forces can be honorably marshaled.

We are a purely idealistic Nation, but let no one confuse our idealism with weakness.

Because we are free we can never be indifferent to the fate of freedom elsewhere. Our moral sense dictates a clearcut preference for these societies which share with us an abiding respect for individual human rights. We do not seek to intimidate, but it is clear that a world which others can dominate with impunity would be inhospitable to decency and a threat to the well-being of all people.

The world is still engaged in a massive armaments race designed to ensure continuing equivalent strength among potential adversaries. We pledge perseverance and wisdom in our efforts to limit the world's armaments to those necessary for each nation's own domestic safety. And we will move this year a step toward the ultimate goal--the elimination of all biological, chemical, and nuclear* weapons from this Earth. We urge all other people to join us, for success can mean life instead of death.

Within us, the people of the United States, there is evident a serious and purposeful rekindling of confidence. And I join in the hope that when my time as your President has ended, people might say this about our Nation:

- that we had remembered the words of Micah and renewed our search for humility, mercy, and justice;

- that we had torn down the barriers that separated those of different race and region and religion, and where there had been mistrust, built unity, with a respect for diversity;

- that we had found productive work for those able to perform it;

- that we had strengthened the American family, which is the basis of our society;

- that we had ensured respect for the law, and equal treatment under the law, for the weak and the powerful, for the rich and the poor;

- and that we had enabled our people to be proud of their own Government once again.

I would hope that the nations of the world might say that we had built a lasting peace, built not on weapons of war but on international policies which reflect our own most precious values.

These are not just my goals, and they will not be my accomplishments, but the affirmation of our Nation's continuing moral strength and our belief in an undiminished, ever-expanding American dream."

"What we just heard now was President Carter's inaugural address, his swearing-in having occurred just a short while ago. In the spirit of the mass popular movement inspired through this campaign, the inauguration was held in a ceremony freely available to the public, and the crowds have not stopped coming in. Reports are coming in that the crowd size for this event is two million people, a clear pay off from the Carter campaign announcing this event ever since election night. It's being reported that hotels down to middle Virginia and upper Maryland are completely sold out to accommodate this enormous amount of visitors."

*Cutting over to a panoramic shot, there's an enormous crowd of people, many of them wearing "Carter/Church '76 pins", though a few notable exceptions simply have "Good riddance, Ford"*

"As you can see from the crowd, a great deal are here to support the President, the enthusiasm he inspired alongside Vice-President Church still going strong, though there is a clear contingent of people who are here to celebrate Ford's departure from the White House than Carter's. Demosntrations both pro-Carter, and anti-Ford seem to be quite peaceable as both sides agree on one thing: 'Ford is out, and that's good.' There doesn't seem to be anything else planned for the day,other than celebrations by the millions of people here. Back to the studio"

"Thank you. Great job out there on the field! As it's plain to see, Washington is more crowded than ever, and from what we've heard through interviews, people seem to be quite hopeful for President Carter's first one hundred days. It might just be Morning in America, as some interviewees have said."

*Following a shuffle in seats, and a ruffling of papers to indicate a new story, the anchor continues.*

"In foreign policy news, President Carter has hit the ground running in regards to foreign policy, having already coordinated meetings with leaders from all-Soviet aligned nations all throughout January and February, to continue with Nixon's policy of detente, something which Carter described as 'one of the very few policies' to be kept in place from the previous administrations. Additionally, there have. . . we have just received news that President Carter is about to do something unprecedented in the history of Presidency, and will take be signing an executive order as well as an individual pardon on stage."

"Thank you, Tom. As you can see, people are excited to see what president Carter's executive order and who the person being pardoned will be, seeing that as these would be his first official acts, and will set the tone for the rest of his administration. . . reports coming in now, we can see that the executive order being signed is a pardon for all those who evaded the draft, as well as deserters, seemingly influenced by anti-war forces within the Democratic party in terms of how broad this pardon is. Additionally, the pardon seems to be in regards to Patty Hearst, who was convicted on March 20 of 1976 for bank robbery and using a firearm during the commission of a felony. We go now to President Carter, who seems to be taking to the podium to speak again."

"In the singing of these documents, I want to take the first steps in establishing a kinder, gentler government, with an administration dedicated to being honest and open in every action taken. Regarding the pardon of this poor, young woman who was clearly brainwashed into the actions she took and is also a victim in what she did. It's clear that the punishment must fall upon the Harisses, who tortured, and hurt this girl. As such, taking this into consideration, this pardon, effective immediately, demonstrates that my administration is committed to justice towards those who deserve it, whether it may be pardons or punishment, justice will be equal for all. Now, all we can do is hope is that miss Hearst recovers from the health issues she has encountered in prison, a major reason for her pardon. after her recovery, she has demonstrated that she wishes to rejoin society, showing complete and total remorse for actions over which she wasn't mentally capable of exercising judgment."

"Apart from this specific pardon, I also wish to announce a pardon for all those who evaded the draft, as well as those who in the crisis of an unjust war, found themselves deserting. The Vietnam War was the most destructive conflict which our country has faced in the last twenty years. Countless young men and women sacrificed their lives overseas as soldiers, medics, and journalists. They gave their lives for their beliefs, and we will remember this for the rest of time. This pardon does not diminish the great bravery and sacrifice of those who went overseas, and no action in my administration would do so. This pardon represents the final step in our national quest to heal from the tragedy of the war in Vietnam. This executive order also represents my commitment and my administration's commitment to completing each and every one of our campaign promises. I want the American people to remember this moment as the dawn of a new administration. An administration with clear, tangible goals, that will complete them with as much openness and honesty as possible. This is the first of many campaign promises that I made and will complete, all subject to public scrutiny, as is right of anything that the President of the United States does. I thank you all for being here to witness this occasion and hope that you will all be as active in the years to come."
 
Off to a good start, Carter's one of those oft forgotten Presidents, did he win this big really in OTL? You'd think that what followed would have been endless terms of Democrats.
 
Off to a good start, Carter's one of those oft forgotten Presidents, did he win this big really in OTL? You'd think that what followed would have been endless terms of Democrats.
He didn't win by much . He did begin by pardoning Vietnam draft dodgers.
 
2) Nixon's electoral fraud in 1968 (sabotaging of peace talks with North Vietnam, in violation of the Logan Act) is revealed, and although it isn't included in the impeachment, it makes Nixon look worse as it makes his 1968 administration illegitimate, as well as making the 1972 fraud (Watergate) look worse.
Felt I needed to make a more immediate comment here, rather than tie it in with a larger post; this never would have happened. Whatever one's feelings on Chennault's conduct at the Hanoi Peace Conference of '68, the fact is that all of the proof is tied up in South Vietnamese communications that had been tapped by American Intelligence Services, and that would be a bombshell that would destroy any trust the United States had with its allies as they'd begin wondering whether their communications were being tapped. This was one of the primary concerns that came up in the Johnson Administration when it was first discussed whether to blow the lid on the affair, and just about everyone of importance who'd consider leaking it would be aware of the consequences, and deem the leak not worth it.
 
Felt I needed to make a more immediate comment here, rather than tie it in with a larger post; this never would have happened. Whatever one's feelings on Chennault's conduct at the Hanoi Peace Conference of '68, the fact is that all of the proof is tied up in South Vietnamese communications that had been tapped by American Intelligence Services, and that would be a bombshell that would destroy any trust the United States had with its allies as they'd begin wondering whether their communications were being tapped. This was one of the primary concerns that came up in the Johnson Administration when it was first discussed whether to blow the lid on the affair, and just about everyone of importance who'd consider leaking it would be aware of the consequences, and deem the leak not worth it.

Thing is this is likely the era where someone would doesn't really 'care' what the consequences are could have access to and 'leak' this information, and frankly might do so simply BECAUSE of the 'bombshell' it would be. We were really at a weird point of internal and external politics in that time.

Randy
 
Felt I needed to make a more immediate comment here, rather than tie it in with a larger post; this never would have happened. Whatever one's feelings on Chennault's conduct at the Hanoi Peace Conference of '68, the fact is that all of the proof is tied up in South Vietnamese communications that had been tapped by American Intelligence Services, and that would be a bombshell that would destroy any trust the United States had with its allies as they'd begin wondering whether their communications were being tapped. This was one of the primary concerns that came up in the Johnson Administration when it was first discussed whether to blow the lid on the affair, and just about everyone of importance who'd consider leaking it would be aware of the consequences, and deem the leak not worth it.
My idea is that it's not revealed in 1968 (so Humphrey still loses). ITTL, once Nixon's impeachment is beginning to go underway (1974), to support John Conyers' resolution on Cambodia, Humphrey, finding out he has "terminal" cancer, decides to do a hail mary pass against Nixon by releasing Johnson's file, thinking that he wouldn't be around to take the heat in 1976 since he'd be dead by then. Of course, earlier treatment of cancer ironically leads to him not dying from it, and he in fact reelected to the Senate in 1976, finishing it out and retiring in 1983.

All this leads to Nixon doubling down in regards to remaining in office to the bitter end out of sheer rage towards Humphrey (and Democrats in general), even saying (ITTL) "Even if I'm impeached, I won't give that bastard (Humphrey) the satisfaction of voting against me."

Humphrey's response (ITTL) would be: "If he thinks he can get away from me that easily, he's got another thing coming. I'll vote for his removal in the hospital, on my deathbed, and even from my grave."
 
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Thing is this is likely the era where someone would doesn't really 'care' what the consequences are could have access to and 'leak' this information, and frankly might do so simply BECAUSE of the 'bombshell' it would be. We were really at a weird point of internal and external politics in that time.

Randy
Personally, I think it should've been revealed in 1968, because: 1) Humphrey would've been a better President, 2) being honest about stuff is good, and 3) what Nixon and Kissinger did was illegal, if not outright treasonous. Plus, I think the revelation wouldn't have been that big of a deal. Johnson could've just said "Yeah, of course we're tapping the South Vietnamese government, the FBI and CIA are doing their best to protect them from Soviet and North Vietnamese spies. We just happened to also catch this."

It's not like South Vietnam could've protested that much because Johnson could respond with "Oh, you don't want me to keep tabs on our investments in your country? Then I guess we don't have to invest in your country."
 
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Off to a good start, Carter's one of those oft forgotten Presidents, did he win this big really in OTL? You'd think that what followed would have been endless terms of Democrats.
No. IOTL Carter only won 23 states + DC for a total of 297 electoral college votes, with Ford winning 27 states for 240 electoral votes (a faithless elector gave one of Ford's 241 to Reagan).

ITTL, Carter wins the OTL Ford states of (in ascending order of margin of victory): Oregon, Maine-2, Maine, Iowa, Oklahoma, Maine-1, Virginia, South Dakota, California, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Washington, Nevada, Connecticut, Michigan, North Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Indiana, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Colorado for an extra 21 (23 if you count Maine's congressional districts) extra state/electoral college units.

Everything up to Indiana (-7.62 IOTL)is a result of Carter's overall increased performance nationwide, with specific targeting in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Colorado to outperform polling and win the states.

Yeah, ITTL, there is an endless term of Democrats, at least for the 1974 midterms, minor 1975 elections, and the 1976 general. Everything else will be (hopefully) more balanced.
 
My idea is that it's not revealed in 1968 (so Humphrey still loses). ITTL, once Nixon's impeachment is beginning to go underway (1974), to support John Conyers' resolution on Cambodia, Humphrey, finding out he has "terminal" cancer, decides to do a hail mary pass against Nixon by releasing Johnson's file, thinking that he wouldn't be around to take the heat in 1976 since he'd be dead by then. Of course, earlier treatment of cancer ironically leads to him not dying from it, and he in fact reelected to the Senate in 1976, finishing it out and retiring in 1983.

All this leads to Nixon doubling down in regards to remaining in office to the bitter end out of sheer rage towards Humphrey (and Democrats in general), even saying (ITTL) "Even if I'm impeached, I won't give that bastard (Humphrey) the satisfaction of voting against me."

Humphrey's response (ITTL) would be: "If he thinks he can get away from me that easily, he's got another thing coming. I'll vote for his removal in the hospital, on my deathbed, and even from my grave."
A Democratic Senator is not going to have access to archived information during the Nixon Administration; he could certainly claim that Nixon had sabotaged the peace talks in Paris, but he wouldn't have any hard evidence on hand and would find few allies capable or willing to release that information. Unless there is a leak this is going to come across poorly for Humphrey no matter how you spin it, with the usual suspects either believing it or thinking its lies.

Personally, I think it should've been revealed in 1968, because: 1) Humphrey would've been a better President, 2) being honest about stuff is good, and 3) what Nixon and Kissinger did was illegal, if not outright treasonous. Plus, I think the revelation wouldn't have been that big of a deal. Johnson could've just said "Yeah, of course we're tapping the South Vietnamese government, the FBI and CIA are doing their best to protect them from Soviet and North Vietnamese spies. We just happened to also catch this."

It's not like South Vietnam could've protested that much because Johnson could respond with "Oh, you don't want me to keep tabs on our investments in your country? Then I guess we don't have to invest in your country."
I think you are seriously underestimating the diplomatic blowback that would come with this, especially in Europe where relations were already difficult. You've just made all communications with and by our allies suspect, which would result in a reshuffling of just about every intelligence service there in an effort to make sure that the United States was not tapping their communications, as well as eyeing every American embassy with suspicion, and threatens already existing data-gathering operations by the CIA that may no longer exist after the fact. Again, there is a reason why no one touched this until decades later.
 
A Democratic Senator is not going to have access to archived information during the Nixon Administration; he could certainly claim that Nixon had sabotaged the peace talks in Paris, but he wouldn't have any hard evidence on hand and would find few allies capable or willing to release that information. Unless there is a leak this is going to come across poorly for Humphrey no matter how you spin it, with the usual suspects either believing it or thinking its lies.


I think you are seriously underestimating the diplomatic blowback that would come with this, especially in Europe where relations were already difficult. You've just made all communications with and by our allies suspect, which would result in a reshuffling of just about every intelligence service there in an effort to make sure that the United States was not tapping their communications, as well as eyeing every American embassy with suspicion, and threatens already existing data-gathering operations by the CIA that may no longer exist after the fact. Again, there is a reason why no one touched this until decades later.
Humphrey was the Democratic candidate in 1968, and even though he and Johnson didn't have the best of relationships, it's clear that Humphrey had some indication of Nixon's actions. What I'm saying is that ITTL, Johnson hands Humphrey the X-file detailing Nixon's action in regards to the negotiations, and Humphrey releases them in 1974 after announcing that he has (what seems to be terminal) cancer. I'm not saying it would go over super well, but a lot of anti-war Democrats, and even a few Republicans (mostly Pete McCloskey) would jump at the bit. Pair that with John Conyer's resolution to include an article of impeachment regarding Nixon's acts in Cambodia, and in 1974, most people won't even bother to ask where the (seemingly) dying senator got this information, and it's not like they'll dig up Johnson to ask him about it.

I totally get where you're coming from with that. I'm not saying there wouldn't be diplomatic blowback, because of course there would be. But I think it would be similar to when it was revealed back in 2013 that the NSA was spying on world leaders, including some of our top allies like Germany. The reaction was mostly "Yeah, we know." I don't think anyone would dare boycott the US over that, or raise too much noise about it unless they were already anti-American since US allies tend to "grin and bear it" to an extent.

In the case of South Vietnam, I do think it could be (partially) explained away (in 1968) with 1) We're at war. 2) We're trying to root out Soviet, Chinese, and North Vietnamese spies. 3) We're trying to make sure no one is interfering with our peace talks since they're of utmost importance. Will people complain? Yeah, definitely, but I don't think it would be that bad since our allies would (mostly) be ok with it, while the Eastern Bloc would be like "Yeah, no shit Sherlock, we know the Americans have been spying on us since day one."

I do think a major reason no one touched this until later is also the precedent that presidents should to one extent or the other, be untouchable while in office. In 1968, it was most definitely seen from your point of view, plus it could've potentially backfired if not revealed correctly, and Nixon could've had an even bigger margin of victory if he successfully turned things into "See how desperate the Democrats are to defeat me, staunch anti-communist?" If he played his cards right, it would then die down, and Johnson and Humphrey would be permanently embarrassed for stooping so lol.

I definitely appreciate the response, and thanks for the perspective! I'll definitely be sure to include something extra about building back trust with allies, which works well with a pro-detente Carter. This TL is focused on a more open and honest government, as Carter intended IOTL. Which, knowing the president Carter was, and the person he is, it'll be earnest, and well-intentioned, if not necessarily well-executed.

Much like IRL, sometimes honesty isn't the best policy, especially when a polite fiction or little white lie can cover things up much better, but in this case, the Democrats have been campaigning on "honesty and decency in government" since 1974 and Carter has just won a 44 state + DC landslide on that very message alongside senator Frank Church (as in Church Committee, Frank Church). So it does make sense to be honest to a fault, especially when either way you'll have to repair relations with your allies after your disgraced former president (and the lackey who pardoned him) have lost all legitimacy, so at least this way you can come to them in good faith.

To quote a late Soviet-era joke: (In a restaurant)
― Why are the meatballs cube-shaped?
Perestroika! (restructuring)
― Why are they undercooked?
Uskoreniye! (acceleration)
― Why have they got a bite out of them?
Gospriyomka! (state approval)
― Why are you telling me all this so brazenly?
Glasnost! (openness)
 
One of the biggest problems that Carter had IOTL was the narrowness of his victory and that more than a few close contests were lost by Democratic candidates that if Carter's margin of victory was bigger then things would have gone the other way and Carter would have seen to have coat tails which would allowed him to have more sway over the House and Senate.
 
One of the biggest problems that Carter had IOTL was the narrowness of his victory and that more than a few close contests were lost by Democratic candidates that if Carter's margin of victory was bigger then things would have gone the other way and Carter would have seen to have coat tails which would allowed him to have more sway over the House and Senate.
Exactly… that’s why ITTL he has a 513 to 25 electoral college landslide (44 states + DC to 6), and literally every senate and gubernatorial Democrat up for election in 1976 has won.

(33/33 and 15/15)
Another issue was the types of democrats elected, not just the amounts. There weren’t any supermajorities like in 1964 or during the FDR years, but Democrats still held a slight permanent majority. Problem is, a lot of it was made of up conservatives (mostly southern), who fought against Carter’s more liberal ideas.

ITTL, as you can see from now-senators Abzug, Hayden (Jane Fonda’s second husband), and Zumwalt*, conservative democrats are getting kicked to the curb, so that won’t be as much of a problem. In fact, if Ted Kennedy plays his cards right ITTL, he might be the thorn in Carter’s side (other than the primary run from IOTL, I mean) ITTL, and could even be considered by some (especially in the right-wing media) to be the “real” president (as a pejorative, of course).

To be clear. Zumwalt wasn't super liberal, being a retired admiral, but he was in favor of racial integration within the Navy, which is pretty damn good on its own, and when compared to Harry F. Byrd Jr., it's a sorely needed breath of fresh air. IOTL (and ITTL) HFB Jr. went from Democrat to Independent due to his refusal to sign an oath to support the party's (as of then) undetermined 1972 presidential nominee. He was still an "Independent Democrat", but quite conservative. ITTL, Zumwalt breaks the Byrd machine, rather than it dying out (somewhat) naturally.
 
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Humphrey was the Democratic candidate in 1968, and even though he and Johnson didn't have the best of relationships, it's clear that Humphrey had some indication of Nixon's actions. What I'm saying is that ITTL, Johnson hands Humphrey the X-file detailing Nixon's action in regards to the negotiations, and Humphrey releases them in 1974 after announcing that he has (what seems to be terminal) cancer. I'm not saying it would go over super well, but a lot of anti-war Democrats, and even a few Republicans (mostly Pete McCloskey) would jump at the bit. Pair that with John Conyer's resolution to include an article of impeachment regarding Nixon's acts in Cambodia, and in 1974, most people won't even bother to ask where the (seemingly) dying senator got this information, and it's not like they'll dig up Johnson to ask him about it.
Besides being out of character for LBJ, there are three important points that haven't been touched on. One is that this involves using the nation's intelligence services to gather information on a political opponent which, while understandable in this case, is opening a can of worms that is liable to damage both parties severely; after all, the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations kept illicit tabs on their political rivals just as much as Nixon did (COINTELPRO), and now that is all liable to come into the open as certain Senators begin to ask questions or try to even the score. Second is that there was no smoking gun when it came to the Chennault Affair for a long time, not until four or five years ago I want to say, that actually tied Nixon the man to the sabotage effort; at best it could have been said that members of the Nixon campaign were in talks with Chennault, leaving Nixon with plausible deniability. Three, people are inevitably going to ask why Humphrey sat on this information for six years and only choose to release it now given what it implies.
Truthfully, I think it actually would muck things up for the Democratic Party rather than serve as an actual winning issue.

I totally get where you're coming from with that. I'm not saying there wouldn't be diplomatic blowback, because of course there would be. But I think it would be similar to when it was revealed back in 2013 that the NSA was spying on world leaders, including some of our top allies like Germany. The reaction was mostly "Yeah, we know." I don't think anyone would dare boycott the US over that, or raise too much noise about it unless they were already anti-American since US allies tend to "grin and bear it" to an extent.
The Johnson Administration felt differently, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to give any specific examples.
I definitely appreciate the response, and thanks for the perspective! I'll definitely be sure to include something extra about building back trust with allies, which works well with a pro-detente Carter. This TL is focused on a more open and honest government, as Carter intended IOTL. Which, knowing the president Carter was, and the person he is, it'll be earnest, and well-intentioned, if not necessarily well-executed.
I'll be watching this with interest, don't you worry. I'll admit that I have something of a knee jerk reaction towards tales that I feel are swung too far in one direction, my advice being aimed towards orienting the story closer to the midline, from a realism standpoint at least. Regardless, I'm curious what kind of Carter you have in mind here given the earlier POD's that have yet to be divulged.
 
Yeah, ITTL, there is an endless term of Democrats, at least for the 1974 midterms, minor 1975 elections, and the 1976 general. Everything else will be (hopefully) more balanced.
Just another minor note, but I will heartily agree that the '74 Midterm elections would have been a wash if Nixon were still the sitting President. I once did a calculation using the last Congressional Poll they had done with Nixon still being a factor, and the Republicans in the House would have been pushed down to (~95) seats or so, and I believe the Republicans in the Senate would be down to (~32) or (~31) seats; New York remained a question mark.
 
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