AHC: Hart vs Reagan in 1984

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Amadeus, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Today, Gary Hart is mostly remembered for the infamous Donna Rice affair that torpedoed his 1988 Presidential candidacy. But he previously ran in 1984, and came close to defeating Walter Mondale for the Democratic nomination. What if Hart had been nominated instead? Would the result have been any different from OTL?
     
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  2. Electric Monk Does Your Believing For You

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    Assuming a pretty massive swing Hart is only up to like ~171 electoral votes if everything goes right (the affairs are kept under wraps because Reagan knows he has it in the bag?), but Hart wouldn't even carry his home state. Alas his chance was probably back in his upbringing, all his weird women hang-ups. The five next closest states to win after the low-hanging fruit of a 7 point swing gets him to 171 are California, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and Vermont…

    Without Mondale getting thrashed and with at least a decent showing by the Atari Democrats, perhaps the Democratic Party winds up with a better candidate in 1988 or 1992?
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
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  3. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

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    A scenario where Hart fails in '84 and Clinton in '88 means we get Cuomo or at least someone else less awful than Clinton in '92 as the dem guy. Also weaker DLC types too.
     
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  4. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    I think he would do better than Mondale, but Hart would still lose decisively. Yet if he loses 53%-46%, instead of 59%-40.6%, that puts the Dems in a better position in 1988. And if Hart is seen as doing his possible best in a Republican year, then like Dewey in 1948 (who lost by a similar margin to FDR in '44) he might be given a second chance. But IMO Hart's scandals and political ineptitude would still prevent him from becoming President.
     
  5. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Hart vs Reagan.png

    Here, I've swung 4% from Reagan to the Democrats in the electoral college. In addition to Minnesota Hart wins Iowa, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maryland. I've also added New York. Although technically speaking Hart would have lost the state even with a 4% swing, he would lose by only .01%. It stands to reason that in if Hart can do well enough to win Iowa in this scenario, he should also be able to win NY albeit narrowly. So Hart gets 109 electoral votes to Reagan's 429. Still a landslide defeat, but not as bad as OTL.
     
  6. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    And Hart may change the national conversation.

    So that we’re really focusing on, okay, what will replace the lost manufacturing jobs!
     
  7. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Hart has talked about how he recognized that big tech and the Silicon Valley would dominate the economy at the expense of manufacturing and the rust belt. I'm not sure how much of this is true and how much of this is a washed up politician trying to exaggerate his historical importance. But if Hart were to appeal to working class voters and hit Reagan on the economy, he would do much better than Mondale.

    How do you think this would effect 1988?
     
  8. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    I agree that people tend to exaggerate the accuracy of their predictions, and their fans most certainly do this! :p

    Okay, as far as affecting future elections,

    I know Paul Tsongas got traction in ‘92 discussing what I kind of remember the news media describing as European-style and even more specifically German-style industrial policy (which I think of as merely guessing right, wish I understood it better),

    most probably this conversation shifts forward to ‘88.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2019
  9. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    It depends on who the nominee is that year. Maybe it would be Hart again, but I find that unlikely. Dukakis is probably the nominee and he probably loses to Bush. But maybe he'd take a page out of Hart's playbook and emphasize the economy - not just "competence." So he could end up doing a bit better in the election.

    In the long term Democrats would be in a better position, but not that much better. Unless butterflies lead to someone other than Dukakis (or Hart) winning the nomination in 1988.
     
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  10. dw93 Can't Afford to be a Donor

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    Hart still loses but not as badly as Mondale (sad Mondale did as badly as he did because I think he'd have been a good President). Reagan was just not beatable that year. With that said, if Hart has a respectable showing, 1984 might be seen as a trial run for 1988 and he could, if his affairs stay hush, get the nomination in 1988. If he wins, you basically get Bill Clinton's Presidency four years earlier, if not, I think a more populist candidate gets the nod in 1992 and the Democrats are more progressive beyond the 1990s.
     
  11. Maeglin Lómion

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    No Mondale as nominee in 1984 also has the effect of keeping the old school New Deal wing of the Democratic Party as a going concern.
     
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  12. dw93 Can't Afford to be a Donor

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    The only way I see that happening is if Hart gets nominated in 84 and loses AND he either gets nominated again in 1988 or someone like Clinton or Gore does and they lose to Bush. In that case a New Deal liberal would get nominated in 1992 and would most likely be President.
     
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  13. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    If Bush still hires Atwater, then he'd tear Hart to pieces. That's even if Hart wins the nomination, which is difficult given his many shortcomings both as a politician and as a human being. But in the event that Hart loses in both 1984 and 1988, it's more likely that Jerry Brown or Paul Tsongas does better in 1992.
     
  14. dw93 Can't Afford to be a Donor

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    Butterflies could make Cuomo run in 1992.
     
  15. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    I'm not so sure, here is a guy who twice passed up the Presidency for sketchy reasons. In 1987 he claimed that his bad back prevented him from running, and in 1991 he blamed the Republican NY legislature for dragging their feet on the budget process. Both instances seem like excuses to me. According to those who knew him (including his son Chris Cuomo), Mario Cuomo never really wanted to be President and didn't consider himself worthy of the office. Cuomo was a brilliant man, but he just wasn't interested in being a national figure. IMO if he had really wanted to be President then Cuomo would've run four years after giving his famous 1984 convention speech, as Obama had done in 2008 after blowing everyone away in 2004.
     
  16. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Clinton embracing the ‘new’ economy and GDP growth above all, but New Dealers have always done this, they just haven’t said that GDP is the only thing of value.

    I’d rather find of ways of going diagonal, for example, what we almost got in Dec. 2016, that if a person makes under $47,000, they’re eligible for overtime. Would really encourage corporations to spread out available jobs.

    Yes, some people people currently working 60 hours a week on salary won’t be allowed by their employer to work overtime, and thus will effectively get a pay cut, and that’s the hard part.

    But look at the jobs engine . . .

    For every two people working 60 hours a week, that’s three jobs. For every three people working 53-and-a-third hours, that’s actually four jobs, etc.

    If we can do this in 1989, for example, we might look for and find other smart ways to tame corporations.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2019
  17. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

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    Wasn't going to happen. Baby boomers and Gen Xers were in the ascendency and both were the biggest believers in "The american dream" and "MUH WORK ETHIC".
     
  18. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    The 1980s was a very interesting period in that the US economy was fundamentally changing - and in ways that would both help and hurt everyday people. The economy expanded and technology became an increasingly important factor (one that would cause the 1990s boom), but at the same time manufacturing jobs faded away and the wealth gap began to increase. IMO, in order to win in 1988 the Democrats would need to emphasize their support for what was good about the Reagan economy, while promising to clean up what was bad and make things better for everyday people. That's why Dukakis should have been a strong candidate in 1988: he oversaw the "Massachusetts Miracle" without creating the social divisions that Reagan did. But of course we know how that worked out...

    If a stronger Democratic candidate could articulate this kind of economic message, then the Dems stand a much better chance in 1988.
     
  19. GeographyDude Well-Known Member

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    Dukakis was a prickly candidate who took criticism personally. And he got burned on the death penalty issue.

    In addition, Democrats in Congress should have had: Hey, these are our top three issues right now which will help to rebuild the middle class, as soon as we get the next Democratic president.
     
  20. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    At the end of the day Dukakis had no idea how to run a national campaign. He basically just sat on his hands at Beacon Hill while Bush tore him apart for months on end. And the few times he did show his face involved riding around in a tank like a Looney Tunes character and blowing the debates.