An Age of Science - America in the Feynman Era

Actually... Not really. Certainly a few details would change, but nothing too major, since OTL could already be described as a sort of a Silicon Valley wank. What will happen, however, is that Feynman will be credited for it when, frankly, he really didn't have that much influence.

Ahhhhh. I see your plan!

Or I think I do. ^_^

Ahhhhh. I see your plan!

Or I think I do. ^_^


Hum... I curious to know what you think my plan is. I bet it's quite less ingenious than whatever you have thought of.

I'm going to make a prediction. Nixon still wins in 68, but lose California and maybe the popular vote and Feynman becomes one of the main targets of his paranoia.

BTW, I fully encourage everyone to do these sort of predictions. It's election season, after all, time to get betting! (and besides, people discussing these things will help me see if the ideas I do have are all reasonable)
Hum... I curious to know what you think my plan is. I bet it's quite less ingenious than whatever you have thought of.

I am guessing setting Feynman up for a presidential run in the 70s or 80s where being a father of Silicon Valley would lend some economic cred after a recession.

Chapter 9: the Great Old Race
9. the Grand Old Race

In the Republican field, Richard Nixon was the front-runner, promoting a ‘peace with honour’ stance towards Vietnam and law and order for the country ravaged by civil strife. Like his Democrat counterpart, however, he would face challenges from within as not all believed Nixon was as capable a leader for the Party as he would like to paint himself as.

His first opponent was Governor George Romney of Michigan. The first Mormon to press a credible claim to the Presidency, he was at first very popular among voters, but as time passed and as speeches went, full of gaffes mostly, that perception started to weaken, reaching its lowest after a ill-fated comment about having been brainwashed in Vietnam towards supporting the war – as a justification for his change of heart now that he was the Republican candidate for peace. Two weeks before the New Hampshire primary, with internal polls showing that a defeat was imminent, and hearing that his own supporters were already searching for a replacement to his sinking ship, Romney withdrew from the race.

From his ashes, to lead the liberal Republicans against what they saw was the doom of repeating Goldwater’s mistakes, came Nelson Rockefeller, who hitherto had supported the candidacy of Romney. He didn’t immediately declare his presidential nomination interest; he only hinted he was open to be drafted to the position. Answering the call, Anti-war Republicans began a write-in campaign that gave him second place with 11% of the votes in the New Hampshire primary. With that, he became overnight the leader of the Stop Nixon movement within the Republican Party.

Despite his popularity, perhaps due to his reluctance to actually campaign openly, Rockefeller had trouble picking up steam through the primaries, defeating Nixon at the Massachusetts and California primaries alone, while achieving little more than half of his opponent’s votes. Despite this, he had hopes that, come the Convention, he could sway enough of the delegates who didn’t care that much for Nixon to join him out of spite, regardless of, ideologically, being closer to Nixon than himself. It seemed Nixon had collected a few of those throughout his career; one could say it is a curse of being a career politician, but Nixon seemed particularly good at collecting them.

At the Convention, Nixon met great support from the Southern States, who were strictly conservative, while Rockefeller managed to gain many votes that were meant generally against Nixon; even so, his attempt at gaining the Convention over failed. After the first ballot, Nixon had 746 votes against 405 going for Rockefeller, with the rest scattered among lowlier candidates, mostly favourite sons accomplishing the support of their delegation. After this, the Rockefeller campaign collapsed and Nixon would win the nomination with no further delay.

For his running mate, he chose Spiro T. Agnew, Governor of Maryland, for his moderate reputation, and for his liberal reputation towards civil rights that might give him points with the African American community, not to mention the party wing that had been defeated with Rockefeller, but that now needed to be courted to make sure they did vote for Nixon, even if begrudgingly.

Despite this, Nixon’s aim for this election was clear – he had won the nomination thanks to the South, the same South that was now ever further from the Democratic Solid South, having been outraged at the defence by President Johnson of the civil rights movement. He would speak of states’ rights and of law and order, words that were understood for what they meant – an opposition to the counterculture and to the disorderly conduct of some communities.

And, of course, it was from the South that came the movement that would help Nixon to walk more comfortably throughout the election. For it seemed not all Democrats were as fine with the new position on Civil Rights as the President and the new candidate would have liked them to be.
I am guessing setting Feynman up for a presidential run in the 70s or 80s where being a father of Silicon Valley would lend some economic cred after a recession.


Yeah, some of the idea here (and in the TL in general) is show that Feynman doesn't so much do great things that lead him to success, but rather that great things happen while he's around and, through correlating it to his own work (I mean, anyone would assume the Sillicon Valley Boom under a physicist governor would be due to his influence, I can even imagine discussions in an over whether Sillicon Valley would or wouldn't develop without Feynman's political career, with common knwoledge of Feynman being responsible for it standing against historical but obscure proof that, regardless of Feynman, the rise of Sillicon Valley was happening), to show the idea that this is not so much just a movement of one man, but a series of social developments allowing all of this to happen.
Chapter 10: the South rises
10. the South rises

Segregation had been the way of life in the South since… well, since slavery had been abolished, in fact. As the Democratic Redeemer governments took power back in the South as federal occupation loosened after the Civil War, they began an exhaustive campaign of revoking the privileges that had been attributed to the freed blacks and the restoration of their political hegemony – helped by the Corrupt Bargain of 1876 in which the national Democratic Party traded the rights to the Presidency in exchange for the removal of federal forces from the South.

Between 1890 and 1910, Southern states would go on to pass several questionable amendments to their constitutions that disenfranchised the African American citizens in their states, taking back the political power that Emancipation had provided them. Literacy requirements were put forward that made it almost impossible for one to pass as a voter, while grandfather clauses exempted the white citizens of having to go through them, targeting the former slaves and their descendants alone.

After that, and helped by the Woodrow Wilson administration in the 1910’s, which enforced segregation of the workplace on the federal level, the African Americans found themselves holding their own separate (and poorer in quality) schools, libraries, houses and workplaces, which prevented them from rising in life as easily as a white citizen.

And for the next fifty years, that had been the way of life of the South. Slavery was no longer in place, but an impoverished, politically-null and mistreated class continued to exist, working for the descendants of the plantation owners, often enough in the same lands they ancestors had worked in the antebellum period. Everything had changed so that everything could stay the same.

After World War II, however, during which many African Americans had fought and died in service of their country, many felt, upon returning home, that, having given their lives for their country, it was unjust that that country still treated them as second-class citizens. From that injustice-damning spirit, the Civil Rights movement would be born, and begin their campaign to eradicate segregation once and for all in all of these United States.

It was a bloody campaign, with tolls from many of the Civil Rights leaders, most prominently Martin Luther King, whose death brought the nation to the brink of civil warfare. And yet, it seemed their struggle was beginning to pay off as ever more Americans were brought to their cause and ever more political leaders took up their name and passed legislation in their favour.

Surprisingly enough, it was the Democratic Party, the party of the secessionists, the party of the Redeemers, the party of Wilson, now led by Lyndon B Johnson, who had been a champion of civil rights and had passed through Congress many initiatives that had given the African American communities space to flourish for the first time in decades. He managed to turn the motto of the Democratic Party from alliance with the segregationists to alliance with the African Americans.

Of course, as with all changes, not all were thrilled to hear about that. In particular, the Southern Democrats, the proud sons of the Redeemers, were not too happy to see their Party endorse the people they had fought hard to oppress all throughout their political careers, and they would not stand to see all they had worked for forfeited without a struggle.

Just as they ancestors had risen in 1861, they would rise again… but this time, in the ballot.

At least, that was the intention of former Governor and now First Gentlemen of Alabama, George Wallace, a leader within the Southern Democrats and who had been a prolific activist in that camp, having said in his infamous inaugural address in 1963: “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” and, in that same year, having led a symbolic blocking of the University of Alabama, keeping black students from entering the newly-integrated university.

Now, he was promoting himself as a Presidential candidate by the American Independent Party, bent on keeping segregation in the South. His campaign was based on law and order, the increase of social programs, upholding states’ rights as to segregation of their institutions and on disentangling the US from foreign commitments. More than to appeal to the Southern rural whites and to the Northern union workers to whom he had great relationships and whom he knew he could use as a weapon against Humphrey.

He was very aware that full-blown victory was impossible; in any case, it wasn’t the goal either. His plan was to get enough States to make the Electoral College fail to award a majority to any of the two main candidates and, in the position of third potency, have client’s choice as power broker between the two and, from that position, gain negotiation rights for the South.

Storm Thurmond, now Senator and then-governor of South Carolina, had attempted such a feat in 1948, against President Truman, running at the behest of the States’ Rights Democratic Party, better known as Dixiecrats, who had carried four Southern States but nonetheless had failed to curb Truman’s surprising victory. In 1964, he had left the Democratic Party to work on Goldwater’s campaign and now he supported Nixon. George Wallace now took his place and planned to do more damage than he had been able to, twenty years before.

For running mate, there were many choices that Wallace enjoyed – he considered diverse characters from actor John Wayne, who refused to work on Nixon’s campaign instead to J Edgar Hoover, who did not respond to the appeal and even KFC founder ‘Colonel’ Sanders. Other candidates were Secretary of Agriculture Ezra Taft Benson and General Curtis LeMay, who actually expressed interest in the venture. For a time, his campaign promoted Happy Chandler, former Governor and Senator from Kentucky, but also Baseball Commissioner, but his supporters put down the idea.

In the end, only General LeMay remained, and he was made the official running mate. The idea was to reduce the perception of extremism in the ticket, by putting in a mostly apolitical and respected officer. The enthusiasm LeMay showed for the particular subject of nuclear weapons, especially their use to win the war on Vietnam, however, threw any of such hopes out of the window quickly.

The campaign was not limited to the South; they went all out nationally, doing events and promoting themselves throughout the country; in California, many of the former supporters of Reagan now looked at Wallace as a hope for a truly conservative regime, while in New York City’s own Madison Square Garden 20,000 protestors, both against and in favour of the candidate, squared off while 1,000 policemen attempted timidly to keep the order.

With the nation rising in tensions between the anti-war protests, the civil rights protestors distraught by the murder of Martin Luther King and the Southern reactionaries promoting their return to the past, the election to come would be one of the most violent the country would know.
I know I'm quite late, sorry about that! I just spent a lovely week with a friend on a mountain cabin, and while I did have sparse Internet access, I'll admit posting here was the least of my concerns at the time, hope you can understand that.

I'm also going out of town this weekend, but I'm hoping to be back on Sunday to post the next chapter.

Anyway, just saying everything in this last chapter has been taken literally out of OTL. 1968 was a mess
Chapter 11: the bloody campaign of 1968
the bloody campaign of 1968

As the campaign began earnestly, after the August conventions, Humphrey had suffered much more than Nixon, after the poor publicity the Chicago convention and the utter division of the Party had afforded him. The Democratic Party was falling into pieces, divided between its segregationist wing, already detached, its anti-war, counter-culture wing that was reviled by most of the establishment, and then the Humphrey Democrats, bent on continuing the war but friendly towards social programs and civil rights nonetheless.

Humphrey stuck to his supporters in the labour unions, promoting his work in the Great Society programs of President Johnson, while nevertheless distancing himself from his administration and the ill will felt towards it. The efforts of Wallace to take those same workers, however, were being felt, with Wallace peaking at 21% in the polls, but falling after the LeMay fiasco as his running mate began speaking of using nuclear weapons in Vietnam. With the support of labour unions, struggling to bring members back from the Wallace fold, he began to rise again, and after having lost almost half the union workers to Wallace, Humphrey came back from the brink of disaster in time for the election.

In California, Humbert Humphrey was well-received and campaigned alongside Governor Feynman, who expressed his support and admiration for the work he had conducted throughout his career. Running against a former Senator of California, many within the campaign feared the State might support their favourite son; Feynman’s support helped them promote the image of Humphrey as not so distant from the people of California as his rivals might suggest.

Humphrey, however, and his supporters in the administration, had plans to help his campaign after the issues regarding the Vietnam War and the threat the liberals might sit out the election or vote for Nixon, for the sake of ending the ever-less popular war. Since May 10, peace negotiations had been undergoing in Paris between the United States and North Vietnam; the negotiations went slowly, as each party understood that total victory was not attainable but couldn’t agree on an honourable peace either. To promote the peace talks and to help the odds of his Vice-President and preferred candidate succeeding him, however, on October 31 President Johnson announced a complete halt of all bombing in North Vietnam, indicating that peace was just around the corner. This move, dubbed the Halloween Peace, just six days before the election, was meant to keep any opponents from reversing the situation and giving Humphrey a clear path to victory.

What they didn’t count was that Nixon wasn’t indisposed to stooping down to any levels.

With the help of his campaign aides and allies, many of them with double agents within the White House who were aware of the plans for the Halloween Peace, they began working towards thwarting the settlement, by means that were less than legal, establishing communications with South Vietnamese leaders to convince them not to take part in the negotiations, which they felt compelled to do, believing Nixon would win the election and catering towards his good-will towards them.

The South Vietnamese government withdrew from the negotiations and all hopes for peace were shattered. Having learned of the interference by NSA wiretapping of Vietnamese communications, the President had his hands tied, not wanting to divulge the nature of his modes of information but wanting to blow the whistle on the illegal and immoral proceedings he believed Nixon had employed.

It was in that mood and in those circumstances that the nation went to vote on November 5, 1968, after a campaign bereft with protest, internal struggle, hatred, intrigue and all kinds of fury, as three very different men presented themselves to be the next President of the United States of America.
A bit late again, but not as bad as last time.

And, again, to simply demonstate how crazy the 1968 election was, the only thing not OTL here is Feynman receiving and campaigning for Humphrey in his role as Governor of California. Literally everything else happened.
What a mess!!! The only real question is if butterflies might result in a different president--or at a minimum, a few different states. It'll be interesting if there is no majority. (I've been reading up on that, since I have two timelines approaching election time, 104 years and a few months apart. (1876 and 1980)
Chapter 12: the election night
the election night

Both Humphrey and Nixon had spent the last days of the campaign in Los Angeles, broadcasting from different television channels, ABC and NBC respectively, preparing for the final go that would decide the fate of the entire campaign.

As the polls closed and the votes were counted, Humbert Humphrey and his campaign were stationed in a Los Angeles hotel, confident that they would be giving their victory speech later on. Governor Feynman stood as a guest of honour, happily chatting with the man he had campaigned for during the last few months. He too was confident in the victory of his candidate, trusting the American people would see in him what he saw as a leader.

As the night went on, the votes were being counted and the states slowly began stating which candidate had won their races, even before the final tally was accomplished.

Nixon began to claim a greater share of the popular vote, which did not preoccupy Humphrey. Among the first states to announce their victor was Mississippi, which seemed to be heading towards Wallace, which was less than unexpected, considering the strength his segregationist message had there. Alabama followed behind their native son as well. On the national swing, all that could be said is that it would be a close call.

Kansas and Vermont went for Nixon, while signs from the border states pointed out that Wallace might not be as strong as many would have expected, giving hope for Humphrey to still cling to victory. Illinois, which was deemed crucial enough to have the disastrous Democratic Convention in Chicago, was too close to call between the three candidates.

The first victory that showed itself that night for Humphrey was the State of West Virginia, while Kentucky was close to finishing their counting and presenting a victory for Nixon, with a plurality not far beyond Humphrey’s numbers. In Tennessee, projections pointed to Nixon as well, confirming the suspicion the Upper South was not in the Wallace boat, as some had expected.

Not long after Florida began to show signs of going to fall to Nixon, when, throughout the campaign, it had been impeccably tied between the three candidates to the pointe commentators had mostly refrained from predicting the victor of the Sunshine State. The victory was quite close, regardless. In Georgia, Wallace was beginning the counting leading over his opponents.

In Indiana, Nixon seemed to be leading well, while continuing to rise in the popular vote; despite this, no candidate yet was close enough to call a victory, with Humphrey trailing closely behind and Wallace being not too far back, helped by the early closing times of the Southern states where he had his base. In fact, it seemed Wallace had performed best in the suburbs of American cities, rather than in either the cities themselves, where the black vote crushed him, or in the countryside, more leaning towards their traditional choices.

When the Pennsylvania predictions started, Humphrey began to lead in the state, and the same was true in Maine, the home state of his running mate and in Connecticut as well, while Nixon led in Ohio and in New Hampshire. Soon enough, victory in Connecticut was ensure for Humphrey, a result verified quickly due to the voting machines that the State was equipped with. In New Jersey, the vote was almost tied between Humphrey and Nixon, with the latter only winning by a slim margin so far.

Although Nixon seemed to be winning, Humphrey’s dominance in the large states could mean a deadlocked election, and so far, it seemed that prediction was coming true as the results poured in through the television coverage of the voting counts.

The District of Columbia was quickly won by Humphrey, while it seemed the Texas Democrats had managed to unite under the banner and were leading on the polls, possibly bringing the State to Humphrey. In Massachusetts, the projections pointed towards a safe Democrat victory as well, with Humphrey gaining a great amount of the labour vote. With this, Humphrey finally rose to second place in the electoral vote, no longer falling behind Wallace, as the states favouring him began to close their polls. Nixon, however, was still ahead, in what many were beginning to suspect would be a lead difficult to remove for the Democrats. But nobody was close to a victory.

As time went by, it seemed Humphrey was closing in on Nixon’s advantage over the popular vote. Michigan, meanwhile, was projected to go to Humphrey as well, a sizeable advantage to the candidate. In the Carolinas, the three candidates were very close in vote for a winner to be determined quickly. In Missouri, Humphrey had a substantial lead.

An effect was beginning to be noticed that the African American vote, while higher than ever before, due to changes in the South, where the once-oppressed blacks now registered in large numbers, in the Midwest and industrial states many were staying home, rather than vote, a vote that had been deemed crucial for Humphrey to win there.

In Maryland, perhaps due to the influence of his local running mate Agnew, Nixon was on front, while in Maine, the home state of Edmund Muskie, the same was true for Humphrey. On the popular vote, he was still leading, although treading very closely to Humphrey. Wallace, on the other hand, sat stably at his 20% popular vote, at least for the time being. Not long after, he would go to win Louisiana as well, not a surprise either, as the state had long favoured him.

In Minnesota, Humphrey’s home state, he was the favourite from the very start of the counting, and the same was true from Rhode Island. He was also taking the lead in Illinois and Ohio, although it was too soon to ensure that Nixon might not wing those back before the end of the night. In Virginia, Nixon was expected to be the leader.

Pennsylvania was still too close to tell, while New York’s count was still too low to be anything meaningful. In Colorado and Arizona, however, Nixon seemed to have won, helping him rise more in the race.

Arkansas was another victory for Wallace, while Nixon was winning over North Carolina, although it was yet too soon to speak with any degree of certainty, while Wisconsin so far was nearly tied between the two main party contenders.

In Iowa and Nebraska, Nixon was projected as a winner soon after, but, as the city votes from the great metropolis of the Northeast, heavily supporting Humphrey, were counted, the Democrat took the lead of the popular vote, surpassing Nixon, if by a small margin, for the first time in the night. Wallace’s share of the pie kept decreasing, however. Among the electoral votes of predicted victories, Nixon still led by twenty points, but still with less than half the necessary votes for a true victory. In Ohio, Nixon had taken a lead over the Democrat, however, and in Idaho it was believed victory would be Nixon’s.

Soon after would come news that it seemed North Dakota had voted for Nixon as well, and the same was true from her southernly sister, even if by a lesser margin. By the time the voting polls had all closed in the continental US, news came that in New Mexico the score was too close to tell, while in Illinois Humphrey remained in the lead. In Utah, Nixon held a substantial lead, as would be expected. He also seemed meant to win both Carolinas as well.

Missouri remained too close to call for a while, with Humphrey’s lead over Nixon being very marginal in the state, as it was in Illinois and Pennsylvania, while the opposite being true in New Jersey. In Washington, Humphrey would be the winner, and the same was true for New York, who went against the candidate from their State to support the Democrat Humphrey.

Although Humphrey was winning so far in Illinois, it was known that this wouldn’t last; the Chicago area, very urbanised, was always strongly liberal, but as the votes were counted from north to south, the more rural and conservative areas of the State would take over and vote Republican; the small margin which the Democrat vote had achieved so far would most likely prove insufficient to stand against the wave of Nixon votes coming in. Meanwhile, Nixon was beginning to slowly recover the popular vote, stalking closely the so-far Humphrey lead. Nixon still led in the Electoral College, however, by 25 votes, but yet far from the needed for a true victory. The ten states still to be decided would be crucial.

In California, as the count began to be broadcasted, showed a very close race between Nixon and Humphrey, with the latter winning so far with a margin of 10,000 votes, less than 1% of the total of counted votes. Wallace himself held 7% of the vote in the State. California joined the ranks of undecided states as the night carried on and suspense rose as to who would greet dawn as the President-Elect.

As Nixon returned to the lead in the popular vote, even if by a very slim margin, the question of who would win California, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois, all of them large states who, together, accounted for 121 electoral votes, a sizeable portion of the Electoral College. States like Missouri and Texas also remained with very thin margins, brewing concerns for all involved in forecasting the election. Hawaii was projected to go Democratic, however, giving one more State to Humphrey. Wisconsin, on the other hand, would go to Nixon.

Seeing as the speed of the counting went, it was becoming ever clearer that the nation would have to wait for the Californian vote to be tallied before any winner could be declared; Humphrey had a small lead, but it was one that could shift at any moment, and neither candidate was still close of reaching the goal of 270 votes necessary to win an election in the Electoral College.

In fact, things were seeming to stall as the night got long and many wanted to rest; some computer problems in Dallas had delayed the counting of the votes and, until the vast Californian votes were accounted for, there would be no certainties of anything. The various candidates spoke, all of them satisfied with what they perceived were the trends favouring them, and proceeded to announce they’d wait until the morning to hear the announcement of the elective results.

And so, a nation went to sleep, restless.
I apologize for the delay, but my schedules have been driving me crazy.

In any case, here we are, with nothing decided yet. If this chapter seems confusing and frantic, then awesome, I managed to capture the spirit of an election night!
You captured the chaos nicely. This chapter's a bit of inspiration for me, since I'm working on the Carter-Reagan election in my timeline, and there's going to be some unique twists.
Nicely done!
You captured the chaos nicely. This chapter's a bit of inspiration for me, since I'm working on the Carter-Reagan election in my timeline, and there's going to be some unique twists.
Nicely done!

If I may advise something is listening through a broadcast of an election night back then. It helps put up the chaos by the sheer disorder by which information comes, as States are called for, uncalled for, discussed and predicted through the night, coming from odd parts of the country. It takes a few hours, sure, but it really is something to watch.
If I may advise something is listening through a broadcast of an election night back then. It helps put up the chaos by the sheer disorder by which information comes, as States are called for, uncalled for, discussed and predicted through the night, coming from odd parts of the country. It takes a few hours, sure, but it really is something to watch.
Thanks. The one I'm redoing was a landslide in the original, and has a less certain outcome in this one (Carter-Mondale vs Reagan-Kemp)
Chapter 13: the Results Come in
the Results Come in

The next morning, Governor Feynman had, shortly after waking up, been informed of the results of the election in his State and in the nation in general. All incumbent representatives in California had been re-elected, and the only vacant position had been refilled with a member of the same party. Of their delegation of 38, it remained 21 Democrats to 17 Republicans. In fact, the changes in the House of Representatives hadn’t been tremendous in the country as a whole, with Republicans winning five seats, falling short of replacing the Democratic majority.

Regarding the Senate, it seemed Alan Cranston had stood victorious over Max Rafferty. That was good for Feynman, whose relationship with the former Superintendent who he had campaigned against in 1966 were less than good. Feynman had happily endorsed Cranston during his campaign, finding in him many reflections of himself, especially regarding humanism and nuclear weapons. Feynman would congratulate him shortly afterwards. Control over the two houses was maintained.

And apparently, Californian voters had ended up voting for Humphrey, although in less than en masse. Humphrey got 3,467,664 votes versus 3,244,318 for Nixon, with a difference of little more than 3 percent, but that nevertheless had delivered its 40 electoral votes to him. That was good; the campaign had been harsh but it was nice to know it had had success. Knowing that Wallace had only obtained less than 7% of the votes was good to know as well.

He then enquired about some of the other states that had been unresolved that night – Texas and Pennsylvania had come to the Democratic side, by a similarly small margin, while Illinois and Ohio had done the same, but for Nixon. Remembering from last night, and tallying the numbers, that gave 231 votes to Humphrey, 262 to Nixon and kept Wallace at 45. After some quick maths, he came to a terrible realisation.

It was so that the nation woke up to find that, for the first time in more than a century, after an election they had no President-elect to speak of. Nixon had missed the needed 270 electoral votes to swing across the moat of victory and, as George Wallace and his allies had hoped, they had managed to prevent any of their rivals from attaining victory… or at least forcing them to consult them to achieve it.

Scandal spread throughout the Republic and the world as the Presidency of the United States of America, perhaps the most powerful position in the West, had its future in the hand of George Wallace of Alabama and his segregationist allies. The media had a field day.

Protests were held by African Americans and liberals, outraged at the process that allowed for a small minority to keep the proper transfer of power from going through and used political manoeuvres to force concessions out of the majority, and all for the sake of keeping their white supremacy in place against the current political tides promoting equality and integration.

The election margin had been quite tight, with Nixon only surpassing Humbert by a very tiny margin of 66,000 voters, less than 0.1% and giving them a virtual tie that could have been shifted with ease in virtue of recounting, besides being the closest margin in any American Presidential Election in History.

Through the morning, the candidates would speak to comment on the situation. After all, they were in the middle of the greatest constitutional crisis America had experienced since the Civil War. Unless Wallace planned to secede with the South, he had managed to create the single greatest political bundle since 1860.

Humphrey asked for calm and for the following of the correct proceeding – the Electoral College would vote and, in the likely case that they would not award anyone the 270 votes, the House ought to vote as demanded in the Constitution. Although he didn’t say this, it had been calculated so far that, with 25 states with Democratic-majority delegations outside the Wallace-won states, and five further counting those, he had good chances of being voted the new President. It was less than ideal, but it got the job done nonetheless.

Nixon too spoke of following procedure and allowing the election to fall to the hands of Congress – but he pointed out that it was the Congress delegations’ duties, from each state, to uphold the popular will expressed in the election. Having carried 31 states during the election, Nixon meant they had a duty to elect him, regardless of their own party loyalty.

Only Wallace could actually speak of preventing the election from going to Congress; having won five states with 45 electoral votes, he was aware he wouldn’t be elected President by either the Electoral College or the House, nor had that ever been his goal. Instead, he spoke of promoting stability and, called on each candidate to come speak to him about terms which, should they promise to guide their Presidencies by, he would be more than happy to ask his pledged electors to shift their votes to an endorsed candidate, thereby granting them victory.

Nobody else liked that hypothesis; everyone knew what the terms would be – stop all federal efforts towards ending segregation and cut the civil rights movement in the bud. Many were outraged at the prospect and promised that, should any of the candidates cut such a bargain, hell would be made.

Elections were meant to provide the peaceful transition of power the US had become great for. They were supposed to give a new leadership that, if not consensual, at least had a clear mandate to administer the nation for the next four years. In late 1968, however, there was no such thing, as the two main candidates had come to a negligible margin of one another, giving none of them a clear mandate on the popular vote, and neither had accomplished any victory on the electoral vote either, thanks to the Wallace movement that now more and more Americans despised. More than a few assassination attempts were thwarted.

It seemed the year of 1968, which so far had been marked with tragedy, turmoil and fury, had decided that, before it was extinguished with a brand-new replacement that many hoped brought along calm and normalcy, it would be going out with a bang.
Vote to Congress--wow!
Letting Wallace play kingmaker would be very bad; whichever candidate accepted would be so reviled that he wouldn't be a 2 term president, IMVHO, unless he pulled out a really amazing term.
Note that the electors might not vote for the ones they are pledged to--though I suspect that any Wallace ones that didn't would end up very dead, very soon.
I had one thought for Humphrey and Nixon. They could both, in the interests of marginalizing Wallace, pledge not to change their positions to accomodate his narrow minded segregationism. That would show statemanship, and probably give whichever one of them won a better chance of being able to govern.