I really hope Humphrey wins. If I remember right, he was more supportive of the space program, so we might see more Apollo missions, and perhaps even something along the lines of Ocean of Storms. We might even see a manned Mars mission by the 90s!
The Electoral College would meet on the Monday following the second Wednesday of December; this meant December 16, giving the people around five weeks to protest and fight over the results, and for the candidates to actually come to an arrangement that might prevent violence from escalating ever further, as the polls showed that no arrangement made by Congress actually satisfied a majority of citizens; Humphrey winning upset both Republicans and Southerners, Nixon winning upset both Democrats and Southerners; either winning by support of Wallace’s electors upset both Republicans and Democrats and any sort of coalition among the great two contenders just upset everyone.
As might have been expected, the first team to actually move to try something out was Nixon’s. A fine negotiator with no problem in dirtying his hands and with a vast network of resources to help him entrench in any and all positions (with extensions as far as Vietnam that had helped him take down Johnson’s attempt at an October surprise), Nixon was the first to actually approach Wallace to hear his terms and try to work something out.
Nixon saw himself as the logical candidate for such a coalition; he was the most central of the three candidates, with Humbert Humphrey to his left and George Wallace to his right; if any covenant was to be made, he was the one to make it. And, after all, he had come first in both the popular vote and the electoral vote; that had to count for something.
For Nixon, segregation was, more than an issue, a hassle. He had grander plans for the country and for his administration and, while the Wallace campaign had been useful in weakening Humphrey, it was becoming problematic that he had put him in such a vulnerable position.
Nixon feared the terms that Wallace presented would only serve to brew trouble – the question here would not be if segregation as an issue were resolved by one side or another; there was only way for segregation to be resolved, and that was by extinguishing it. The fire had been burning for too long and now wouldn’t be extinguished; if segregation remained in the South, it would be a thorn dividing the nation and his electorate for the next election and every election afterwards.
Perhaps with was due to that the negotiations with Wallace never led anywhere; while Nixon was willing to distribute some seats in the administration to the South, out of good-will and hoping to actually bring them to the Republican fold in the long-term, none of that mattered for Wallace – his supporters hadn’t done the campaign to sit on the national government, but to sit it out and take it out of their states. And that simply wasn’t something Nixon might agree to do.
Negotiations between Nixon and Humphrey also failed – the two men wanted to be President, and the seat was too small for both of them. It was that plain simple; each of them believed that, if push came to shove, the House would elect them as President and were not willing to concede before the very last moment.
Despite the failure of the negotiations, Wallace didn’t take back his statement that he might direct his electors to vote for someone else, fuelling the fears that he might have negotiated a settlement with one of the contenders to give him the perks he desired.
As December approached, galloping in like a horseman of the Apocalypse, the American people sat and feared what would happen then, and what the future held for the country.
This is GOOD!
I suspect that, whatever happens, the result will be a lot of people saying, "Never again."
The only way to avoid that is an amendment, either modifying or abolishing the Electoral College.
There still needs to be provisions for circumstances where no one receives a majority.
There's also the possibility of a hothead deciding to remove one candidate or another permanently. (Or even remove two of them.)
The segregatoinists would, in my (quite possibly biased) opinion, be the ones most likely to use a gun to adjust the results, but nuts come in all flavors.
I hope that the Secret Service is alert!
(Even a high profile failure could change things around.)