Blue Skies in Camelot: An Alternate 60's and Beyond

Chapter 105
Chapter 105: More Than a Feeling - The 1976 Down Ballot Races

Above: Congresswoman-Elect Fannie Lou Hammer (D - MS) and Congressman-Elect Bayard Rustin (D - PA), two of many African American representatives first elected in the midst of Mo Udall’s triumphant 1976 Presidential campaign. Congressman-Elect Harvey Milk (D - CA) and Rustin would become the first openly gay members of the United States Congress. Though they came from different wings of the Democratic Party, the Christian Democratic Hammer and the Social Democratic Rustin and Milk would leave tremendous legacies on their party, and the nation in general, for years to come.

Unlike two years ago, when the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan had given President Bush and his Republican Party modest gains in both houses of Congress as a result of public trust in his foreign policy prowess, 1976 and its “Democratic Wave” were firmly, unequivocally the result of domestic grievances and woes. After a long, spirited campaign season, the American public simply believed that the GOP had not done enough to answer the troubling questions about the country’s future in their eight years in the White House under Presidents Romney and Bush. In accordance with Congressman Udall’s progressive vision for the nation’s future, Democrats up and down the ticket temporarily put their internal disagreements about social policy on hold and turned their focus toward attacking the Republicans, especially on economic issues. Udall’s campaign strategy obviously paid off, as “bread and butter” messaging sold candidates like hot cakes from the Deep South to the Industrial Heartland, from the farms and fields of the Great Plains, to the massive metropolitan hubs of the East and West Coast. This isn’t to say that voters had no interest in foreign policy. President Bush’s impressive achievement in negotiating the Walker’s Point Accords, continued Soviet Aggression (including the still ongoing War in Afghanistan), as well as rising tensions and conflict in the Middle East all made the “top ten” list of most cited issues by voters in exit polls. Far more frequently, however, issues like “taxes”, “the economy”, and of course, “jobs” filled the top slots. While the GOP mostly parroted the Administration’s talking points about “staying the course” and “weathering the storm”, Democrats took out their hatchets and went to work, picking apart Republican candidates’ plans and proposals (or lack thereof) and even managing to split GOP voters, by turning the party’s more conservative and libertarian base against its more liberal wing. In several races, liberal Republicans disappointed with what they saw as the President’s inaction were swayed to jump ship and back the Democratic candidate instead. In races all across this nation, this cross-party voting proved to be the GOP’s downfall.

With the economy reaching the darkest depths of the Great Recession, the Democrats were correct in their belief that they could easily take back the House of Representatives. Despite surprise GOP victories in the lower house in ‘72 and ‘74, Speaker Gerald R. Ford (R - MI) knew that he had little chance of holding onto his majority. What he and the other leaders of the Congressional Republicans could not have predicted however was the sixty seat swing which would sweep into office with the new President-elect, giving Mo Udall an 87 seat majority with which to craft legislation to make his progressive vision for bringing the country back to prosperity a reality. Biting at the chomps to finally get into the ring as the head of Democtatic leadership on the Hill, the tall Irish Liberal from Boston with a heart of gold, Tip O’Neill (D - MA), became the newly minted Speaker of the House, with dedicated progressive Patsy Mink (D - HI) becoming the first female House Majority Leader, and first Asian-American to rise to such a high rank in Congress as well. Hoping to strike a balance between the wings of the Party to ensure as strong a governing coalition as possible and prevent infighting, House Democrats then elected moderate centrist Congressman Jim Wright of Texas as House Majority Whip. Political writers, analysts, and pundits were near unanimous in their praise for the Democrats’ strategies. “This,” wrote California Governor Jimmy Roosevelt (D) in an editorial to The Washington Post, “Is how you win an election!” All in all, tough, progressive messaging combined with a strong ground game and outreach effort to lead to an unexpectedly lopsided election season. “The Spirit of ‘76” as it came to be known would forever afterward be remembered as one of the Democratic Party’s “shining moments” - a point referenced by all future campaigns as they attempted to recapture Mo Udall’s popular triumph. This isn’t to say that the new President-elect would not still struggle with his share of difficulties, however. Far from it. Indeed, Udall’s promises of a “better, brighter future” included proposals for a national employment guarantee, trust busting (especially against ‘too big to fail’ banks), reform of the “draconian” drug laws of the Romney and Bush administrations, and most prominently of all - universal, single payer healthcare, modeled on the national systems in Canada and the United Kingdom. Such initiatives were widely popular with the American people, but faced skepticism, if not outright hostility from the GOP and more conservative and moderate Democrats. If Udall was going to deliver on any of these starry eyed promises, he would need to hone his skills as a master negotiator, and wield the bully pulpit of the Presidency effectively to channel public anger at the economic establishment. For the easy going Arizona environmentalist, it was going to require one hell of an “on the job training regimen”.


U.S. House of Representatives (218 Needed for a Majority):


Democrats: 261 Seats (+60)

Republicans: 174 Seats (-60)



Tip O’Neill (D - MA), Speaker of the House of Representatives

House Leadership:


Speaker of the House: Tip O’Neill (D - MA)

House Majority Leader: Patsy Mink (D - HI)

House Majority Whip: Jim Wright (D - TX)



House Minority Leader: Gerald R. Ford (R - MI)

House Minority Whip: John Jacob Rhodes (R - AZ)


The Democrats may have retaken the House and grown their majority in the Senate, but in exchange, it cost them a titan of the legislature. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield of Montana had served in the upper chamber for twenty-four years, the last sixteen of which as Majority leader for a beleaguered, but ultimately victorious Democratic Party. A laconic liberal icon, Mansfield’s shrewd management of his vote count helped President Kennedy turn the 1960’s into the Wonder Years that they were, and prevented the 1970’s from descending into a full slide toward the political right under Presidents Romney and Bush. Though the Party establishment were loathe to see Mansfield go, at 73 years of age, the Montana Senator was ready to step aside and let the new generation take up the reins, so that he could spend more time with his family. To try and fill his shoes, and continuing in the spirit of unity which pervaded the Party since the convention in New York, current Majority Whip Russell B. Long (D - LA), the party’s leading Southern populist, was elected as the new Senate Majority Leader, with his previous chief rival, the narrowly reelected Edward M. Kennedy (D - MA) taking his prior post as Senate Majority Whip. Though Long and Kennedy had had their share of differences in the past, both were in firm agreement of the need for a system of universal health care, as well as expansion and reworkings of New Deal and New Frontier era policies to keep them current and reactive to the challenges facing the United States in the latter half of the 1970’s. On the Republican side, outgoing Minority Leader Hugh Scott’s hand picked successor, the moderate dealmaker Howard Baker (R - TN) was handily elected to succeed him, with defense expert and bright rising star Senator Donald Rumsfeld (R - IL) as Minority Whip. With the House largely secure with Speaker O’Neill’s large majority, President-elect Udall swiftly turned his attention during the transition time allotted for strategy on the Hill toward identifying remaining liberal Republicans with whom the administration could work.



Senate Majority Leader Russell B. Long (D - LA)


The Senate of the 95th Congress:


Democrats (Majority): 56 Seats (+5)

Republicans (Minority): 44 Seats (-5)


Alabama

John J. Sparkman (D)

James B. Allen (D)



Alaska

Theodore F. Stevens (R)

Frank Murkowski (R)



Arizona

Barry Goldwater (R)

Dennis DeConcini (D) - Defeated Sam Stieger for open seat. D Gain.


Arkansas

John L. McClellan (D)

Dale Bumpers (D)



California

John V. Tunney (D) - Narrowly reelected over Sam Hayawaka. D Hold

Shirley Temple Black (R)


Colorado

Gordon L. Allott (R)

Gary Hart (D)


Connecticut

Abraham A. Ribicoff (D)

Lowell P. Weicker, Jr. (R) - Reelected over Gloria Schaffer. R hold.


Delaware

Joseph Biden (D)

Thomas Maloney (D) - Narrowly defeated incumbent William Roth. D Gain.



Florida

Lawton Chiles (D) - Reelected over John Grady. D hold.

Jack Eckerd (R)


Georgia

Sam Nunn (D)

James Earl Carter (D)



Hawaii

Daniel K. Inouye (D)

Spark Matsunaga (D) - Reelected over William Quinn. D Hold.



Idaho

Frank F. Church (D)

James A. McClure (R)


Illinois

Charles H. Percy (R)

Donald Rumsfeld (R)



Indiana

Richard Lugar (R) - Reelected over former Senator Vance Hartke. R Hold.

Edgar Whitcomb (R)



Iowa

Jack R. Miller (R)

David M. Stanley (R)



Kansas

James B. Pearson (R)

Bob Dole (R)



Kentucky

Walter B. Huddleston (D)

Wendell Ford (D)



Louisiana

Russell B. Long (D)

John McKeithen (D)



Maine

Margaret Chase Smith (R)

Edmund Muskie (D) - Reelected over Robert A G Monks. D Hold.


Maryland

Spiro T. Agnew (R)

Paul Sarbanes (D) - Defeated incumbent John Glenn Beall. D Gain.


Massachusetts

Edward M. Kennedy (D) - Narrowly reelected over Michael Robertson. D Hold.

Silvio O. Conte (R)


Michigan

Robert P. Griffin (R)

Donald Riegle (D) - Elected to fill the seat left by retiring incumbent Hart. D Hold.


Minnesota

Hubert Humphrey (D)

Wendell R. Anderson (D) - Elected to replace retiring incumbent McCarthy. D Hold



Mississippi

James O. Eastland (D)

John C. Stennis (D) - Ran unopposed for reelection. D Hold.



Missouri

Thomas F. Eagleton (D)

Jerry Litton (D)* - Elected to fill retiring Symington’s seat. D Hold.



Montana

Henry S. Hibbard (R)

Jack Melcher (D) - Elected to fill retiring Mansfield’s seat. D Hold.


Nebraska

Carl T. Curtis (R)


Edward Zorinsky (D) - Elected to fill retiring Hruska’s seat. D Gain.


Nevada

Howard W. Cannon (D) - Reelected over David Towell. D Hold.

Paul Laxalt (R)


New Hampshire

Thomas J. McIntyre (D)

Louis Wyman (R)


New Jersey

Clifford P. Case (R)

Harrison A. Williams Jr. (D) - Reelected over David Norcross. D Hold.


New Mexico

Pete Domenici (R)

Harrison Schmitt (R) - Defeated incumbent Montoya. R Gain.



New York

Robert F. Kennedy (D) - Narrowly reelected over U.S. Rep. Jack Kemp. D Hold.

Ramsey Clark (D)



North Carolina

J. Terry Sanford (D)

Jesse Helms (R)


North Dakota

Milton R. Young (R)

Quentin M. Burdick (D) - Reelected over Robert Stroup. D Hold.


Ohio

John Glenn (D) - Reelected over Ralph Perk. D Hold.

Robert Taft, Jr. (R)


Oklahoma

Dewey F. Bartlett (R)

Henry Bollman (R)



Oregon

Mark O. Hatfield (R)

Bob Packwood (R)



Pennsylvania

Richard Schweiker (R)

William J. Green III (D) - Filled open seat left by retiring Scott. D Gain.


Rhode Island

John Chafee (R)

Richard P. Lorber (D) - Filled open seat left by retiring Pastore. D Hold.


South Carolina

Strom Thurmond (R)

Ernest Hollings (D)


South Dakota

James Abourezk (D)

Leo Thorsness (R)


Tennessee

Howard H. Baker, Jr. (R)

James Sasser (D) - Elected to fill the open seat left by retiring Gore. D Hold.


Texas

Barefoot Sanders (D)

Audie Murphy (D) - Elected to fill the seat left by retiring Smith. D Hold.



Utah

Jake Garn (R)

Orrin Hatch (R) - Defeated incumbent Moss. R Gain.


Vermont

Richard W. Mallary (R)

Patrick Leahy (D) - Defeated Incumbent Stafford. D Gain.


Virginia

Elmo Zumwalt (D) - Defeated Incumbent Byrd. D Hold.

William L. Scott (R)


Washington

Warren G. Magnuson (D)

Henry M. “Scoop” Jackson (D) - Reelected over George Brown. D Hold.



West Virginia

Jennings Randolph (D)

Robert C. Byrd (D) - Ran unopposed for reelection. D Hold.



Wisconsin

William Proxmire (D) - Reelected over Stanley York. D Hold.

Gaylord A. Nelson (D)



Wyoming

Clifford P. Hansen (R)

Gale McGee (D) - Reelected over Malcolm Wallop. D Hold.





Other Races of Note:

Due to Texas Governor Lloyd Bentsen (D) being elected Vice President of the United States, rancher, and former member of the Texas House of Representatives Dolph Briscoe (D) is elected to serve as his successor.



One of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II and now a fierce advocate for Veterans and those suffering from Post traumatic stress disorder across the nation, Congressman Audie Murphy of Texas (D) was elected to replace the retiring Preston Smith (D), who in turn had been appointed by Governor Bentsen to replace Lyndon Johnson after he passed away. Congressman, now Senator Murphy’s chief aim is the creation of a cabinet level position for Veterans’ Affairs.




With one of the narrowest margins of victory in the history of the State of Vermont (requiring three official recounts to confirm his win - by just 10 votes), 35 year old carpenter, Social Democrat, former HeadStart teacher and anti-war and civil rights activist Bernard “Bernie” Sanders (D) is elected Mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Dedicated to preserving life in rural America and leading the Democratic Party in a more progressive direction, Bernie’s grassroots, “people first” campaign shocked the nation when its shoe-string budget and dedicated volunteers managed to overcome the incumbent Democrat, Gordon Paquette.



Elected for the first time to the U.S. House of Representatives, representing the heart of Chicago, Reverend Jesse Jackson (D - IL), would become a passionate voice for social justice and continued Civil Rights action in the Democratic Party. Young, intensely energetic, and charismatic, Jackson has a very bright future ahead of him in politics. For the time being, he works to build his “Rainbow Coalition” of various minority groups, including: African Americans; Hispanic Americans; Arab-Americans; Asian Americans; Native Americans; family farmers; the poor, and the working class; as well as European American Progressives who wanted to see the Democratic Party continue to embrace its modern New Deal roots.




Also reelected and hoping to bring the Republican Party in a more Libertarian direction, Representative Ron Paul (R) of Texas makes good on his nickname “Dr. No”, proudly touting to his constituents his refusal to back “this Administration’s tax and spend nonsense”. He pledges to do the same against the incoming President-Elect Udall.




In a year of rampant Democratic victories, the GOP found a breath of fresh air in New Mexico’s U.S. Senate Race, where Apollo-Svarog XVII Astronaut Harrison Schmitt (R) defeated two-term incumbent Joseph Montoya to help stop the bleeding in the upper chamber. A moderate Republican, Schmitt seeks a seat on the Senate Subcommittee on Science, Technology, and Space.





While her husband serves as a Junior Executive partner at nearby Lockheed Martin, Hillary Rodham Bush (R) finds success in her first election where her Presidential father in law could not. She wins her first public office as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates at the age of 29. Young, vivacious, and full of energy, Hillary used her twin children, Prescott and Chelsea, as proof of her “tough Mom” campaign image.



Proving his political gambit of jumping ship from the Bush Administration to be a success, former White House Chief of Staff Richard “Dick” Cheney (R) is elected to represent his home state of Wyoming’s at-large Congressional District. He will quickly seek to grow his own power base and has his eyes set on a long term House leadership position.




Next Time on Blue Skies in Camelot: 1976 Draws to a Close
 
So the Democrats won control of the House and the Senate. Nice to see some familiar faces like Jesse Jackson, Hillary Bush, Burnie Sanders win too. How will Tip O Neil and President-elect Udall get along since IOTL he butted heads with Presidents Carter and Reagan? As 1976 comes to an end I'm excited to see what 1977 will bring on! Keep it up Mr President!
 
Another great update. Nice cast of characters, too. We'll see how Udall deals with Andropov, and other foreign leaders if he meets with them in later updates.
 
Due to Texas Governor Lloyd Bentsen (D) being elected Vice President of the United States, rancher, and former member of the Texas House of Representatives Dolph Briscoe (D) is elected to serve as his successor.
Texas has Lt. Governors who would have succeeded the Governor rather than a special election. Other wise good stuff. And it's possible for Briscoe to be Lt Governor.
 
Very nice update there Mr. President.

Good luck to the Democrats- unity on the campaign trial can, does, will? Disintegrate once in office- let’s hope the smiling bloke in the White House can hold it together.
 
There's a possibility Udall's presidency ends up as a reverse of Bush's - great domestically and economically, rather flat-footed on the international sphere.
 
Good update; like the foreshadowing here...

Congrats on Senator Audie Murphy; hope he goes far here and, yeah, him meeting Bernie Sanders would be interesting, to put it mildly...

Others that I hope go far are Harvey Milk, Jesse Jackson, and Hillary Rodham Bush (that's one of the most interesting pairings I've seen in a TL)...

BTW, the song "More Than A Feeling" was sung and released by Boston in September of 1976, so congrats for continuing the pattern, @President_Lincoln, and waiting for more, of course...

Hope Udall's presidency turns out good, BTW...
 
Murphy/Sanders 1984?
I mean, they're both friend-of-the-little-guy candidates, though Sanders is probably even more left-wing OTL due to the period of reduced US-Soviet tensions replacing the Brezhnev debacle era reducing the pressure on the American left. They probably will co-sponsor at least one bill in the Senate in favor of some pro-worker position like chipping away at Taft-Hartley or improving education funding in poor districts.
 
Fantastic work @President_Lincoln , and like @Worffan101 I'm delighted to see Audie Murphy as a Senator :D Keep it up!

I mean, they're both friend-of-the-little-guy candidates, though Sanders is probably even more left-wing OTL due to the period of reduced US-Soviet tensions replacing the Brezhnev debacle era reducing the pressure on the American left. They probably will co-sponsor at least one bill in the Senate in favor of some pro-worker position like chipping away at Taft-Hartley or improving education funding in poor districts.
I can definitely see that happening...
 
Okay since you brought HRB back into this, I may have come up with a quick thing off of the flash-forward 2016 fan things from like 150 pages back...


TRUMP 2020: MAKE AMERICA FAIR... AGAIN?

The Washington Post
March 20th, 2019


New York Governor Donald J. Trump has formally announced his expected campaign for the Democratic nomination. This will be his second bid for the presidency, as he was the Democratic nominee in 2016 where he was defeated by President Bush. Referred to admiringly by supporters and mockingly by detractors as “The Great Uncommoner” in a reference to William Jennings Bryan, Trump’s 2020 platform notably provides a blend of Social Democratic economics and Christian Democratic social stances which has been described as “pure populism.” This includes a final repeal to Taft-Hartley, heavy tariffs to protect American manufacturing and farming, harsher limits on immigration, and the passage of a “Labor Bill of Rights,” as he refers to a proposal he describes as “a real big-league idea, we want to really make sure it’s beautiful. We just know you’re all gonna love it, we’ll release it soon.” The most recent AP poll suggests Trump is narrowly the frontrunner at 31%. Texas Governor Joaquin Castro narrowly trails him at 28%, followed by South Dakota Senator Billie Sutton at 19%, Georgia Senator Jason Carter at 11%, and Missouri Representative Robin Carnahan at 6%.

B452EF18-0166-42F6-A584-B0F544249475.jpeg

Gov. Trump meets with UAW members in Detroit
 
Okay since you brought HRB back into this, I may have come up with a quick thing off of the flash-forward 2016 fan things from like 150 pages back...


TRUMP 2020: MAKE AMERICA FAIR... AGAIN?

The Washington Post
March 20th, 2019


New York Governor Donald J. Trump has formally announced his expected campaign for the Democratic nomination. This will be his second bid for the presidency, as he was the Democratic nominee in 2016 where he was defeated by President Bush. Referred to admiringly by supporters and mockingly by detractors as “The Great Uncommoner” in a reference to William Jennings Bryan, Trump’s 2020 platform notably provides a blend of Social Democratic economics and Christian Democratic social stances which has been described as “pure populism.” This includes a final repeal to Taft-Hartley, heavy tariffs to protect American manufacturing and farming, harsher limits on immigration, and the passage of a “Labor Bill of Rights,” as he refers to a proposal he describes as “a real big-league idea, we want to really make sure it’s beautiful. We just know you’re all gonna love it, we’ll release it soon.” The most recent AP poll suggests Trump is narrowly the frontrunner at 31%. Texas Governor Joaquin Castro narrowly trails him at 28%, followed by South Dakota Senator Billie Sutton at 19%, Georgia Senator Jason Carter at 11%, and Missouri Representative Robin Carnahan at 6%.

View attachment 491013
Gov. Trump meets with UAW members in Detroit
Funny, but let's not continue this any further, lest we attract any bears.
 
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