Different Nominees in Locked Elections

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by John Fredrick Parker, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. John Fredrick Parker Donor

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    So as a sort of sister concept to this thread, I figured we could just talk about (a) those conventions, primaries, and leadership elections, (b) which while in themselves at least somewhat competitive, (c) are in advance of presidential or parliamentary elections where the incumbent party they’re set to challenge is pretty much guaranteed to lose (effectively making them the deciding contest for national president or pm).

    The examples that come to mind for the US:
    • 1852 and 1856 Democratic National Conventions
    • 1920 Republican National Convention
    • 1932 Democratic National Convention
    • 1952 Republican Primaries and Convention
    • 1980 Republican Primaries
    Meanwhile, in the UK:
    • 1975 Tory Leadership Election
    • 1994 Labour Leadership Election
    And so on. Any more ideas?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
    Nazi Space Spy likes this.
  2. Nazi Space Spy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Ah. So basically like Hillary Clinton or Evan Bayh in ‘08 instead of Obama?
     
    John Fredrick Parker likes this.
  3. Amadeus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    1852: Lewis Cass redeems his 1848 loss and beats Winfield Scott.
    1856: I'm not sure if this really was a "locked election" since the alternatives to Buchanan were two of the most hated men in the country. Fremont could have defeated Pierce IMO, but with Douglas you might see a hung electoral college.
    1920: Wood, Johnson, or Coolidge easily defeat Cox.
    1932: If not FDR, then you'd probably see some dark horse compromise candidate like Newton Baker beat Hoover instead.
    1952: Taft might actually lose to Stevenson, and even if he won the Presidency I doubt the GOP would be able to win the narrow Congressional majority they got in OTL.
    1980: Bush easily beats Carter.
     
  4. ejpsan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 2, 2012
    Bush over Reagan in 1980, Reagan after losing the Iowa caucus was behind Bush in New Hampshire until Reagan ambushed him in a debate in the last weekend before the primary.
    If Bush won then the story would be that Reagan's campaign was in disarray, Reagan fired his campaign manager the day of the New Hampshire primary.
    The campaign was bleeding money and only with a change did the campaign gained control over the spending.
     
    John Fredrick Parker likes this.
  5. David T Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    I disagree about 1952. While I think Taft would probably beat Stevenson, it would be close and I am by no means certain Taft would win. Remember that even the immensely popular Ike only won 55.2 percent of the vote. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1952_United_States_presidential_election From that you have to subtract (1) the Eisenhower votes Taft would lose simply because he wasn't Ike, and (2) those he would lose because of his own negatives--the widespread belief that he would do away with the whole New Deal and return the country to isolationism in foreign policy (though in fact these were both oversimplifications of Taft's actual views).

    Also in 1856 if 1.71 percent of the voters in LA, 2.12 in TN, and 2.51 percent in KY had switched from Buchanan to Fillmore, the race would have gone into the House. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1952_United_States_presidential_election
    Likewise, if the movement for a "fusion" ticket had succeeded in PA, it might well have carried the state--certainly if the Democrats had nominated someone other than Buchanan. https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...ects-for-anti-buchanan-fusion-in-1856.349796/ Also, Fremont might have carried IL if he had done more to address the charge that he was a secret Catholic--or the Republicans might have nominated someone against whom the charge would be less plausible. https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...on-fremont-lost-in-1856.444186/#post-17050380

    (I tend to think that if the 1856 race went into the House, there would be a deadlock, and the Democratic vice-presidential candidate would be named acting president by the Senate. So it would still be a Democratic victory, but not the kind the Democrats had in mind.)
     
  6. John Fredrick Parker Donor

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    D'oh! I should have double checked before assuming that 1856 was as much of a lock as 1852; edit to OP made.
    Hm, you guys may have a point; as much of a landslide as 1952 was and as incredibly vulnerable as the Democrats were towards the end of Truman's second term, I didn't really take into account that Eisenhower was Eisenhower; Taft would still be massively helped by the fundamentals, but that's really all he'd have by himself. Very well, OP edited on this as well.
    .
    Agreed on all counts. We've also discussed Sam Houston getting the 1852 nomination before (he would beat Scott), and I think even someone like Anderson would more likely than not beat Carter in 1980 (not that he has a really plausible shot at the nomination, just saying). As for 1932, even if Al Smith managed to get the nomination, making 1932 a rematch of 1928, I expect he'd still win.
     
    Amadeus likes this.
  7. Mikestone8 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Location:
    Peterborough, UK.
    We seem to have overlooked 1912.

    That year it could be any of Champ Clark, WJ Bryan, Thomas R Marshall, or any of a platoon of relatively obscure Democrats who might have emerged from a deadlocked Convention. Any of these would have won by much the same margin as did Wilson.
     
  8. Amadeus Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2017
    I don't think Bryan had any chance of being nominated a fourth time - the Democratic leadership just wouldn't allow it. But Clark or Marshall could feasibly have become the nominee, and either one would've been elected President.
     
  9. Mikestone8 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Location:
    Peterborough, UK.
    I sometimes wonder if Bryan might have got the nod had he kept his mouth shut. Had Clark, after a few more ballots, still failed to turn his narrow majority into a two-thirds, and Bryan not alienated Clark's supporters by his clumsy intervention, the delegates might have turned to him. As it was, the Clark men preferred to switch to Wilson rather than risk allowing WJB to profit from his "backstabbing".

    I agree, though, that the odds were much against him after three defeats. To be in with a chance he probably needs to have skipped 1908 on some excuse or other.
     
    Amadeus likes this.
  10. DrHackenslash Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2017
    Anybody leading Labour would have won in 1997, only question would be the size of the majority.

    The other two candidates - Prescott and Beckett - would have beaten Major and secured a working majority. Likely large enough to all but guarantee an easy win in 2001 as per OTL, although their decision over Iraq makes anything after a toss up.
     
    John Fredrick Parker likes this.
  11. John Fredrick Parker Donor

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    @Mikestone8 Yeah, I actually thought about putting 1912 on there too, but held back since it was technically the Republican Party splitting a few days earlier that actually guaranteed them the election; if, say, Roosevelt had managed to get the nomination, than at the very least the election would have been competitive.
     
  12. David T Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    One could add 1840 to the list in that it is almost certain that Clay or Scott could have defeated Van Buren. The Whigs did not have to make their (ultimately disastrous) decision to "play it safe" with Harrison. (Of course it was disastrous only because of the vice-presidential candidate they chose.)

    However, the Whig convention was actually held in 1839, when the Democrats were staging a temporary comeback (there had been some degree of economic recovery after the Panic of 1837) and many Whigs didn't think Clay could win. The economic recovery of 1838-9 gave way to a "second wave of bank suspensions and price declines at the end of 1839" https://books.google.com/books?id=hMkYklGTY1MC&pg=PA84 and before long it was clear that 1840 would be a Whig year, but this came too late for Clay.
     
    John Fredrick Parker likes this.
  13. Mikestone8 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
    Location:
    Peterborough, UK.

    The Republicans were doomed long before their Convention met. They had by then been fighting each other hammer and tongs for months.

    This is why I see Bryan as a possible nominee. Early in the Primary campaign, there was at least a theoretical possibility that the Republicans might patch up a compromise deal which, if not enabling them to actually win, might at least make the election competitive enough that it could make a noticeable difference whom the Democrats nominated. Hence their reluctance to go with Bryan again. However, by the time the Conventions actually met, it was clear to the blindest that the Republican split was irreparable for the foreseeable future, and the Dems were sure winners even if they nominated a dead dog. So there was no longer any pressing need to reject Bryan.
     
    John Fredrick Parker likes this.