Make the Progressive Party a serious third party

Your PoD can be with any of the presidential candidates of the three iterations of the progressive party. I'd say the best opportunity would be with the Bull moose Party. After his election lost in 1912 TR doesn't reconcile with Taft or the conservatives and heavily pushes other progressive Republicans and even some Democrats to defect to his party. I think one way he can carve out a stronger base is taking a much harder stance towards civil rights. The early 20th century is when the Democratic party is going through a transition phase from the Bourbon Democrats to the New Deal democrats and Woodrow Wilson is probably a great example of this transition being a progressive southerner who opposed civil rights but enacted his New Freedom policies as a proto-type to the other Roosevelt's New Deal.
 
Have TR run again in 1916, have La Follette reconcile with him and run as VP. Over the 20s have several strong local and national election runs. Slowly have both the progressive dems and progressive gop join the party, so that Progressive Party is the progressive choice, and Democratic Party and Republican Party are varying degrees of centrist and conservative
 
Which one? For TR’s party, somehow TR is able to get LaFollette and other progressive Republicans on board and Republican business leaders basically cast them off. Thus you have a progressive party with its strength in the north and west, a Republican Party that’s strong in the northeast and among business leaders and then the Democrats who basically become a southern party except for a few urban enclaves. Bonus points if the progressives can attract socialist voters.
 
Due to the way the electoral college works, it is very difficult for a third party to last more than one or two election cycles. This can only occur if one of the two major parties collapses and its followers merge into the third party (i.e. the Republican Party). I feel that the only way the Progressives can endure as a major political party would be if the Democrats nominate a conservative candidate in 1912 and so dissatisfy Democratic voters that they join with progressive Republicans in supporting Roosevelt, who either wins in 1912 or is strong enough to build momentum for 1916. But this is unlikely due to the 2/3 rule at the Democratic convention and the generally reformist mood of the country during this period which gave the Democrats an incentive to nominate a progressive. If not Wilson in 1912 it would have been Clark, who only lost the Democratic nomination because Bryan most likely was trying to deadlock the convention and win the nod for himself.
 
The 1948 Progressives were too closely linked to the Communist Party to survive in Cold War America, especially after Wallace himself renounced them once they failed to condemn North Korean aggression in 1950. (The one Congressman who supported them who was re-elected in 1948, Vito Marcantonio of East Harlem, lost to a D-R fusion candidate in 1950.) The 1924 Progressives might theoretically have survived--at least as a vehicle for presidential elections--if both major parties had continued to nominate conservative candidates. But (1) it's hard to see who their candidate would be in 1928--"Fighting Bob" La Follette was dead, and his son "Young Bob" was only 33 so not constitutionally eligible. Far more important, (2) organized labor gave up on the party after the 1924 defeat and reverted to the Gompers policy of "rewarding labor's friends and punishing its enemies" within the major parties. (The AFL had never really favored a third *party* anyway, just an independent La Follette candidacy.)

The 1912 Bull Moosers had the best chance, but only if the Democrats nominated a really conservative candidate, which was very unlikely. Either Wilson or Clark--probably even Bryan!--would hold the core Democratic vote, which was enough in a three-way race. The only thing I can think of that could elect TR *as a Progressive* (of course he might win if he got the GOP nomination) would be some terrible last-minute scandal uncovered regarding Wilson or whoever the Democrats nominated. But if TR won because of that, his victory would probably be considered a fluke, and Democrats and Republicans in Congress would see little need to change their party affiliations. (Presumably there would be more than the 13 congressmen elected as Progressives in OTL, but probably not very many more. Observers at the time noted that the Progressive vote had "an 'inverted pyramid aspect.' It is largest at the top and 'tapers down very fast.'" https://books.google.com/books?id=FJ5FAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA997 This is not *totally* fair--two Progressive candidates for governor, Albert J. Beveridge in Indiana and Oscar Straus in New York, won more votes than TR in their states--but in general the Progressives did lag behind TR in down-ballot races.)
 
Observers at the time noted that the Progressive vote had "an 'inverted pyramid aspect.' It is largest at the top and 'tapers down very fast.'" https://books.google.com/books?id=FJ5FAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA997 This is not *totally* fair--two Progressive candidates for governor, Albert J. Beveridge in Indiana and Oscar Straus in New York, won more votes than TR in their states--but in general the Progressives did lag behind TR in down-ballot races.)

Which is serious, because party realignments generally start in *Congress*. Iirc the jacksonians gained control of Congress before electing AJ in 1828, and the Republicans captured the HoR before electing Lincoln. Trying to start one with a Presidential candidacy is an unpromising approach - like a tall tree with very shallow roots.
 
See Walter Lippmann's comments ("Why I Shall Vote for Davis," in the *New Republic,* October 29, 1924, about the futility of the 1924 La Follette Progressives' dream of replacing the Democrats as America's second party:

"First, the practical politics of the La Follette movement. Here in the East its supporters, the New Republic among them, are arguing that the new party is to destroy and supplant the Democratic party as the opposition to conservative Republicanism. This seems to me impossible. *The Democratic party is more or less indestructible because of the solid South.* [My emphasis--DT] A party which enters every campaign with roughly half the electoral votes [I assume that what Lippmann meant was "half of the electoral votes necessary for victory"--DT] is not in my opinion going to disappear. It seems extremely unlikely that La Follette will break the solid South, and almost as unlikely that the Southern Democrats will coalesce, as the New Republic has suggested, with the Eastern Republicans. If the Democratic party survives, and if the Republican party survives, there is not under the presidential system of government any permanent future for a third party..." https://books.google.com/books?id=_T86AQAAIAAJ&pg=PA218&lpg=PA218
 
Your PoD can be with any of the presidential candidates of the three iterations of the progressive party. I'd say the best opportunity would be with the Bull moose Party. After his election lost in 1912 TR doesn't reconcile with Taft or the conservatives and heavily pushes other progressive Republicans and even some Democrats to defect to his party. I think one way he can carve out a stronger base is taking a much harder stance towards civil rights. The early 20th century is when the Democratic party is going through a transition phase from the Bourbon Democrats to the New Deal democrats and Woodrow Wilson is probably a great example of this transition being a progressive southerner who opposed civil rights but enacted his New Freedom policies as a proto-type to the other Roosevelt's New Deal.
I was looking over threads regarding a multi-party or parliamentary United States; though, just to get this out there, parliamentarianism doesn't necessarily equate to multiple parties in the legislature. Anywho, I came across a statement made by @StevenAttewell from the 2012 thread Multi-Party United States (Do NOT go and add to that discussion, it is a dead thread and I'm only referencing it). They make a very interesting point:
Electoral College isn't the issue.

The problem is the effects of FPTP in Congress and the rise of the presidency as an institution of power. If you get proportional voting, or any kind of multiple-member districts, then multiple parties have room to flourish.

Probably the smallest PoD to avoid this: prevent the abolition of ballot fusion in the late 19th century. If ballot fusion instead becomes universal across the United States, you can have influential third parties grow and prosper working in alliance with the major parties.
Later on, they promotes this as a potential pathway:
  • 1912 - T.R makes a serious pitch for Republicans who want to vote Republican to vote for him and their local Republican ticket where the locals are sympathetic to the Progressive cause, local Progressive chapters pitch local Socialists on fusion tickets on the local level, the Socialists fuse with the leftmost viable candidate in races where they can't win but can swing the vote, and both the Republicans and Democrats fuse with a smaller party where they can't win in order to deny their rivals another seat in Congress. Presidential race is pretty much as OTL, but the Congressional results are different, with Democrats winning a smaller majority, and Progressives winning significantly more than 9 seats.
So, what you might need to do is, at the very least, neuter the anti-ballot fusion movement to ensure the best possible outcome for the Progressives in Congress which, in turn, ups the Progressive's chances for 1916, especially if Wilson (if he is still nominated and wins in 1912) fumbles during his term; while the failure of past parties like the Populist/People's Party could also be attributed to the anti-ballot fusion movement, that party had, like, another ten things going against them including white supremacist tensions in the South, failure to integrate the labor movement into the party, and significant losses in the bi-metalism movement.
 
Two things I still don't get:

1. Why did La Follette and TR have a falling out anyway?

2. Why didn't Hiram Johnson have any national-level aspirations after the 1912 run?
 
Is it possible to butterfly Wallace cozying up to the far left in ‘48 and smearing its reputation? That may help.
 

Jes Lo

Banned
1. Why did La Follette and TR have a falling out anyway?

2. Why didn't Hiram Johnson have any national-level aspirations after the 1912 run?
1. I think it had to do with how Roosevelt was picked as their candidate over him after Roosevelt had already announced he wasn't going to run and the progressives flocked to La Folette, apparently he got really bitter over it and endorsed Wilson instead.
2. He did, he was just denied entry by the Republicans in '20 and '24. And he had a falling out with FDR after endorsing him at first over the New Deal. He was just more comfortable as a senator, I guess.
 
See Walter Lippmann's comments ("Why I Shall Vote for Davis," in the *New Republic,* October 29, 1924, about the futility of the 1924 La Follette Progressives' dream of replacing the Democrats as America's second party:

"First, the practical politics of the La Follette movement. Here in the East its supporters, the New Republic among them, are arguing that the new party is to destroy and supplant the Democratic party as the opposition to conservative Republicanism. This seems to me impossible. *The Democratic party is more or less indestructible because of the solid South.* [My emphasis--DT] A party which enters every campaign with roughly half the electoral votes [I assume that what Lippmann meant was "half of the electoral votes necessary for victory"--DT] is not in my opinion going to disappear. It seems extremely unlikely that La Follette will break the solid South, and almost as unlikely that the Southern Democrats will coalesce, as the New Republic has suggested, with the Eastern Republicans. If the Democratic party survives, and if the Republican party survives, there is not under the presidential system of government any permanent future for a third party..." https://books.google.com/books?id=_T86AQAAIAAJ&pg=PA218&lpg=PA218
To be fair, this arguably did happen eventually.
 
Which one? For TR’s party, somehow TR is able to get LaFollette and other progressive Republicans on board and Republican business leaders basically cast them off. Thus you have a progressive party with its strength in the north and west, a Republican Party that’s strong in the northeast and among business leaders and then the Democrats who basically become a southern party except for a few urban enclaves. Bonus points if the progressives can attract socialist voters.
pretty much any of the 3 but as I said I think the Bull Moose party has the best shot
 
Have TR run again in 1916, have La Follette reconcile with him and run as VP. Over the 20s have several strong local and national election runs. Slowly have both the progressive dems and progressive gop join the party, so that Progressive Party is the progressive choice, and Democratic Party and Republican Party are varying degrees of centrist and conservative
The biggest issue though is TR was hugely pro war whereas La Follette was anti-war. I'd say a more realistic but still viable circumstance is Hiram Johnson runs with La Follette as his VP and attacks Wilson for his de facto support for the entente. Now I seriously doubt Johnson-La Follette win but it would be another great stance
 
The 1948 Progressives were too closely linked to the Communist Party to survive in Cold War America, especially after Wallace himself renounced them once they failed to condemn North Korean aggression in 1950. (The one Congressman who supported them who was re-elected in 1948, Vito Marcantonio of East Harlem, lost to a D-R fusion candidate in 1950.) The 1924 Progressives might theoretically have survived--at least as a vehicle for presidential elections--if both major parties had continued to nominate conservative candidates. But (1) it's hard to see who their candidate would be in 1928--"Fighting Bob" La Follette was dead, and his son "Young Bob" was only 33 so not constitutionally eligible. Far more important, (2) organized labor gave up on the party after the 1924 defeat and reverted to the Gompers policy of "rewarding labor's friends and punishing its enemies" within the major parties. (The AFL had never really favored a third *party* anyway, just an independent La Follette candidacy.)

The 1912 Bull Moosers had the best chance, but only if the Democrats nominated a really conservative candidate, which was very unlikely. Either Wilson or Clark--probably even Bryan!--would hold the core Democratic vote, which was enough in a three-way race. The only thing I can think of that could elect TR *as a Progressive* (of course he might win if he got the GOP nomination) would be some terrible last-minute scandal uncovered regarding Wilson or whoever the Democrats nominated. But if TR won because of that, his victory would probably be considered a fluke, and Democrats and Republicans in Congress would see little need to change their party affiliations. (Presumably there would be more than the 13 congressmen elected as Progressives in OTL, but probably not very many more. Observers at the time noted that the Progressive vote had "an 'inverted pyramid aspect.' It is largest at the top and 'tapers down very fast.'" https://books.google.com/books?id=FJ5FAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA997 This is not *totally* fair--two Progressive candidates for governor, Albert J. Beveridge in Indiana and Oscar Straus in New York, won more votes than TR in their states--but in general the Progressives did lag behind TR in down-ballot races.)
As I said it isn't necessarily about getting them elected but make them viable. Think of them like the Greens and FDP in Germany
 
The biggest issue though is TR was hugely pro war whereas La Follette was anti-war. I'd say a more realistic but still viable circumstance is Hiram Johnson runs with La Follette as his VP and attacks Wilson for his de facto support for the entente. Now I seriously doubt Johnson-La Follette win but it would be another great stance
I always have forgotten that. Even if TR had won in 1912, you’d probably see a split in the progressive party between the Roosevelt wing and the anti-war LaFollette wing. Almost would be an interesting timeline to come up with. Have a seemingly up and coming progressive party collapse due to World War One. I wonder if in this case TR just becomes a Republican again or we see the Bull moose party and other progressives form their own party or join the socialists.
 
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