Let's be real: a good number of the timelines here are liberal wanks. Especially in relation to the Great Depression era. And most of them are very good.

This clearly isn't a conservative wank. If you want to see what a wank timeline looks like, check out the one where JFK and LBJ are both killed in Dallas and President Reagan kills every world leader in one night.
Let's be real: a good number of the timelines here are liberal wanks. Especially in relation to the Great Depression era. And most of them are very good.

This clearly isn't a conservative wank. If you want to see what a wank timeline looks like, check out the one where JFK and LBJ are both killed in Dallas and President Reagan kills every world leader in one night.
You mean this?
As a committed Pinko Leftie, this timeline is not a "wank". Conservatism has done better than OTL but its all plausible, its all explained and its not like Conservatism has won at every turn. People use the term "wank" in Alt History far too often these days, its meant to mean taking something to the extreme and either reaching the maximum possible success for a country/ideology/individual or even breaking the rules of logic just to have your chosen country/ideology/flavour of ice cream do better. NDC is smart, logical and balanced, it's world is just different to OTL and that means that, by default, the left/right balance will be different. Having said that, people expressing dismay at the success of TTL characters is fine and they shouldn't be told to quit reading if they don't like that, its just their take. It's an excellent timeline, I'm sure we can all agree.

Please lets just enjoy the quality writing and the fascinating world on offer. :D
Man if you guys think *this* is right-wank, you're *really* not going to like what I'm working on
If you want to see what a wank timeline looks like, check out the one where JFK and LBJ are both killed in Dallas and President Reagan kills every world leader in one night.

I just want to assure everyone that this is not the kind of plan I was scheming at all, in case you were worried.
Early Primaries

“What the rise of the Progressive Party and the Vietnam War tended to obscure, was a simple truth. The Democratic Party was still a liberal entity – with limits.”

-Hamilton Jordan-

With the popular Reagan term-limited, Democrats lined up to make the attempt to retake the White House. After eight years of continuous Republican rule, the country was in the mood for change and none of the serious GOP candidates had the same popularity and charisma of the President. A-list names such as Senator Frank Church of Idaho (of the Hoffa wing), Mayor Hugh Carey of New York, and the conservative Senator Larry McDonald of Georgia all were considered prime contenders. However, one name got a lot of press when he decided to enter for the chance to be President. Though out of the senate for the past two years, William Proxmire of Wisconsin was an icon in the Democratic Party. Circumstance had thrust him to the leadership of the non-progressive liberal wing of the party after Bobby Kennedy was appointed to the Supreme Court. It had been his work that kept many Democrats from leaving the party during the Return of the Bull Moose, and this goodwill plus his status as the lone Democrat statewide office holder in the upper Midwest gave him a massive leg up in the first primary of the cycle.


Like McGovern’s win four years before, Proxmire’s win in the Minnesota primary wasn’t shocking. He was, after all, from the region and a liberal compared to the increasingly southern/union Democrat led party. However, the sheer scope of it was. The Wisconsin Senator carried all but five counties in the state, taking many voters that would have normally voted in the Progressive primary instead. While many thought Church would be in contention, he came in a disappointing third place behind Larry MacDonald, who didn’t even campaign. Proxmire, once thought as an underdog, immediately became a leading contender for the Democratic nomination.


Displaying its contrarian ideology, the Hoffa coalition in New Hampshire took a bat to the Minnesota players and gave a convincing victory to Frank Church, Carey coming in a close second place – ironically, Proxmire and McDonald weren’t far behind. The union Democrats in the mill towns greatly favored the populist Idaho native, who staked out a classic middle of the road path as liberal on economics but moderate on social issues. Many observers felt that he could have won by more had not Carey and McDonald attacked him over his relative dovishness, the Senator being an opponent of the Vietnam War and the interventions into Nicaragua and Africa.


Buoyed by the traditional Dixie voters – Robertson Democrats – the culturally conservative hawk McDonald notched his first win of the season in the Old Dominion. Positioning himself as the heir to the McKeithen primary campaign, his win was far smaller due to the more conservative positions he held. Previous showings in the north indicated he did not have the same reach as the 1980 nominee did, but the South still provided a massive chunk of the delegates. Church’s defeat here hurt his candidacy coming right after his New Hampshire triumph, and his underperformance only solidified McDonald as the candidate of the south.

Just the opening Proxmire needed.


While the Republican field was initially crowded thanks to the open nature of the primary – Gerald Ford bowing out early on had paved the way for many credible candidates – by the new year only three viable contenders remained. The frontrunner was believed to be Illinois Governor Donald Rumsfeld, a well-known figure from his time in the House of Representatives and at the helm of his home state. Quite popular in the Land of Lincoln, his connections and name recognition put him leaps and bounds over the competition, Florida Senator Claude Kirk (the first Republican to really break through downballot in the deep south) and New York Representative and Reaganite conservative Jack Kemp.


Minnesota was pretty much Rumsfeld’s backyard, his moderate, good government profile coming out on top of the southern Kirk and conservative Kemp. Even with the defection of part of the MNGOP’s liberal wing to the Progressive/Farmer-Labor Party, MN Republicans were still far more moderate than the rest, and Rumsfeld winning the primary wasn’t a shock to observers.

Still, the win in the first contest of the year gave him strong momentum going forward into New Hampshire, in which Kemp had staked up shop (Kirk ignored the Granite State in favor of more hospitable Virginia). Owning a contrarian nature toward the first primary state, Rumsfeld faced several headwinds, but was boosted by a late endorsement from popular Senator Alan Shepard.


Following New Hampshire, despite winning several caucus states that came before, the narrow 800 vote loss crippled Kemp’s candidacy. He had bet the farm on winning the Granite State big to hurt Rumsfeld, and came up short. To a gaggle of press two days following the primary, he officially suspended his campaign and endorsed the Illinois Governor – providing a massive boost to Rummy and making it possible for him to run the three major early contests and wrap up the nomination before the Ides of March.


It was not to be. In the fight to beat Kemp in New Hampshire, Rumsfeld had neglected Virginia and allowed Senator Kirk to have a monopoly to the Old Dominion’s primary electorate. Kirk’s decision to abandon New Hampshire to focus on the first southern state to vote paid off in spades. While it had diversified greatly due to an influx of voters to the northern part of the state (around DC), the primary electorate was still dominated by conservatives and southern African-Americans – both strong supporters of Claude Kirk (they had allowed him to win the Governorship in 1964). This allowed him to overcome Rumsfeld’s momentum and block him from sweeping towards a sleepy primary in the next states. It would be a tight race from here on out.


While the Progressive Party had ascended to the national scene as a force to be reckoned with, much of the party organization was still weak – especially at the state level. Most southern states barely had a functioning party apparatus, and therefore the party decided to forgo the nationwide series of primaries for the time being to focus party resources on candidates and ground game operations, instead scheduling the National Convention as was the case before the 1972 reforms. However, several primaries were still scheduled in order to act as a talent show for the candidates, and the field for the newly competitive party was actually quite competitive and heated.

As always, Minnesota came first, and so it brought in frontrunner Jim Jones. The Mayor of San Francisco was one of the nationally recognizable faces of the Bull Moose Party, fiery populist rhetoric and a minor cult of celebrity from his time as the leader of the People’s Temple Church in the San Francisco area making the rounds. He initially led in the polls by a considerable margin, topping his closest opponent Congressman John Anderson by a whopping 15 points. However, the attempt by Lynnette Fromme at taking President Reagan’s life halted whatever momentum Jones had. Fromme’s former membership at People’s Temple was only tangentially related to Jones at that point in the primary process, but it opened up discussion into shady aspects of the Mayor’s record that caused MN primary voters to give the race a second look.


In the end, the association – however remote and unfair – between Jones and Fromme was too much for the Progressive electorate. Weary for a strong candidate so as to properly promote their young party to the American public, Jones was narrowly defeated by an Anderson surge in the final weeks of the campaign. The Congressman’s performance as a solid and stalwart defender of the Progressive platform in contrast to the fiery Jones at the lone debate appealed to the upper Midwest audience, knocking the previous frontrunner of his perch and making for a competitive summer convention.
I'm hoping for Frank Church to win the Democratic primary and John Anderson to win the Progressive primary. I have no idea who I would have voted for, but they're both good candidates.