No Southern Strategy: The Political Ramifications of an Alternate 1964 Election


What the hell is this?

In the beginning, there was me. Hadn't slept in like 24 hours, and made a crappy infobox on a whim. Then came Dr. Gonzo, who force fed me enough ideas and sleeping meds that I felt like a new man, and actually expanded this idea into a full fledge TL (sort of). As you can see on this beautiful cover page, it's a timeline told through wikibox, and not deranged sketches.

Are you getting reality mixed up with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?

Well I haven't seen any giant lizard people, so I don't think so.

This also seems suspiciously similar to something lord caedus did just a little bit ago, have you no shame?

I've not a clue what you mean.

So when's this gonna end.

When we run out of ideas or feel it a good place to stop. Basically, whenever.
Aw man, I'm so glad you expanded that wikibox series into a full timeline. Let's bring on the new conservative revolution, baby!
Wait, is this going to be a narrative timeline in the style of Icarus Falls or Gonzo's own timeline, Eastland Rises In The Westland?
Update 1: 1964 Presidential election
The political world was shocked as two Southern Democratic Governors, Ross Barnett of Mississippi and George Wallace of Alabama, teamed up to revive the States Rights Democratic Party label on August 17th. Johnson himself dismissed them as fools, but privately worried about how far their popularity in the South could go. The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in July had met with resistance from twenty Southern Democratic Senators, with only one in favor (Senator Yarborough from Johnson's Texas), and with resistance from eighty-seven Southern Democratic Representatives, compared to only seven in favor.

Some speculated Johnson would lose not only the South, but the whole election. The fears of 1948 deadlocking the Presidential election, and forcing both Democratic and Republicans to kowtow to the demands of Dixie were all to real throughout the next three months, and then election day came. Barnett might not have been a particularly inspiring candidate, but his running mate Wallace made up for it with loud theatrical displays, shown across the nation, where he attacked Johnson, the Civil Rights Act, and even the late President Kennedy.

The polls and speculation showed every kind of map under the sun. "Johnson loses Texas!" "Goldwater wins 400 E. votes!" "Electoral College to be Deadlocked!" "Goldwater to lose Arizona, rest of west!" were just a few headlines that ran across August, September, October, and early November. The amount of effort poured into beating Goldwater was nearly eclipsed by that poured into holding the once Solid South.

No one, not the President nor any of the major news organisations, could believe what the results were at first.


Despite their hard campaigning, it was revealed the support for the Dixiecrats was more akin to a few deep puddles then an ocean. Interestingly, they won the exact same 4 states as previous Dixiecrat challenger, Strom Thurmond, did in 1948. Thurmond was one of a few Southerners who not only endorsed them, but worked in getting them his states votes. They won more then three times the popular vote as he did, doing better in nearly every Southern state that Thurmond didn't win sixteen years ago, but they could only win these same four states. Lousiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina. The states Johnson won in the South, sans Georgia where Goldwater made decent inroads, he won by a strong margin.

Barry Goldwater became the first major party nominee to lose every single state in the country. Even his home state Arizona voted against him by a margin of just 137 votes. Even in 1936, the last time a Democrat had won both over 500 electoral votes and his opponents state, the Republican's had at least won a couple of states in their tradition bastion of New England. Not so this year. Goldwater did not run for his Senate seat, which was narrowly won by fellow Republican Paul Fannin, and after the stress of this campaign he decided not to fight his way back to office after Carl Hayden retired in 1968. Longtime Goldwater ally Stephen Shadegg instead contested the election and won that seat.

Johnson, meanwhile, had the satisfaction of further emulating FDR. He had a ubiquitous set of initials, a massive victory over his opponents, and now all he had to do was win a foreign war and get some liberal legislation out. Things were looking very good for Lyndon Johnson right then and there.
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The comparison between 1964 and 1936 is certainly valid. It'll be interesting to see how opinion polls and electoral predictions in general are trusted, as they've failed at least four times (1936, 1948, 1952, 1964) already. And this is quite a good TL already. Especially since I already know some spoilers from both the inbox thread and Nofix's inbox thread:D.

Wait, is this going to be a narrative timeline in the style of Icarus Falls or Gonzo's own timeline, Eastland Rises In The Westland?

More in the style of lord caedus's A True October Surprise, which I recommend you check out.

The comparison between 1964 and 1936 is certainly valid. It'll be interesting to see how opinion polls and electoral predictions in general are trusted, as they've failed at least four times (1936, 1948, 1952, 1964) already. And this is quite a good TL already. Especially since I already know some spoilers from both the inbox thread and Nofix's inbox thread:D.


"Polls" might as well be re-written to spell "guessing" at this point.

No spoilers ya hear!

Sweet merciful Jesus -- 503 EVs for Johnson!? Oh boy.

I know right? No one expected that even as late as the polls closing.


The reason there wasn't a Southern Run of any meaningful sort on 1964, as opposed to 1948, 1960 and 1968, was because Goldwater's ideology was the basis of the Republican platform. There was enough "Law and Order" in it that George Wallace, who was very publicly talking about running as a third party candidate if both parties embraced Civil Rights platforms, bowed out. To avoid this very sort of thing from happening.

Either Goldwater needs to be a completely different person, the Southern Democratic establishment needs to be a bunch of idiots that they sadly weren't, or someone other than Goldwater needs to be the GOP nominee, which in turn means the GOP would inherently do better as they wouldn't be burning so many of the old bridges.

As is, this isn't possible. And I'd highly recommend reading Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus by Rick Perlstein before you do a 1964 timeline, its more or less required reading.
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But in that case the GOP will at least keep its core support outside the South. It will certainly not be shut out of the Electoral College.

Indeed, Lodge, Romney, Nixon, even divorcee Rockefeller would have been able to at least maintain some of the traditional GOP support areas in the Mountain States, Northern New England, California, etc.
Ouch. You surely bash hard the GOP here. Even worse of the Democratic failures of Emperor Julian's TL, to make a comparison.

I will not be excessively happy for Johnson, through - when Dixieland votes against mainstream, everyone may image how it could end...
OMG I love this TL so far! :D Can't wait to see what happens next. Landslide Lyndon did even better than OTL! (And YES I'm aware that was the mocking nickname he was given after he "won" the 1948 Senate election, but now he's actually got a REAL landslide, so :p) Yay!! Subscribed.
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Update 2: 1965 NYC mayoral election
Things appeared to be going well for the Republican Party, especially in New York City. The party which had now seemingly bounced back from it's crushing and humiliating defeat the year before now seemed poised to take the Mayoral election decisively for the first time since Fiorello LaGuardia nearly two decades before. The party had nominated the handsome, liberal, clean and somewhat competent John Lindsay - surely the people of the Big Apple would flock to this ideal candidate?

Lindsay also seemed certain to gain the Liberal Party nomination due to no one of any real name recognition running for the nomination besides the odd perennial candidates. The Democrats had surprisingly snubbed City Comptroller in favour of the liberal 'real Democrat' Lawrence E. Gerosa who had ran on the 'Citizens' third party ticket last time round. The Republican candidate appeared to be slowly shuffling towards the finish line as the Democratic Party descended into a round of infighting between conservatives and liberals.

The entry of two big name candidates into the Liberal and Conservative nominations helped to turn the race on it's head. Conservative author and commentator, William F. Buckley announced he would be running on the newly founded Conservative Party of New York State ticket. The entry from the political wilderness and hibernation of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jr. helped ensure that Lindsay would lose the Liberal Party' backing (he lost it to FDR, Jr. by a 52-47-1 margin.)

Lindsay and the Republicans hurriedly shifted their campaign to the centre and painted Lindsay as the moderate middle of the road candidate as opposed to the other three candidates who were painted by the Lindsay campaign as dangerous demagogues. Buckley continued to climb in polls when he attacked Lindsay in the debates and performed well by sticking to his message of relieving traffic congestion by introducing a congestion charge for cars to enter the city and a network of bike lanes helped win him some plaudits.

Buckley avoided the unusual campaign style he initially opted for which essentially would kill off most votes by stating he had no intention to win. Instead Buckley maintained his message attacking Lindsay’s move to set up a civilian review board for the New York Police Department.

Polls showed that Buckley and Lindsay had separated from the other two candidates - some polls, newspapers and pundits predicted a very close race. In the end the margin of victory was larger than expected; but Buckley still felt vindicated in restoring momentum to the conservative movement after being shut out of the electoral college a mere year before.


Lindsay was victorious in three of the five boroughs of the city - winning Queens, Manhattan and (rather surprisingly due to vote splitting) Brooklyn. Buckley won Statsen Island by a mere few hundred votes over Lindsay while Gerosa won the traditionally Democratic Bronx borough.

Lindsay and the Republicans could wipe the sweat away for now; but the Conservatives would be back and next time they could have a winning candidate; in the form of Bill Buckley’s attorney brother James.