President Elect 1988 - Megathread


Ronald Reagan vs George Wallace in 1964. George Wallace got killed 59% to 41%. It was supposed to be Strom Thurmond vs George Wallace, but he wasn't in the game, but he was Reagan's VP, while George Wallace's was supposed to be Sam Yorty.

Sorry for the double post, but here is Udall vs Buckley vs McCarthy. It was insanely close throughout the election, some of the states were (Ohio, Missouri) were split by a few thousand votes. Buckley won.
Udall: 239 EV 43% PV
Buckley: 299 EV 45% PV

McCarthy 0 EV 11 PV

It is now 1980. James Buckley's presidency is beginning to fall apart. Controversy over a failed military intervention into Iran to rescue hostages in the American embassy failed, destroying American prestige abroad. Also, the stagnant 70s have carried on. Jerry Brown would be nominated by the Democrats, supporting a left-libertarian view on politics, compared to the American conservative James Buckley. James Buckley played a strong campaign despite the flaws of his presidency and would eventually close the gap between the nominees. the lack of Mo Udall to bring the Mountain West to the Democrats allowed the Republicans to pick up many states, like Nevada that were lost in 1976, making the EV close too. Eventually, Jerry Brown would win in the now-tight race.

Brown: 307 EV 51% PV
Buckley: 231 EV 49% PV
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The Wizard: Part V

In the end President Glenn's first full term had the appearance of a slow motion avalanche of chaos. Even with the help of Vice President Humphrey, the young President felt somewhat lost amidst the morass of domestic policy agendas and largely left them up to their various secretaries and bureaus.

Glenn made up for this with some fairly brilliant statesmanship abroad, including a nuclear arms reduction treaty with the Soviet Union and a two state solution in the Middle East that led to the creation of Palestine and a general easing of tensions concerning Israel. He also initiated talks with the People's Republic of China, though these were less successful. Secretary of State Robert Kennedy was sent back after a frosty few days in Beijing with nothing to show for it, and the Chinese's self imposed exile from the rest of the world continued.

With the Soviet Union slowly coming down from the terrifying authoritarian heights it had built itself up onto during the rule of Stalin and his successors, the world climate was considerably more relaxed. Even the generals at the SAC weren't quite as worried about a full scale thermonuclear exchange as usual.

But even if Glenn's diplomacy was salve to the world (and his poll numbers) his administration's domestic policy was muddled and relations with a split congress (Democratic House and Republican Senate) frosty at best.

Glenn's biggest success on the domestic front was a twenty year spending package for the US space program. This made the NASF virtually impossible to defund, and was hailed across the country as the final step in the space race.

The Soviets, outgunned and outspent in their own space endeavors, quietly began to move away from space, in search of better propaganda subjects.

Civil Rights was another area where Glenn stumbled rather than succeeded. While he managed to pass a number of bills and Acts that criminalized discrimination based on race, he was not able to match the lofty anti-racist rhetoric that had given him 85% of the black vote in 1972.

All the same, the public battle over Civil Rights was virtually over at this point. Integration was now law in all corners of America, and while some people didn't accept it, they were cracked down upon by federal judges and law enforcement. Glenn, mindful of a deeply simmering mistrust of Civil Rights (as evidenced by the 24% of the vote that Senator Stennis had gotten in 1972) was careful not to antagonize these quietly racist folks, but still enforced Civil Rights rulings as strictly as he dared.

As 1975 began President Glenn was faced with questions from reporters the nation over. 'Will you run for another term?' They asked. Glenn hesitated. Realized that they were right. He could do that if he so wished.

And indeed he spoke of the possibility with Vice President Humphrey and a number of his other cabinet members. For several weeks the Democratic establishment held its breath. Glenn was still young and fairly popular (despite the chaos of his presidency his approval rating in spring of 1975 was hovering around 55%), if he ran then it was likely that he would win.

But instead, after weeks of silence from the White House, Glenn appeared to say that he would not be running for a second full term. Instead he endorsed Vice President Hubert Humphrey for the job, which the long time Senator seemed very pleased by.

As did the Democratic establishment. A few others jumped into the race alongside the popular Vice President, Governor Jerry Brown of California and Senator Mo Udall of Arizona chief among them, but they were largely expected to be blown away.

Until Vice President Humphrey made a fateful appearance on television one day, just before the beginning of the primaries, and announced that he had been diagnosed with cancer. The news was stunning. Although the Vice President suspended his campaign he still won Iowa and New Hampshire based upon write-ins alone.

After a bruising primary battle that ended up being between Udall and Brown, the two main candidates sailed into the convention and promptly deadlocked it. After three indecisive votes, both candidates disappeared into a back room and reemerged two hours later with a deal. Jerry Brown, eccentric governor of California, would become the Democratic nominee, while Udall would serve as his running mate.

The Democratic establishment winced at the nomination of such an amazingly odd figure, but went along with it. Vice President Humphrey appeared at the convention, frail and having lost what remained of his hair, but still smiled and sounded genuinely pleased to endorse Brown and Udall.

President Glenn, establishment through and through, was a little less enthusiastic, but still went through the motions and campaigned for his hopeful successors quite heavily as the election wore on.

The Republican primaries were just as much of a surprise. After the defeat of Gerald Ford and Howard Baker in 1972 the party had a crisis. The liberals and moderates argued fiercely that they had very nearly won (and indeed they had...had one single percentage point of the popular vote switched hands then Ford could have won the election outright) when they had run a moderate, while the conservatives growled that it was time to run another conservative, rather than another set of moderates.

After some bickering and growling, the primaries occurred. And something strange happened. From the back of the pack of candidates, poking his head between those of people like John Ashbrook, Spiro Agnew, William Buckley (Mayor of New York City) and Charles Percy came former Governor Robert Finch of California. A dark horse if there ever was one.

Despite being governor of one of the largest states in the union, Finch had flown under the radar and generated little attention when he announced that he was running for President. With such a crowded Republican field, nobody paid him much mind. And while the other, more high profile men tore at each other, he quietly built a base of support in the early voting states.

And when it came time to vote many newspapers, who had confidently predicted the win going to Ashbrook or Buckley were stunned when Finch won instead. And won again. And again.

Until suddenly a man that very few had paid any attention to was the Republican nominee for President. It wasn't even close, Finch had patiently mopped up his rivals and strolled rather than ran to the convention hall. It was an upset for the ages, a repudiation of the conservatives that stung like hell.

Finch was a moderate and a member of the old guard. He had been friends with Richard Nixon and had managed that man's campaign before the young Vice President's tragic death in 1960. Since then he had served as Governor and then enjoyed private life after a close Senate loss in 1972.

But now he was back. And in keeping with his moderate image he selected Illinois Senator Charles Percy to run alongside him. Percy agreed to this, and on a note of mingled confusion and excitement the general election began.

Immediately it became clear that the two candidates were more than a match for each other. Jerry Brown, bombastic and clear, blew the soft spoken Finch out of the water at the debates, but stumbled and fumbled with an unclear campaigning strategy that left him far behind Finch's well oiled campaigning operation.

Percy and Udall, comrades in the Senate, debated vigorously but cordially in their own debates and with the economy still humming along (but worries of inflation haunting the economic world) both tickets entered the final stretch virtually tied.

For hours both men watched the results come in. States swung and percentages flashed and changed. Finally Ohio and California were the only states left. Far too close to call. Then Ohio flashed blue. Finch's campaign headquarters exploded into cheers, but the man himself was still straight faced. The race wasn't over yet. He had to see how his home state flipped. Torn between two popular governors, one former and one current, the popular vote was close. But finally the state flashed blue. By a margin of perhaps a twentieth of a percentage point, California had voted Republican. Finch had won.

After much fuss and bustle and jargon, the race came to an end on the early morning of November 7th, as Jerry Brown gave a stunned concession speech. He thanked his supporters, Udall doing much the same, and off they went. Back to California and Arizona respectively.

While the Republicans took back the White House. And Finch settled behind the Resolute Desk. He was ready to get to work.

Former Governor Richard Finch/Senator Charles Percy - 316 EV 51% PV
Governor Jerry Brown/Senator Mo Udall - 222 EV 49% PV

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The Wizard: Part VI

Finch was sworn in on a cloudless day, made a calm, pleasant speech, and received much applause. As a dedicated moderate he had campaigned vigorously on the issues of education, healthcare and general reform. Criticizing the Glenn administration's unclear position on these issues, he made it a national priority to focus efforts on these areas.

And for the most part the nation agreed with him. Things were calm overseas, detente with the Soviet Union hung steady, and even the Chinese were showing signs of mellowing out and opening themselves to the world.

It was at this point that Finch began to make enemies. Mostly within his own party. He advocated further federal funding for education, sparking the ire of North Carolina senator Jesse Helms and a cadre of other conservatives who wanted the Department of Education slashed and burned rather than funded and padded.

This only intensified when he expressed sympathy with a toned down national insurance program, very much like the ones that Johnson and Glenn had attempted unsuccessfully to pass in previous years. Whispers began amongst conservatives that Finch was a secret Democrat.

In reality Finch was not totally in favor of the national healthcare and insurance package that he ended up passing in early 1978 (by the slenderest of majorities) but believed that it was inevitable and so did not veto it when the package came to his desk. He signed it and sent it on its way.

Healthcare costs in the United States would promptly drop (and continue to drop, especially after an effort to defund the program was thwarted by a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans) but Finch would be tarred by the growing conservative wing of the party, now increasingly led by Jesse Helms.

When it came to education Finch emphasized the importance of a strong vocational program and issued credits that students could take in order to go to trade schools. He also engaged in a number of high profile battles with teacher's unions, though these were largely inconclusive.

Abroad Finch ramped up foreign aid to drought stricken West Africa and endured a tense few days after North Korean special forces attempted to assassinate the South Korean President. Finch authorized massive war games to occur along the DMZ, though the North did not respond to these.

The biggest diplomatic success of the Finch administration was the signing of a unilateral nuclear arms treaty with the Soviet Union, which shrunk both nations' arsenals by upwards of fifty percent. Going into the midterms Finch appeared to be in good shape.

Then the bottom dropped out of the market. And things promptly went to shit.

The Republican party lost its majority in the House, leaving the Democrats in charge of everything but the presidency. And still the market, which had been shaky for several years, staggered to a halt. Mired by a rapidly growing inflation rate.

This ran contrary to established economic thought, which said that stagnation and inflation could not occur at the same time. Yet it was happening, and the nation slowly began to panic as things did not get better. By mid 1979 the unemployment rate was nearly 8%, with the inflation rate hovering near 13%. Economic growth barely ticked into the positive most quarters, and Finch looked on helplessly.

His apparent paralysis in the face of the economic catastrophe sunk his approval rating nearly forty points in less than six months, leaving him a shadow of the President that he had been before the crash.

In early 1979 he announced that he would not be running for a second term. Vice President Percy followed that by declining to run as well.

Even as the Democratic field grew more and more crowded, the Republican party looked nervously to its roster. Nobody wanted to run. Not when the economic situation was so bleak, and not when a healthy majority of the nation blamed President Finch for not taking extensive action towards solving it (nobody was sure what exactly this action would be, but it had to be extensive).

By the time the primaries began there were only a handful of candidates in the running. Chief amongst them were the arch conservatives Jesse Helms and James Buckley, looking to raise the ragged banner of Goldwater up high and finally carry it to the White House. Slightly behind were more moderate figures, Governor Howard Baker and Senator Larry Pressler. And then there was John Anderson. Eccentric, wild and decidedly liberal in a party that was increasingly unfriendly to liberals, he criticized Helms and Buckley, excoriating the hard right faction of the party for endorsing policies that would only exacerbate the economic problems that the nation was facing.

He did not win the nomination. But somehow he came in second. Far behind Jesse Helms, who seized the nomination and selected fellow far right conservative James Buckley as his running mate. Anderson responded by announcing an independent run. And a healthy portion of the party (including Governor Baker, Minority Leader Ford and an aging Nelson Rockefeller), would quietly support him over the far right Helms.

Indeed, in later years, it would be said that Anderson, not Helms, was the true Republican nominee for 1980.

The Democratic field was far more crowded, and no less chaotic. Leading the field was former Secretary of State Robert F. Kennedy, trailed closely by Senator and former veep nominee Mo Udall, Mississippi governor Cliff Finch (there were just as many jokes about him sharing a name with the President as you think), and a myriad of other minor candidates. By the time it came to the primaries Kennedy only won Iowa with a 28% plurality of the vote.

Slowly the weaker candidates dropped off, with liberals split evenly between Kennedy and Udall and moderates slightly favoring the Arizonan. In the end, after a vicious struggle that nearly ended in a brokered convention, Udall emerged victorious, consigning the creaking Kennedy dynasty to the back rooms for another four years.

Selecting former Florida governor Reuben Askew as his running mate, Udall reached out to Kennedy by promising him Secretary of State. Kennedy accepted.

Coronating himself as the nominee of his own independent party, John Anderson made waves by selecting California representative Pete McCloskey as his running mate. A fellow liberal Republican, McCloskey jumped at the chance to go head to head with Helms and off the three tickets went.

The debates were a travesty. After some finagling Anderson and McCloskey managed to worm their way onto the stage with the rest of the candidates and proceeded to make the 1980 presidential debate (there was only one, due to what happened during it) perhaps the most widely viewed political event of the decade.

Anderson needled Helms. Helms responded by insinuating that Anderson was a homosexual. Udall cracked jokes but was visibly nervous beneath his smile. The moderators gulped and attempted halfheartedly to break up the growing feud between Anderson and Helms, but it was almost like trying to untangle two pieces of cacti. You just don't want to get your fingers too close.

Udall was asked about affirmative action and said that he supported it. Helms said that he wanted to end it. Anderson insinuated that Helms was a racist. Helms denied this. Anderson brought up Helms' time at Capitol Broadcasting and quoted him unerringly on his views about 'the Negro'.

Udall reached out to break up the fight but Helms promptly leapt from behind his podium and swung a punch at Anderson, who dodged. The debate ended there. Nobody ever decided who had won, though Anderson's polling did go up and Helms was roundly criticized. His support amongst the far right skyrocketed however.

The Vice Presidential debate was calmer, but not by much. Askew was largely considered to have won, largely on the strength of his closing statement, in which he related his experience as governor of a southern state and his role in healing racial tensions there.

Going into election day the polling displayed dramatic differences from day to day, some estimating Anderson at having upwards of twenty percent of the vote, others placing hm as winning the election outright.

When the ballots were all counted and the election over, the nation stared in shock. Somehow Anderson had managed to win a quartet of states, becoming the first third party candidate to do that in several election cycles. When asked if he was planning on making his party permanent he merely shrugged. And somewhere far away, Jesse Helms stewed.

Senator Mo Udall/Former Governor Reuben Askew - 399 EV 40% PV
Senator Jesse Helms/Senator James Buckley - 77 EV 31% PV
Representative John Anderson/Representative Pete McCloskey - 62 EV 29% PV

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The Wizard: Part VII

President Udall took office in the middle of the worst economic calamity to strike the United States since the Great Depression. With Democratic supermajorities in both houses of congress, and a liberal supreme court, he busily began to pass his agenda.

This included public works programs, an expansion of the Finch era education reforms, and a general overhaul of the American banking system. Abroad, buffeted by crashing oil prices, the Soviet Union began to destabilize. Premier Kosygin quietly disappeared one day, with the Politburo issuing a cryptic message about cancer. Briefly thereafter riots began to erupt in Eastern Europe.

Secretary of State Kennedy soon found himself jetting to Moscow quite frequently, to engage in nerve wracking conferences with what seemed like a new Soviet government every few weeks.

By early 1982, with the economic situation hardly any better than it had been when he first took office, Udall found himself in considerable political danger. Working with a bipartisan coalition of congressmen, he passed a number of comprehensive tax reform planks, simplifying the tax code for millions of Americans.

Arguably this, combined with the collapse of the Soviet Union in September of 1982, kept his presidency from collapsing altogether. Democratic losses in the midterms were virtually nonexistent and Udall flew to Moscow in the new year to speak with a Mr. Gorbachev, the new 'democratic' leader of Russia.

Widespread chaos throughout the former Soviet Union was narrowly averted by skillful diplomacy from Secretary of State Kennedy and many other world leaders, who worked to bring Russia back into the world at large.

All the same, the economic situation in Russia would remain quite dire for the rest of the '80s. But as bad as it got, the people did not vote for the communists in the next election. Or the one after that. Preferring instead to give democracy (flawed as it was) a chance.

This boon to Udall's presidency was soured however by his diagnosis with Parkinson's disease. This effectively ended any chance of him running for reelection, and he announced as much in early 1973, leaving the race for the Democratic nomination wide open.

Not many people were eager to step forward however. Though the economic situation had definitely improved from the dire straits of 1980, unemployment still hovered around 9% and economic growth was sluggish.

Stepping into the fray almost immediately was Secretary of State Robert Kennedy, youngest of the three Kennedy brothers and the second to run for President (Ted was entirely content to remain in the Senate). He challenged Vice President Reuben Askew and a number of other minor candidates. And due to his role in guiding Russia out from under the shadow of communism, he won with ease.

The Republican nomination was harder. At first it seemed that John Anderson would run, but those hopes were thwarted by the man announcing that he was retiring from politics in order to care for his wife, who had been diagnosed with leukemia in late 1982. This left the nomination up for grabs between a cadre of Republicans, including Texas Senator George H.W. Bush, former governor of Tennessee Howard Baker and Representative Jack Kemp of New York.

After a hard struggle Kemp took the nomination and named primary rival George H.W. Bush as his running mate. Kennedy ended up selecting Minnesota Senator Walter Mondale, a safe but decidedly bland option.

Kennedy pledged to continue Udall's economic policies and to bring an era of global responsibility and peace as President while Kemp espoused free market capitalism and tax cuts for the middle class.

The race was tight, with many people undecided. But in the end Kennedy's superior name recognition and charisma won the day. Kemp was sent back to New York in defeat (but with his head still held high), while Kennedy, just shy of his sixtieth birthday, ascended to the presidency.

Secretary of State Robert F. Kennedy/Senator Walter Mondale - 342 EV 52% PV
Representative Jack Kemp/Senator George H.W. Bush - 196 EV 48% PV

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Does anyone besides me think that the list of candidates that the computer knows is rather weird? I mean, they have Jay Nixon, but no Agnew or Romney, John Glenn, but not Frank Church, and Byrd, but not Thurmond.



George Bush / Dan Quayle (Republican) - 308 EVs, 45,719,100 (49% PV)
Joseph Biden / Paul Simon (Democratic) - 230 EVs, 45,719,100 (47% PV)
John Anderson / ??? (Libertarian) - 0 EVs, 3,576,744 (4% PV)
I ran Humphrey as a Republican and Nixon as a Democrat in 1968, with everything else the same. Yes, you read that right. Somehow, Nixon still won.

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You can run anyone in the game, be it Obama, Washington, Lincoln, Trump or whoever (just type in their name, their positions, attributes etc); that list is simply those candidates that the computer automatically recognises.

You can also run, in essence, post-1988 or pre-1960 scenarios if you type in the correct economic statistics, state of war or peace etc.

You know what he means-they're the names that the game recognizes automatically.
A Generally Alternate Election Cycle: Part I (1960)
Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson enters the 1960 Democratic nomination race early in its conception and begins campaigning in early 1959, exactly following what his advisor Jim Rowe urged him to do. He is able to solidly win the nomination against Senator Kennedy and names him as his vice presidential candidate, wanting to gain more support in the Northern states as JFK wanted to do with the nomination of Johnson as his VP in the Southern states in OTL. The Republican nomination is the same; Nixon and Lodge are named as the Republican nominees. This is the result:

Vice President Richard Nixon/Former Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. (Republican) - 322 EVs
Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson/Senator John F. Kennedy (Democratic) - 215 EVs