President Elect 1988 - Megathread

Skippy Loves Anderson! Results, Table III

Here's the third table of results.

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No Jack or Dick - Election of 1960 (Part I)
Both Senator John F. Kennedy and Vice President Richard Nixon decide not to run in the 1960 elections.


Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson (D–TX) / Senator Stuart Symington (D–MO) – 342 EVs – 31,352,140 – 52.85%
Governor Nelson Rockefeller (R–NY) / Senator Everett M. Dirksen (R–IL) – 195 EVs – 27,867,476 – 46.97%
Senator Barry Goldwater (IR–AZ) / Governor John H. Reed (IR–ME) – 0 EVs – 107,214 – 0.18%
No Jack or Dick - Election of 1964 (Part II)
President Johnson has narrowly beaten the Soviet Union in the Space Race despite the death of Alan Shepard in 1961, whose failure was quickly re-compensated by John Glenn, who became the first American man in Earth's orbit. He has also attempted to re-install American influence in Castro-controlled Cuba starting with the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961, which quickly culminated in the Cuban War (196166). The war has continued into the 1964 election, with many Americans beginning to demand an end to the war on both sides of the political spectrum.

Domestically, Johnson has taken a rather neutral stance on civil rights and has avoided any major push for civil rights legislation, much to the pleasure of his fellow Southern Democrats. The March on Washington in 1963 has certainly affected Johnson's stance on the issue however, and he promises to pass a civil rights bill in Congress if elected to a second term in office. The economy has mainly stayed the same since the end of Eisenhower's term, although the brief recession has subsided, which has resulted in a decrease in unemployment and a slight increase in economic growth.


President Lyndon B. Johnson (D–TX) / Vice President Stuart Symington (D–MO) – 513 EVs – 37,461,176 – 59.45%
Governor William Scranton (R–PA) / Fmr. Secretary of the Treasury Robert B. Anderson (R–TX) – 25 EVs – 25,546,680 – 40.54%
Right Wing Extremist (Part I)

The defeat of Democratic senator Ralph Yarborough in 1964 was a stupendous upset of grand proportions, and one that elevated George H.W. Bush to the very forefront of the Republican party. In the Senate he took a moderate tack and supported President Johnson's Civil Rights legislation, while arguing presently in favor of spending cuts and a muscular foreign policy. By the time the 1968 primary season began there was some talk of Bush being selected as Richard Nixon's running mate.

Then the Californian dropped dead on the morning of the convention, leaving the party in shock. Immediately Nelson Rockefeller, George Romney and Ronald Reagan sprang up as possible replacements. But each of them had their own flaws, and soon it became apparent that deadlock was imminent if a compromise could not be found. After the first ballot forced the Republicans into a brokered convention for the first time since 1948, George H.W. Bush was seized upon by the moderate wing of the party. As a southerner he had rapport with that element of the party, as a moderate he earned the unconditional support of the Romney and Rockefeller factions, and as an economic conservative he received begrudging support from Ronald Reagan and Strom Thurmond as well (even if Thurmond had to be cajoled into supporting anyone who favored Civil Rights).

Bush selected Michigan governor George Romney as his running mate and set off to face Lyndon Johnson, who had survived a grueling primary battle by the skin of his teeth and looked haggard. The Democrats were split, the war in Vietnam was grinding on and on, and in the south George Wallace decried both Bush and Johnson as 'false southerners' and declared his own independent candidacy.

The election was brutal. Johnson employed all manner of dirty tricks against the Republican ticket, while Bush emphasized law and order rhetoric and pledged to continue Johnson's work on Civil Rights. When Election Day finally arrived, polling was virtually tied and nobody knew what to expect. Texas went to Johnson, Michigan to Bush, New York and California to Johnson, the entire West to Bush...Mississippi and Alabama to Wallace.

Until...suddenly, shockingly, the final votes were in. And nobody had reached 270 electoral votes. Bush had fallen two votes short and was sitting at 268, while Johnson held a slight lead in the popular vote but fewer electors. Wallace clutched to his electors greedily and announced that he'd be seeing the two candidates in the House.

With the Democrats holding hefty majorities in both the House and the Senate, the results were of no surprise to anyone. In December Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey were reelected, bypassing negotiations with Wallace entirely.

It didn't take long for chaos to erupt.

President Lyndon B. Johnson/Vice President Hubert Humphrey - 253 EV 45% PV
Senator George H.W. Bush/Governor George Romney - 268 EV 44% PV
Governor George Wallace/General Curtis LeMay - 17 EV 11% PV



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No Jack or Dick - Election of 1968 (Part III)
October 7, 1966. Rochester, New York. President Lyndon Johnson, while traveling in an open motorcade with his wife and the Vice President, was critically wounded by an unknown assassin from a nearby warehouse. He was pronounced dead just minutes after rushing to a nearby hospital, and Vice President Stuart Symington was inaugurated while aboard Air Force One traveling back to Washington, D.C. The first agenda he immediately inherited from the Johnson administration was the Cuban War. Fortunately for Symington, the war was on its last legs as the Cuban nation was largely occupied by American troops and the Soviets were willing to negotiate a peace treaty, which was exactly what happened. In December of 1966, the Treaty of Annapolis was signed and Cuba returned under the influence of the Americans, while in return the U.S. agreed to retract its ballistic Jupiter missiles in Italy and Turkey.

Domestically, the Civil Rights Act of 1967 proved to dominate most of the American legislature during Symington's Presidency, as its passing in the House proved to be extremely difficult due to the successful filibusters of Southern Democrats and socially conservative Republicans. However, the bill was eventually narrowly passed in both the House and Senate by the end of 1967 and was signed into law by President Symington on November 22, 1967, effectively banning public segregation. In response to this "federal overreach", a large minority of Southern Democratic governors and legislators went so far as to abandon the Democratic Party altogether and form the far-right American Patriot Party, which promised to its voters a "re-establishment of common American rights" and "the protection of the individual's right to every law in the Constitution". Other than the Civil Rights Act, Symington decreased income taxes, established free school meals and eye tests across America's schools, and reformed Social Security with bills establishing a rather primitive version of Medicaid and Medicare, thanks to the actions of outspoken conservatives in the House and Senate.

The Civil Rights Act unfortunately did little to quell the rapidly rising counter-culture of America's youth, however. Inspired by their grueling experience in the Cuban War, young American veterans from the guerrilla war became prominent advocates of the New Left, which advocated for detente with the Soviet Union and a greater emphasis on social justice. Once prominent African-American activist Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed in Memphis, Tennessee in April 1968, all hell seemingly broke lose. Race riots sprang up across major Northern cities such as Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia while the issue of police brutality to racial minorities became all too apparent, as policemen resorted to using weapons such as guard dogs, tear gas, and rubber bullets against the rioters. Due to this large amount of racial violence and due to personal health problems, President Symington begrudgingly declined any attempts at re-election in 1968, leaving both the Democratic and Republican fields wide open.


Senator Eugene McCarthy (D–MN) / Senator Edmund S. "Ed" Muskie (D–ME) – 107 EVs 28,504,888 – 43.49%
Governor Ronald Reagan (R–CA) / General William Westmoreland (R–SC) – 424 EVs 31,334,258 – 47.81%
Senator James O. Eastland (AP–MS) / Fmr. Governor Marvin Griffin (D–GA) – 7 EVs – 5,697,138 – 8.69%

Right Wing Extremist (Part II)

President Johnson reacted to his narrow victory with typical bravado, but more than a little nervousness. The election had been amongst the closest in American history and many, including virtually the entire Republican Party, were absolutely furious that the House had handed Johnson his reelection. Bush, they said, had won more electoral votes and far more states (thirty one to Johnson's seventeen and Wallace's two) and was thusly more deserving of the presidency.

Bush himself disavowed such talk, saying that Johnson had won the popular vote (albeit by less than two hundred thousand ballots) but was very careful to maintain that he had very nearly pulled a marvelous upset against the man who had won sixty percent of the vote only four years previous. This guaranteed that his popularity amongst the party base remained largely intact, as did his friendship with George Romney and the other centrist Republicans.

Johnson's second full term went much like his first and was dominated by domestic tensions and the situation in Vietnam. Senator Robert Kennedy remained a stubborn opponent of the President's foreign policy and repeatedly called for an end to the quagmire in southeast Asia, though nothing much happened in Vietnam except for more bloodshed with very little to show for it. Tensions with the Soviets remained, relations with China declined and race riots continued to tear American cities apart as the battle for Civil Rights continued.

The 1970 midterms were good for the Republican Party, although both houses of congress remained in the hands of the Democrats. By the time the 1972 primaries rolled around it was very apparent that the Democrats were a wounded party, with a vaguely unpopular incumbent and a nation wracked with internal troubles and a bloody war abroad. The Republicans chafed for action, and their bench was deep. Ronald Reagan declared his candidacy first, followed closely by George H.W. Bush, Charles Percy and a raft of others. The primary season was long and competitive, but no candidate had the name recognition that Reagan and Bush possessed and the race quickly shrank down to a fight between the two men. Jokingly calling himself 'a reformed right wing extremist', Bush painted Reagan as being far too conservative for the country and managed to snag the nomination for the second time in a row. Reagan and the conservatives were miffed, but supported Bush regardless, knowing that party unity would be important if they wished to defeat the Democrats. Bush selected Michigan moderate Gerald Ford as his running mate and settled in for a long election season.

Meanwhile, the Democratic race quickly boiled down to three main candidates, those being Vice President Humphrey, Senator Robert Kennedy and Governor George Wallace. Humphrey ended up winning by the skin of his teeth (due to some fairly shady help from the White House) but was forced to select progressive Senator George McGovern as his running mate by the Kennedy wing of the party. Wallace decided to run an independent campaign in protest and so the election began.

From the very beginning Bush held a lead, but as rumors of a ceasefire in Vietnam swirled, that lead quickly shrunk. By the time the election rolled around polling suggested that once again the election was a virtual tie.

Bush won Texas this time around (much to President Johnson's chagrin) and this allowed him to narrowly seize the presidency, a prize that had evaded him just four years before. Humphrey conceded the race with good cheer and wished Bush the best. George H.W. Bush settled into the Oval Office, Vice President Ford by his side, and got right to work.

Senator George H.W. Bush/Minority Leader Gerald Ford - 297 EV 45% PV
Vice President Hubert Humphrey/Senator George McGovern - 241 EV 45% PV
Governor George Wallace/Businessman Maurice Bettinger - 0 EV 10% PV



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Right Wing Extremist (Part III)

President Bush's term was rocky from the very start, with the war in Vietnam staggering into an uncertain ceasefire in 1974 and Laos and Cambodia falling to radical communist dictatorships not too long afterwards. China and the Soviet Union engaged in a brief shooting war over Mongolia before agreeing to a status quo antebellum peace treaty that was signed in Helsinki in 1975. This effectively marked the death of the Sino-Soviet agreement that had seen the two nations become an important communist juggernaut. But even as the communist bloc was splintered in the east, it grew stronger in the west, with communist coups in Ethiopia, Greece and Portugal that seemed to set the world on its head.

The world, as Alabama governor George Wallace said gravely in late 1975, was on fire, and America was doing nothing to stop it. The Spanish tested a nuclear weapon and were sanctioned by the UN for their efforts, Cambodia bled and bled under the brutal rule of the Khmer Rouge, and China itself seemed to have gone dark. Tensions simmered steadily between the Soviet Union and NATO and more people than ever believed that a thermonuclear exchange was likely.

At home President Bush faced increasing opposition from the conservative wing of the GOP, who demanded tax and budget cuts of monstrous proportions. They were unhappy with Bush's support of Civil Rights policies and the ongoing Vietnam intervention (which though it had so far resulted in the survival of South Vietnam, had also killed nearly fifty thousand Americans). The economy was shaky and perhaps the only thing that kept Bush's presidency afloat was the fact that the Democrats were completely splintered.

Two consecutive independent runs by Wallace had siphoned many conservatives from the ranks of the Democrats, and amongst those that remained was a fierce schism between moderates (led by Hubert Humphrey) and progressives (led by Humphrey's former running mate George McGovern). McGovern advocated Henry Wallace style policies and racial justice. Humphrey advocated a more measured approach. Former President Johnson died of a heart attack, Ted Kennedy was killed in a car wreck (allegedly under the influence at the time of the crash) and Robert Kennedy resigned from the Senate and went to mourn his loss.

The world seemed to be spinning free of its axis by the time Bush declared his intentions to run for reelection. The smart money said that he would lose. His approval rating hadn't topped 50% in nearly a year, unemployment was touching 8% and inflation was rising steadily. All the same he was renominated, after facing a surprisingly tough battle against North Carolina senator Jesse Helms, who was tacitly backed by Reagan and other GOP conservatives.

The Democratic contest was more chaotic. Many had expected Robert Kennedy to take the nomination, but the man was in mourning and refused to have anything to do with politics. George Wallace, having softened his stance on racial issues and playing more upon economic fears this time around, leapt into the fray and gained a vast following. Wallace was an outsider, and in a year where record numbers of people were disappointed by the establishment (both inside the White House and out), his call to arms was manna from heaven.

Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern briefly made peace to stop Wallace but quickly fell into infighting. This only stopped when Humphrey was diagnosed with cancer and reluctantly left the race. Wallace narrowly clinched the nomination on the first ballot. The Democratic Party froze in horror. McGovern refused to endorse Wallace and sat the election out. Many other party elites followed suit.

Suddenly the Libertarian Party seemed an entirely valid option by people alienated by the ineffective Bush and the extremist Wallace. John Hospers, returning as the party nominee for a second time in a row, softened his stances and practiced his speeches. Surreptitiously lent money and organizers by elites from both sides of the aisle, his profile quickly grew.

The election was hideous. Wallace had stones thrown at him by black audiences in New York, Bush was nearly assassinated in Alabama. Attack ads blared from the televisions and radios. The debates were cancelled. The polls were virtually tied. Then it happened. A rebellion bloodied the streets of Warsaw and for a moment it seemed that the Soviets had lost control of Poland.

Bush declared his support for the revolutionaries. The Kremlin denounced him. Tanks blasted the cause of freedom into shreds. Poland returned to its place behind the Iron Curtain. Bush made fiery speeches. His polls rose slightly. The election happened...and it was just enough. Bush won his reelection narrowly. Wallace contested the results and riots rippled across a dozen cities.

But the end result was still the same. The right wing extremist had won himself a second term over a real extremist. Millions quietly sighed in relief. Then the economy collapsed as Bush was being sworn in for a second time, and things quickly got worse.

President George H.W. Bush/Vice President Gerald Ford - 355 EV 43% PV
Governor George Wallace/Governor Dan Walker - 183 EV 42% PV
Author John Hospers/Lawyer Ed Clark - 0 EV 15% PV

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Right Wing Extremist (Part IV)

The Great Recession, as it would come to be known, was the foremost issue of President Bush's second term. With the world economy in free fall Bush was faced with rising unemployment, skyrocketing inflation and a general malaise that hadn't been seen in the United States since the darkest days of the Great Depression. The Democrats won supermajorities in both houses of congress in the 1978 midterms, Iran fell to a theocratic Islamic junta, and shortly thereafter radicals seized both the American and Soviet embassies in Tehran.

Bush, against the advice of his cabinet officers, did something unexpected and reached out to the Soviets, seeing an opportunity to thaw (however temporarily) the increasingly frosty relations that existed between the two superpowers. He proposed a joint rescue mission that would liberate both embassies. But though the Soviet leadership was sympathetic to Bush's proposal, in the end the fears of the KGB won out and in early 1979, less than a month after the initial assault on the embassies, Soviet troops invaded Iran.

Spetsnaz were dropped into Tehran to liberate the embassies and while they succeeded in saving the majority of the hostages, nearly fifty American and Russian citizens were killed. Controversy clouded the entire operation, the theocrats were chased out of power and a general insurgency simmered against the Soviet invasion force.

President Bush entered 1980 with a 28% job approval rating and declined to make an endorsement of anyone seeking the party nomination. Vice President Ford elected not to run, and neither did many of the other party elites. Jack Kemp ended up seizing the nomination, backed by the conservative wing of the party and Reagan in particular. Kemp blamed the economic troubles on Bush's lack of conservative economic credentials and espoused a policy of supply side economics should he be elected.

The Democratic nomination was uglier. After the Wallace fiasco of the previous cycle Dixiecrats were virtually expelled from the party. Robert Kennedy was asked to run but said no. Mo Udall, George McGovern and a dozen others jumped into the race and carried the whole mess to the convention, where it was promptly deadlocked. Sick of the pandemonium and chaos, a handful of delegates voted for Hawaii senator Daniel Inouye, impressed by his calmness in the face of the stark divisions that split his party.

The movement quickly grew and in the space of three ballots the surprised Hawaiian found himself accepting the party's nomination. He immediately went to work selecting a running mate and after conferring with the other candidates (some of whom were miffed that the party had overtly rejected them) he settled on John Glenn of Ohio, a liberal and inoffensive choice that was broadly pleasing to the base.

Inouye, a powerful and accomplished senator, quickly set to work dismantling Kemp in the friendliest way possible. Kemp, who had great respect for Inouye, kept the election friendly as well, despite the massive polling deficit he was working to close. The result of the election was never in doubt, and on Election Day Daniel Inouye became the first Japanese-American President of the United States by a truly enormous margin.

Kemp conceded gracefully, and Bush left the White House with a distinct sense of relief.

Senator Daniel Inouye/Senator John Glenn - 519 EV 58% PV
Representative Jack Kemp/Representative John Anderson - 19 EV 42% PV

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Right Wing Extremist (Part V)

President Inouye took office in the strongest position of any Democratic President since Franklin Roosevelt. And he didn't waste his advantages, passing additional stimulus bills and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs to counteract the economic crisis gripping the nation. Inouye's anti-inflation efforts were more controversial and less effective, but both unemployment and inflation sank marginally as his term went on.

The Soviets withdrew from Iran, having installed a socialist government, only to have their creation toppled by American backed Iraqi forces when Saddam Hussein decided to invade his foe and take advantage of their weakness. Hussein's action invited retaliation from the Soviet Union and when Inouye opted to stand and face the Soviets the world was placed on the precipice. For nearly a week the fate of civilization seemed to hang in the balance, both sides readying their missiles in case things went sour. But finally, with United Nations backing, a compromise was reached. Iraqi forces would leave Iran, as would Soviet advisors. The people of Iran would be left to elect a government for themselves, which they did with a minimum of outside meddling.

Inouye's handling of the crisis was widely praised and though the situation in the American protectorate of South Vietnam remained grim, Inouye's foreign policy was seen as overall effective.

It wasn't surprising when Inouye announced his intention to run for reelection. He was fairly popular and had accomplished many things in his term, making use of the Democratic supermajorities that the economic crisis had produced. With unemployment beginning to ease and inflation down to 9% from a high of 20%, Inouye was in a good position. Both him and Vice President Glenn were renominated easily.

The Republican nomination was similarly bland, with Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee winning by a hefty margin over Jesse Helms, Dan Quayle and a handful of others. He selected Senator Paul Laxalt of Nevada as his running mate and went to face Inouye.

The polls never favored Baker, but he was able to turn what should have been a repeat of 1980 into a fairly competitive race. Inouye won a comfortable victory, retaining his supermajorities (just barely) and settled in to further his agenda.

President Daniel Inouye/Vice President John Glenn - 364 EV 54% PV
Senator Howard Baker/Senator Paul Laxalt - 174 EV 46% PV

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Extremism Has Every Vice – Election of 1960 (Part I)
After the end of the tumultuous, risk-taking, mindless, fervently anti-Communist and sometimes even nail-bitingly-close-to-nuclear-fallout Presidency of notorious anti-Red Republican Joseph McCarthy (1953–61), America was ready to calm down tensions between itself and the Soviet Union after what was considered by many Americans as one of the most controversial - at the least - presidencies the nation had ever faced. McCarthy had not only banned the Communist Party and had used his executive power to root out any and every suspected Communist on White House property, but he had actively encouraged a series of scandals, rapid tensions, and minor and major skirmishes that had rapidly heated up the Cold War.

It had all started with the end of the Korean War in 1954 and the beginning of the second in 1957. While McCarthy had certainly encouraged peace in the region for the first one, for the second one he had simply stated that "he wanted to fully assert U.S. dominance in a region that is half-controlled by Communists", basically code words for an unjustified invasion of the Korean Peninsula. The war was rather quick to say the least, as North Korean and Soviet troops didn't expect that America would re-invade its borders. But once the Peninsula was fully "secured" for the Americans by late 1958, Chinese troops came pouring in and this time threatened to take over the entire peninsula for the name of inglorious communism. To the McCarthy administration, this simply wouldn't do. Tensions rapidly heated between the U.S., China, and the Soviets, as America and its allies continued to send troop after troop, boy after boy to the peninsula in a half-hearted attempt to quickly end the war before things had gotten worse - but of course, they were already worse. It didn't help that the failed Hungarian Revolution of 1956 further convinced the Soviets that diplomacy with the capitalists were futile at this point.

But finally, by the end of 1959 and the beginning of 1960, the Americans finally pulled out of Korea for the second and last time, and tensions with the Soviets slightly cooled down (with a major emphasis on slightly). McCarthy's approval ratings were...abysmally negative, to say the least, and the Republicans were given a terrible hand in the 1958 midterms with the Democratic majority in both houses being further stabilized. This gave the Democrats a significant amount of hope in the 1960 elections, but the main issue at hand was to choose which candidate should win the White House in particular...

The early front-runners for the Democratic and Republican Party primaries were Senator C. Estes Kefauver of Tennessee and Vice President Richard Nixon of California respectively. Kefauver, a Southern liberal populist and the 1956 VP nominee for the Democratic ticket, was already immensely popular among the liberal New Deal wing of the Democratic Party and had begun campaigning for the 1960 elections as early as May of 1959; while VP Richard Nixon was relatively young, a moderate conservative who could appeal to almost every wing of the GOP, and despite being McCarthy's VP had quickly distanced himself from McCarthy's anti-Red radicalism.

However, trouble for the Democratic Party quickly arose in March of 1960. After the New Hampshire primaries had proven that Kefauver was basically assured to become the Democratic nominee in 1960, he died of an aneurysm later in the month. This quickly shook the liberal wing of the Democrats, and they proposed Senator Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota as a semi-competent alternative to the Tennessee Senator. While Humphrey certainly had his own level of appeal, he had nowhere near the level of undying support that Kefauver had, but he still managed to narrowly win enough delegates in the primary season to be in the lead while at the Convention. He was narrowly nominated on the 4th ballot while facing significant opposition from the likes of Lyndon Johnson and Adlai Stevenson, and had quickly forged a deal with LBJ to put him on the lower half of the ticket to appeal to Southern Democrats. Meanwhile in the GOP, Nixon faced little to no opposition in the primaries and was easily nominated at the RNC. He chose the "Wizard of Ooze" himself, Everett McKinley Dirksen of Illinois as his running mate.

While many Democratic officials had predicted an easy victory in November, the polls had initially shown differently. Despite being connected to an extremely unpopular President, Nixon had still managed to tie with Humphrey on the popular and electoral vote equally. This stagnation in the polls didn't end with the presidential debates, as they proved to be highly inconclusive and did little to aid any of the respective candidates' campaigns.

When the results came on that fateful November night, Nixon initially maintained a slight advantage over Humphrey in the popular and electoral vote. This advantage continued to persist throughout the night, with Nixon winning key state after key state over Humphrey.

After the sun finally rose on the haze-colored sky the day after the election, Nixon was Commander-in-Chief and the Republicans gave an enormous, but satisfying metaphorical sigh.


Vice President Richard M. Nixon (R–CA) / Senate Minority Leader Everett M. Dirksen (R–IL) – 383 EVs – 35,979,551 – 52.19%
Senator Hubert Humphrey (D–MN) / Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson (D–TX) – 154 EVs – 32,959,999 – 47.81%
Camelot Rising (Part I)

Lyndon Johnson was nothing if not an ambitious man. So it came as a great surprise when, in early August of 1964, the President announced that he would not be seeking a full term for himself. Health issues, so said the Press Secretary.

This announcement shocked the party to the core. The Republican Party had already nominated their ticket (Barry Goldwater and William Miller) and Johnson's surprise withdrawal from the race caught the Democrats flatfooted, only a few weeks from the convention.

Immediately candidates made themselves known. Favorite sons stood uneasily alongside people like George Wallace of Alabama, Robert Kennedy of New York and Hubert Humphrey of Minnesota. Wallace barnstormed on economic populism and a preservation of what he termed as 'traditional American values' while Kennedy and Humphrey tacked more liberal and condemned segregation and much of what Wallace stood for.

As the convention dawned it was apparent that the young Attorney General was very much the favorite to win the nomination...with the voters at least. The White House placed itself firmly behind Humphrey and promised grave consequences to anyone who dared pick Kennedy. Johnson had never liked Robert Kennedy, not as Vice President and definitely not as President. Kennedy bristled at this blatant intervention into the nomination process but was careful not to criticize the administration. For even if Johnson was an obstinate jackass, he was also an extremely popular obstinate jackass.

This, combined with a controversy over the Mississippi delegation (two different groups claimed to be the Mississippi delegation, one integrated, the other made up entirely of whites) made the Democratic National Convention hall a very tense place by the time the doors opened.

And it only got tenser when, much to Johnson's chagrin, the first ballot did not go to Hubert Humphrey like he had specifically requested. Instead the convention deadlocked, with Wallace, Humphrey and Kennedy all holding sizable portions of the vote, though with Kennedy very slightly ahead. Johnson breathed fire at the delegates, attempting to threaten them into action, but unbeknownst to him Kennedy was meeting with Humphrey. And the two were working out a deal.

On the second ballot the Humphrey faction switched en masse to Kennedy. Flames of fury exploded from the windows of the Oval Office. Similar gusts of rhetorical rage flowed easily from George Wallace as well. The arch-segregationist stalked back to Alabama after emphatically refusing to endorse the Democratic ticket.

Humphrey accepted a spot as Kennedy's running mate with an apologetic shrug to Johnson and the campaign started with a bang. Johnson flatly refused to stump for Kennedy (health issues, so said the Press Secretary) and focused instead on shoving as much legislation through congress as he could before the election.

Barry Goldwater seized upon the divisions in the Democratic party, but the polling was very much against him...and that never really changed.

On Election Day Robert Kennedy became the second Kennedy to seize the presidency...and the first Democrat to lose the Solid South in a very long time. Goldwater, though he had been thoroughly drubbed elsewhere, had done disturbingly well in the old confederacy. This, Kennedy was sure, would not bode well for future events.

Especially those concerning a certain Alabaman governor...

Attorney General Robert Kennedy/Senator Hubert Humphrey - 445 EV 56% PV
Senator Barry Goldwater/Representative William Miller - 93 EV 43% PV

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Camelot Rising (Part II)

Robert Kennedy inherited a deeply uncertain nation on January 20, 1965, when he first ascended to the office of the presidency. At just 39 years of age he was the youngest President in American history, but despite his youth he was deft and experienced, having spent most of his adult life in the chambers of the Senate as an aide and counsel to the most powerful men in Washington. Despite this he had very little legislative experience and leaned heavily on Vice President Humphrey to help craft the legislation that he wished to pass.

Amongst this was stronger civil rights legislation, tough anti-crime statutes and a determined reworking of Johnson's Great Society, which Kennedy admired but did not believe went far enough in many places. Humphrey and Kennedy worked well together and the first few months of their administration was a successful one, with the economy humming along and presidential approval ratings remaining high.

As President Kennedy resumed the tough and relentless fight against organized crime that he had led as Attorney General, though retained a contentious relationship with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. The two men loathed one another, but fought crime all the same.

Abroad things were less rosy. Kennedy opted not to increase US involvement in Vietnam, a move which infuriated former President Johnson and led to disagreements between Kennedy and Humphrey. Instead of escalating American military involvement in southeastern Asia, the Kennedy administration decided instead to focus on economic renewal and demanded that democracy be restored to Vietnam. This policy seemed to work at first...but was eventually proven a failure when North Vietnamese forces overran Saigon in late 1967.

This, combined with riots in the south as the battle over Civil Rights intensified, sunk Kennedy's popularity and emboldened his enemies. Congressional Republicans attacked Kennedy's programs, Hoover surreptitiously leaked unfavorable secrets about the Kennedy family and Hubert Humphrey expressed dismay over Kennedy's overly lax foreign policy.

Kennedy, against the advice of some of his close friends, decided to run for reelection in late 1967. It proved to be an uphill battle for him. Facing a contentious foe in the form of popular North Carolina governor Dan Moore, Kennedy found himself bogged down as the Republicans engaged in similar political warfare.

Initially it seemed that former Vice President Nixon had the edge, but he was soon overtaken by Michigan governor George Romney, who ended up taking the nomination, much to the chagrin of Strom Thurmond and other conservative Republicans. But after the Goldwater disaster of 1964 many were wary of letting conservatives hold the reigns again and Romney's nomination was virtually unopposed at the convention.

Kennedy won renomination, but only after cutting a controversial deal with Moore that elevated the North Carolinian to the vice presidency. Hubert Humphrey, hurt and offended by Kennedy's dealmaking, went back to private life, planning to run for the Senate in 1970.

Romney, extending an olive branch to the conservatives, selected Ohio governor James Rhodes as his running mate and went on the campaign trail.

The election was close from the very beginning, Kennedy's popularity having been eroded by a tough four years in office and the controversy surrounding his dismissal of Hubert Humphrey. But his natural charisma and skill at campaigning made all the difference and kept an advantageous Republican year from becoming a blowout. Kennedy attacked Romney, Romney attacked Kennedy, and n the south George Wallace launched an independent run...but was plagued by shortages of money and alleged interference from the Kennedy administration, which viewed Wallace as a threat.

All the same Wallace did disconcertingly well, but was hampered by his poverty racist language, which turned away many moderates who otherwise would have voted for the enigmatic Alabaman.

In the end, despite a messy campaign, a divided party and a lack of popularity for his administration, Kennedy did much better than most expected.

Not good enough however.

President Robert Kennedy/Vice President Dan Moore - 265 EV 46% PV
Governor George Romney/Governor James Rhodes - 263 EV 46% PV
Governor George Wallace/Former Governor Ross Barnett - 10 EV 8% PV

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The Boston Brahmin ~ Election of 1960 (Part I)
Despite countless rumors and his relative youthfulness and sense of ambition, Vice President Nixon declined to run for the Republican nomination in 1960 much to the surprise of the Republican establishment. In his footsteps came the liberal Governor Rockefeller, the conservative Senator Goldwater, and countless other minor favorite son candidates wishing to win their state delegation at the party's national convention.

On the dawn of the first ballot of the Republican National Convention, it was clear to many that this wasn't going to be a clean and swift nomination process. Rockefeller and Goldwater were virtually tied for first place while the rest of the state delegations went to their respective favorite sons. On the second ballot, Rockefeller gained a few delegates. Third ballot, Goldwater took the lead. The process was clearly becoming more and more monotonous by each and every new ballot and someone needed to be able to quickly break the ensuing tedium before things would be able to get out of hand.

On the fourth ballot, five Massachusetts and two Rhode Island delegates had cast their votes for UN Ambassador and former Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. On the next ballot, around fifty delegates supported Lodge. On the sixth ballot, around 150. Lodge had quickly noticed his rising support in the convention and quickly announced his candidacy for the nomination on the eve of the seventh ballot, with multiple favorite sons pledging their support to him in hopes of party unity.

On the seventh ballot, Lodge had risen to third place against Rockefeller and Goldwater. On the eighth ballot, Lodge finally clinched the nomination. A sense of relief was quickly felt all around the GOP convention halls, and Lodge chose Treasury Secretary and Texas native Robert B. Anderson for the vice presidency in order to gain votes from the South and to further bind his ticket with the successes of the previous Eisenhower administration.

At the Democratic convention, Senator Lyndon Johnson was able to narrowly clinch the nomination ahead of the ambitious Senator Kennedy on the third ballot and chose fellow Senator Stuart Symington as his vice-president choice, despite it not being the best in terms of regional equality.

The election itself proved to be mind-numbingly close at times, with the polls frequently flip-flopping on who in particular was leading in that certain week. Johnson specifically had gone on the absolute offensive against Lodge's character and background, labeling him an "inexperienced and privileged Boston Brahmin" who supported "tyranny and absolutism". Lodge in return had did little to counter-refute Johnson's points, but instead had tried to accept the insult of being a Boston Brahmin, stating that "Boston Brahmins were the building blocks of the American Revolution".

Nevertheless on election night, the American people had spoken and had gone to the polls to vote for the right man to occupy the White House, and that man happened to be Lodge.

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UN Ambassador Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. / Sec. of the Treasury Robert B. Anderson (R) ~ 281 EVs ~ 30,257,864 ~ 50%
Senator Lyndon B. Johnson / Senator Stuart Symington (D) ~ 256 EVs ~ 29,476,156 ~ 49%
Camelot Rising (Part III)

Robert Kennedy won reelection in the end. Barely. And mostly because the House was controlled by members of his own party. Romney conceded gracefully and went back to Michigan, having won the respect of the party leadership for sending President Kennedy to the House and damn near ruining his presidency.

Kennedy's second term plans were badly damaged by the 1968 election and by the time the midterms rolled around his approval ratings were merely lukewarm and the general consensus was that he had lost his spark. The Democrats were hammered in the 1970 midterms and though they maintained healthy majorities in both houses of congress, the public was beginning to grow unhappy with Democratic rule.

By late 1971, with Kennedy on his way out amidst a general medley of race riots, simmering foreign tensions and plain unhappiness, the primaries for both parties began with a bang.

On the Democratic side former Vice President Hubert Humphrey quickly emerged as a frontrunner, with Senator George McGovern and a half dozen others not far behind. The Republicans considered renominating George Romney but were thwarted by the candidacy of California governor Ronald Reagan. Reagan, backed heavily by the conservative Goldwater wing of the party, contested Romney and eventually edged him out of the race altogether.

Both sides nominated their candidates with varying degrees of enthusiasm. The Democratic base largely respected Humphrey and were able to rally around him easily...even if he was largely hostile towards the outgoing President for snubbing him four years earlier.

Reagan was more polarizing. Wildly popular with conservatives, he nonetheless terrified liberal and moderate Republicans, who had been expecting George Romney or someone altogether similar to him.

To mollify them Reagan looked to the northeast and did something surprising by asking Massachusetts senator Edward Brooke to be his running mate. Brooke, an African America liberal Republican, flatly refused...but not before inspiring a truly horrifying burst of condemnation from the lunatic right. Strom Thurmond in particular chastised Reagan in private for 'even thinking about pickin' a Nigra!'

Reagan quickly reconsidered and ended up selecting moderate New Jersey senator Clifford P. Case, but the damage had been done and dark allegations of racism amongst the Reagan base haunted the GOP nominee for the remainder of the race.

Humphrey, having won the nomination easily, moved to secure the center and picked former Texas governor John Connally as his running mate.

George Wallace declined to make another independent run, and so the two major parties strode out onto the field of electoral battle.

Reagan ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility and fierce, visceral fear mongering. Humphrey, drawing from his experiences on the campaign trail in 1964, compared Reagan to Goldwater.

The attacks stuck. Reagan stumbled. The conservatives watched their candidate totter...then fall.

The election wasn't especially close. Humphrey won the victory he'd been looking for since being booted unceremoniously off the ticket in 1968, while Reagan limped back to California to lick his wounds and the conservative wing of the GOP slunk back to the shadows, having botched two elections for the party now.

President Robert Kennedy would exit the White House quietly, leaving behind a decidedly mixed legacy and a nation just as uncertain as the one he'd inherited.

President Humphrey, Vice President Connally by his side, got to work.

Former Vice President Hubert Humphrey/Former Governor John Connally - 321 EV 52% PV
Governor Ronald Reagan/Senator Clifford Case - 217 EV 48% PV

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Camelot Rising (Part IV)

The Humphrey administration, elected by a solid margin in 1972, got off to a rocky start as communism spread to Thailand and Burma in Southeast Asia and once again reached the forefront of national discussion. With the Kennedy administration leaving office, the attention of the world was on how Humphrey would look out upon the world and use the might of the United States to protect democracy and liberty all over the world.

Determined to avoid the mistakes of the Kennedy administration, Humphrey pursued a much more muscular, aggressive foreign policy. He pursued sanctions against Vietnam, Laos and other communist nations committing human rights abuses, and traveled to Taiwan to meet openly with the President there...a move which enraged the PRC.

At home Humphrey forced further civil rights legislation through a stubborn congress, using decades of legislative experience to massage the dos of enough southern congressmen to allow his measures through. The riots eased, though the nation remained tense overall.

Then came the Yom Kippur War. In October of 1973 a coalition of Arab states attacked Israel, driving back Israeli forces on all fronts. Humphrey acted immediately, shipping Israel military supplies and even discussing the possibility of conducting joint air-strikes with the Israeli air force. The Arabs were defeated, but at great cost. Shortly afterwards Humphrey would make efforts to bring the warring states together for a comprehensive peace summit in Geneva.

The results of this summit were inconclusive, though tensions in the region did generally relax in the years to come.

As 1976 approached the economy slowly began to stumble, inflation and unemployment rising to levels unseen for nearly a decade. By the time Humphrey announced that he was going to run for reelection, unemployment had reached 7%.

All the same the Humphrey/Connally ticket was renominated easily, over a protest campaign by George McGovern, who opposed what he saw as a counterproductive foreign policy conducted by the Humphrey administration.

The Republicans, hoping to avoid another debacle akin to Reagan's run in 1972, nominated affable Tennessee senator Howard Baker. Baker, a moderate conservative who boasted strong favorables with all corners of the party, selected Representative Pete McCloskey of California as his running mate. This decision surprised many, but McCloskey's shining Korean War record and general charisma meant that any criticism he attracted remained muted.

The campaign was close, with Baker maintaining a slight lead over Humphrey for nearly the entire election. The President had done an alright job, so said the people, but 'alright' simply wasn't good enough tone entirely inspiring. That, combined with voter fatigue from sixteen years of Democratic dominance of the White House, led to a majority of voters selecting Howard Baker and Pete McCloskey that November.

Yet...somehow...Humphrey still won.

To Humphrey's shock and Baker's horror the President pulled off a one in a million victory, winning just the right number of states with just the right number of votes...even as he lost the national popular vote by more than a million ballots.

Calls to abolish the electoral college turned into shrieks and howls. Hubert Humphrey buried his head in his hands and wished...God help him...that he hadn't won reelection.

President Hubert Humphrey/Vice President John Connally - 315 EV 49% PV
Senator Howard Baker/Representative Pete McCloskey - 223 EV 51% PV

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No Southern Strategy: President-Elect

President Lyndon Johnson (D-TX)/Senator Hubert Humphrey (D-MN): 521 EVs, 59%
Former Governor Ross Barnett (S-MS)/Governor George Wallace (S-AL): 17 EVs, 2%
Senator Barry Goldwater (R-AZ)/Congressman William E. Miller (R-NY): 0 EVs, 38%
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