TLIAW: Against the Grain

assassination of George Wallace
Additional tributes came from Paul Simon's chart-topping song "Mrs. Roosevelt".
Oh, haha, I get it, an alternate version of "Mrs. Robinson". Here's to you, Mrs. Roosevelt. Nice. Well, let's see what Wikipedia has to say…

Nichols asked if the duo had any more songs to offer, and after a break from the meeting, they returned with an early version of "Mrs. Robinson". They had been working on a track titled "Mrs. Roosevelt",
are you kidding me

Anyway, I'm not sure I have anything substantial to say, but I'm thoroughly enjoying this so far. The choices of Presidents Winant and Meyer are both very bold and original choices. I haven't heard of either before now, but doing cursory research on them, I'm impressed how aspects of their OTL lives and careers have been woven into the story, how their OTL has been extrapolated into their ATL one, and how they just suitably fit the story you're all going for. It doesn't feel like they were picked just to use a non-obvious choice, is what I'm getting at.

The state of the world is very interesting, too. The US going social-democratic while Europe stays conservative (both relatively speaking) is something I can't really recall much of (outside explicit "reverse Cold War" etc scenarios), though I'm not sure why — you have all laid out a compelling case for it being a very plausible outcome! Still, I get the impression we're only just getting started. After all, the US of real-life isn't too far removed from this. As we move into the 70s, it'll be interesting to see what replaces the New Deal Coalition and Wallace–Winant consensus, and if the US continues on a moderate-left path or if it takes the reactionary route that's been left open…
Interesting pick for a kind of do-nothing president. It's clear the Roosevelt Consensus is here to stay though, given that production quotas and profit sharing are business as usual for the US establishment. Makes me wonder how public transport is doing.

These international developments are also very interesting. What will come of this socialist EU? And where is the USSR going after Zhukov? Speaking of which, I'm not sure that Robeson would really be called a 'tankie' ITTL. The latter term resulted from the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution IOTL, and I'm not sure Zhukov wouldn't just allow that kind of 'socialism with a human face' to persist. Heck, why not have parts of the Warsaw Pact join this alternate European Union?
These international developments are also very interesting. What will come of this socialist EU? And where is the USSR going after Zhukov? Speaking of which, I'm not sure that Robeson would really be called a 'tankie' ITTL. The latter term resulted from the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution IOTL, and I'm not sure Zhukov wouldn't just allow that kind of 'socialism with a human face' to persist. Heck, why not have parts of the Warsaw Pact join this alternate European Union?
The problem wasn't that Hungary had a different kind of Socialism but that Hungary wanted an independent foreign policy. Speaking of which, I feel like the USSR is still a ways away from accepting a federalized Europe that includes a united Germany.
Very, very good TL. Keep up the good work!

Was there a Space Race equivalent TTL? Also, is "Mr. K" a reference to an OTL figure or are they an OC?
The Hungarian problem is a fair bit more complex than that. Historically the dominant line wavered heavily across the CPSU(b), the Chinese, Italian and Yugoslav parties. A central pressure was the formation of independent communist party fractions in the context of armed workers councils. The idea of a communist SDP formed out of militant workers to the left of the Moscow aligned CP was perhaps the scariest phenomena.


I know my deadline is tonight, but in all reality it will likely be tomorrow. Apologies for being the first to break out streak.
37. Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr (D-MD), 1969-1974


37. Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr (D-MD)
January 20, 1969 - February 15, 1974


The first Italian-American president in history. The first Catholic president. The first president since William Howard Taft to don facial hair. He was not expected to become president, but Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr. represented the final gasp of breath from the days of old school political machinations. It all began at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, which took place in the blistering heat of Miami, Florida.

The primary campaign had been a tit-for-tat between Massachusetts Senator Joe Kennedy, Jr. and Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey. Kennedy had the moneyed interests behind him, but more liberal Democrats were skeptical of him. Humphrey had the party’s lefty base behind him, but his intense focus on civil rights in the past and government reform in the present wearied some of the older Roosevelt Democrats who thought Humphrey was missing the New Deal message that was the backbone of that wing of the party’s pitch to voters – especially white voters in the South.

To get the better of Humphrey, Kennedy privately assured the Southern moderates that he would tone down the federal government’s enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. Many of the Voting Rights provisions of the Act would be up for Congressional reauthorization in 1969, having already been reauthorized in 1963, and Kennedy said he was willing to deal with the more conservative Democrats during that process – if it meant getting him the nomination.

Word of a deal between Kennedy and the Southern bloc made its way to the more traditionally liberal bosses and delegates, and they knew it was time to cut him off at the knees. The problem was Humphrey, who was not palatable to a large swath of the Party. A new candidate was needed, and so they turned to the two-term governor of Maryland, Thomas D’Alesandro, Jr, who narrowly took the nomination on the second ballot in an upset to Kennedy.

Kennedy refused to accept D’Alesandro’s offer to be his running mate, and so D’Alesandro was forced to turn elsewhere.

Nonetheless, he unified the Democratic Party ahead of their general election campaign against an unconventional opponent. John McCain, Jr. had usurped the Republican nomination from Vice President Philip Willkie on a platform of unapologetic “America First” rhetoric, arguing that the nation should not be shy to embrace its role on the world stage despite its disastrous performance in the Congo War. The campaign was heated, but D’Alesandro ultimately prevailed.

For the first time, the National Party nominated a candidate who failed to carry a state. Some believed it was a sign that the civil rights issue was retreating from the public consciousness some 11 years after Roosevelt signed the landmark legislation. Time, of course, would prove them wrong.


D’Alesandro’s pitch to voters focused on a return to domestic priorities, and he hoped to deliver on them in his first 100 days in office.

The first item on his agenda was a massive overhaul of housing affordability in the nation’s major cities. If the Sixties had been characterized by individual home ownership and Wrightville homes, the Seventies brought about a rebirth of the apartment building. D’Alesandro pushed through a Renters’ Tax Credit, which allowed renters to deduct a portion of their rent that exceeded 1/3rd of their monthly income. He also pushed through an unprecedented expansion of public housing, partnering with the private sector to dramatically expand the number of affordable housing units in America’s major cities, particularly along the East Coast. Companies that agreed to take on these buildings received significant tax deductions.

In order to get his bill across the finish line, D’Alesandro was forced to drop his Presidential Commission on Zoning Reform, which would have looked into the zoning practices of state switch the aim of helping create more sustainable and affordable housing. The States’ Rights Caucus in the House led the effort to block the initiative, and it was joined by more than a few white moderate Democrats in the North who feared that their de facto segregation, upheld through policies like redlining, would be threatened.

D’Alesandro also led efforts to reauthorize various voting rights provisions within the 1957 Civil Rights Act. The issue had been of top concern during the Democratic primary campaign and the Convention wrangling. Once again, a familiar coalition of progressive Democrats and moderate Republicans came together to get the bill over the finish line, but in the Senate they remained a few votes shy of a Southern filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Ernest McFarland, responding to pressure from D’Alesandro, agreed to change the rules of the filibuster, reducing the number of votes needed for cloture from 67 to 60. With that change, the amendments made their way through.

A sort of combination of D’Alesandro’s urban and voting rights priorities emerged with the passage of a Constitutional amendment permitting the District of Columbia to participate in the U.S. presidential election with 3 electoral votes.

The final major domestic issue D’Alesandro sought to address in his first year in office was a rebuilding of the nation’s intelligence apparatus. To do so, he partnered with Congress. The Speaker of the House appointed John Dingell to lead the Joint Congressional Committee on Intelligence Failures (informally known as the Dingell Committee) to investigate the leaks from the CIG and represent a new path forward for America’s intelligence collection, specifically the HTLINGUAL Program, which had been used to track the actions of liberal politicians. The Humphrey Committee exposed the problems; it was up to the Dingell Committee to sketch out what a replacement agency would look like – one that could be held accountable.

The Dingell committee issued four primary recommendations:

1) The creation of permanent select committees on intelligence in both chambers of Congress
2) The codification of a “Gang of Six” who would need to be informed about major intelligence gathering operations, especially those involving American citizens. These included the Chairs and Ranking Members of the House and Senate intelligence committees as well as the Speaker of the House and the President pro Tempore of the Senate.
3) The replacement of the CIG with a “National Intelligence Agency,” which consisted of Domestic and International sub agencies, overseen by a Director of National Intelligence who reported directly to the President of the United States
4) A declassification process with the standard interval being 8 years unless the information meets two out of six criteria, those documents would have 12 years, and any information beyond 12 years would require express permission from the President of the United States to remain classified (done through executive order)

All four recommendations were adopted and restored public trust in the nation’s intelligence community, but it did not mean that the scandals of the Meyer administration disappeared. Rather than allowing those involved in the Meyer administration to go unpunished, the Department of Justice vigorously pursued those caught up in the HTLINGUAL Affair. Though no action was ever taken against Meyer or Angleton, three Angleton associates were convicted of conspiracy to commit murder in the death of John Paisley and a separate associate of Angleton’s was tried with espionage. Attorney General Mark Lane, who led the DOJ during this time, later wrote that he had been near to indicting Meyer and Angleton themselves, but D’Alesandro’s son Tom, who featured prominently as an unofficial advisor, encouraged him not to do so.

As the summer of 1970 approached, the D’Alesandro administration was riding high until word came that a Soviet Cosmonaut, Alexei Leonov, would make history as the first man to land on the moon. A space program had existed within the United States but not in any serious effort. After Leonov’s landing, Americans began to fear that the United States was falling technologically behind and right-wing commentators, led by William Buckley, speculated that the Soviet Union was plotting not just global domination but interstellar domination. The American stock market tanked overnight and fear swept the nation. For the first time, Americans seemed to universally distrust the Soviet Union. If the two global superpowers were meant to have an amicable relationship, why didn’t they work together to get to space?

D’Alesandro, a keen observer of the national mood, decided to lay out his administration’s response, formally launching the Space Race in his 1970 MIT Convocation Address. In his remarks, D’Alesandro made a significant foreign policy assessment – that the Soviet Union’s planned space exploration was a violation of the Wallace Doctrine, and he committed the United States to being the first nation to establish a permanent lunar colony. To coincide with his bold pronouncement, D’Alesandro shifted federal resources to NASA to focus on technological advancements. His address and subsequent policy shift are widely credited with the Democrats’ victories in the 1970 Midterm elections. After Leonov’s flight to the Moon, polling showed that Democrats’ were poised for historic losses in both chambers, but D’Alesandro’s unification of the nation around the Space Race and his quick action to steer funds to scientific development proved to be the kind of move Americans were looking for, and they rewarded his party at the polls.

Of course, the successful Leonov flight masked the realities of an increasingly grim situation in the USSR where a real power struggle was emerging. Zhukov's cooperative foreign policy had dictated much of the global order. He was someone who respected the real aim of the Wallace Doctrine – peaceful cohabitation. The progression of the Soviet space program was in no way meant as a threat to the United States, even if Americans had perceived it that way. Perhaps if he had been in a state to explain that, things would have unfolded differently, but the ramped up American tensions and the Soviets’ own pride about space exploration helped Alexei Kosygin emerge as the leader of the USSR in the wake of Zhukov’s incapacitation and later death.

Kosygin did not want outright hostility towards the United States, but he did not believe that Soviet economic and technological expansion should be viewed as antagonistic. He dismissed American concerns about the growing Soviet footprint as “propaganda” and, given his inclination towards modest economic reforms, believed that a Space Race would only help the Soviets, so he decided to meet D’Alesandro’s challenge, pledging that it would be the USSR, not the USA, that would establish the first lunar base.

The heightened tensions between the USA and USSR were not only due to the new interstellar competition. In fact, they had been brewing even earlier when the fallout from the CIG scandal revealed a series of covert operations to fund and support Pahlavi Iran as a US ally in the Middle East, which under most definitions, fell under the purview of the USSR, according to the Wallace Doctrine, or that it was, at least, supposed to be in neutral territory. D’Alesandro quickly moved to defend the United States’ actions as consistent with the Doctrine, but Kosygin argued that the US was in the wrong.

The exposure of American support for the Pahlavi regime hastened a Communist rebellion within the nation – an island of Western thought in an otherwise Communist-adjacent region. In perhaps his most brazen move, Kosygin moved in to send advisors and military support to the Communists in Iran. D’Alesandro dithered. He had claimed American purity on the Wallace Doctrine and did not seek to go back on it now. Outraged hawks in the United States watched in horror as D’Alesandro kept the nation out of the Iranian turmoil and neighboring nations moved in to claim spheres of influence while Iran descended into stateless chaos.

Iran’s descent into Maelstrom would provide the next president with an instructive lesson when tensions bubbled over in India in 1975.

D’Alesandro was not a natural foreign policy president, but his invocation of the Space Race was pivotal to his role as a global leader, and he succeeded in enlisting British support for NASA and space exploration – dollars and manpower that would prove crucial to establishing a lunar colony.

Back at home, a series of Supreme Court decisions rocked the nation, bringing unprecedented attention to what was known as the Taylor Court. In June of 1969, in Meyers v. Missouri, the Supreme Court extended the right to privacy to encompass the right to an abortion, and it prohibited restirctions on that right before the “viability of the fetus.” The decision rocked the nation, including its Catholic president, who announced that despite his personal reservations about the decision, he would honor it. The 6-3 decision catapulted the cultural issue and energized Catholic voters. Many Catholic priests read directly from Hugo Black’s dissent (joined by Justices William Hastie, an Eleanor Roosevelt appointee, and Potter Stewart, a Meyer appointee) during their Sunday masses.

But while Meyers v. Missouri represented a cultural touchstone, it was the Court’s 1971 decision in Georgia v. United States that truly threw American politics into the maelstrom. The case originated with Georgia’s attempts to circumvent the voting rights provisions of the 1957 Civil Rights Act. In 1964, a Black voter in Georgia went to vote and found that their name had been purged from the voter rolls. They filed a complaint and an investigation found that Georgia had purged thousands of names from its rolls ahead of the 1964 election, and more than 80% of those purged were African-American. Georgia denied that its purge of the rolls had violated the Constitutional protections of African-Americans to be able to vote.

In 1969, shortly after the debate over reauthorization of voting rights protections, a coalition of progressive Democrats and liberal Republicans, led by Hubert Humphrey and (an ailing) Everett Dirksen in the Senate and Gore Vidal and John Lindsay in the House, came together to push through a Resolution stripping Georgia of 28.5% of its Congressional representatives, meaning that Georgia would have lost three members of Congress.

The Georgia Resolution’s Constitutional basis was rooted in Section 2 of the 14th Amendment, which stated that when the right to vote was infringed or abridged by a state, that state’s representation shall be reduced in proportion to the population being discriminated against. The Resolution argued that Georgia’s purge of Black voters ahead of 1964 amounted to disenfranchisement.

The president himself was quiet on the matter, believing that the liberals would never find the voters to pass it, but years of bipartisan support for civil rights legislation and sustained peaceful protests in various state capitols and the Capitol Building in Washington helped advance the Resolution by the slimmest of margins.

The Resolution’s adoption set off a firestorm, compelling D’Alesandro to voice his tacit support. The issue made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in the landmark case that Congress was within its authority to strip Georgia of representation on the basis of its discrimination against Black voters. In writing for the majority, Chief Justice Taylor advanced the idea that even though the purge of voters did not expressly prohibit Black voters from participating, it had, in practice, done just that, and so Congress could remove a proportion of Georgia’s representation in Congress until the issues were remedied.

The decision was such a blow to the federalist system of government that some Southern states again contemplated Secession, but instead they came together behind Senator Strom Thurmond, who published the Thurmond Corollary to the Little Rock Manifesto, which was a summary of policy positions taken by the National Party, including term limits for the federal judiciary and the impeachment of Chief Justice Taylor. Just four years earlier, the National Party appeared to be on the brink of extinction. Now, it came roaring back.

In 1972, the Party nominated Orval Faubus, the former Governor of Arkansas, as its candidate for president, and Faubus began campaigning in Evangelical churches throughout the South with a professional Christian running mate, Pat Robertson, preparing to siphon off enough votes to throw the election to the House of Representatives, where he believed he could emerge victorious.

The rise of the National Party also compelled the Republican Party to consider what kind of party it would be. Many small government conservatives believed that Republican endorsement of the The Georgia Resolution had represented an extension of the federal government that was anathema to the Party’s principles. The liberal wing of the Party, led by Nelson Rockefeller, believed that steadfast support of the right to vote was a cornerstone of the Party of Lincoln.

At a messy convention, the Rockefeller convention emerged victorious, beating back an effort by a fellow New Yorker, James Buckley, who represented the Party’s conservative flank. Though Buckley endorsed Rockefeller, many conservatives did not, resulting in a boon for the National Party.

D’Alesandro saw potential to emerge as a “great uniter,” which he did. The three candidates faced off in two televised debates, and during both events, the incumbent president was eager to let Rockefeller and Faubus go at it while he appeared to be the calmer head. Many feared that this strategy would cost D’Alesandro votes, but as tensions between the extremes bubbled over, the vast swath of voters in the middle turned to D’Alesandro, reelecting him by an impressive margin.

The president was not obvious to the final count, though. For the first time, the National Party had done better than the Republicans, and they now held the majority of House seats in the states that Faubus carried. The potential of the conservatives to rise up as a true political force nerved both parties, and it was D’Alesandro who moved quickly to quell the tensions.


Early in his second term, the president brought along the Democratic majority to pass the Judiciary Reform Act of 1973, which limited future Supreme Court justices to 18-year terms, with a vacancy occurring every two years. It also adjusted the Senate rules, requiring 67 votes for any Supreme Court justice to be confirmed. The compromise did not satisfy all sides. The National Party continued its push for reforming the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction, but the bill was enough to tamper the heightened passions of the South.

With the new number of National members in the House and Senate, D’Alesandro vocally supported a resolution restoring Georgia’s full representation to the House, citing the fact that the state did not purge its voter rolls ahead of the 1972 election.

D’Alesandro had always maintained a close relationship with the Black community and civil rights leaders, but his moves to pacify the Southern resistance enraged some of his former friends, particularly Malcolm X, who called for his resignation. Many Black leaders, however, decided not to criticize D’Alesandro, recognizing the potential for the domestic situation to grow fraught, and instead choosing to praise him for his various domestic policies aimed at bettering race relations and the status quo for many African-Americans. Though D’Alesandro was not interested in a fight over reducing white America’s political power, he was interested in a direct confrontation over white America’s de facto segregation – a fight he’d avoided during his first term.

In his inaugural address, D’Alesandro announced it was time to “transform the American City” and soon followed it up with what he meant: a direct assault on zoning policies that prohibited apartment and townhome development with the aim of enforcing a de facto segregation. In his State of the Union message, he unveiled plans for the once-dropped Presidential Commission on Zoning Reform, which was studying different ways to create affordable housing, the various methods by which de facto segregation was upheld, and potential remedies at the federal level – including tying federal dollars for schools and transportation to zoning laws.

The plan elicited widespread backlash and helped galvanize National Party sentiment. D’Alesandro was slow to push for policy positions beyond what the Commission’s recommendations would turn out to be, and so he waited for the better part of the year, until November 1973, when they unveiled a slew of findings and potential remedies. D’Alesandro failed to recognize a fundamental truth, however. Time is not guaranteed.

On February 15, 1974, President D’Alesandro was enjoying time at the presidential retreat he renamed Nancy’s Peak, formerly known as Shangri-La, after his daughter. It was there that he suffered a fatal stroke, thrusting an unexpecting replacement into the Oval Office, and D’Alesandro’s vision for tearing down the artificial boundaries in American life and sending Americans into the Next Frontier were left in someone else’s hands.
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Presidential review time.

Housing? Civil rights? Abortion rights? Wow! Tommy Dee seems to be quite a cool guy. Also the whole thing with reducing Georgia's representation because of some discrimination they did.

Also, it's space time.

Deleted member 81475

Big Tommy! Hard not to approve of the selection as a Jewish Marylander. He makes for an interesting president, and his housing fight obviously feels far-sighted. Given that so many elements of his terms were by necessity reacting to events around him, I imagine TTL's people would wonder about how someone else might have tackled his issues. Excited to see how his successor handles housing, the moon, and race relations - if a little apprehensive.

His strength in the west is pretty impressive, which could be Latino Catholics, but I wouldn't be surprised if his running mate is Church or a certain one-eyed Mormon.

Just a note, states and EVs seem to be swapped for the opposition parties on the second infobox.


Just a note, states and EVs seem to be swapped for the opposition parties on the second infobox.

The idea is that Rocky does better with the PV but worse in the EV bc Faubus’ strength is so concentrated in that region but I think DAlesandro’s total is a little low so I will probably adjust in the morn
The idea is that Rocky does better with the PV but worse in the EV bc Faubus’ strength is so concentrated in that region but I think DAlesandro’s total is a little low so I will probably adjust in the morn

But I'm pretty sure there aren't 133 states, which is what it says Faubus carries.