What if Jimmy Carter had been re-elected in 1980?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by The Mists Of Time, Feb 15, 2007.

  1. The Mists Of Time Member

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    What if Jimmy Carter had been re-elected to a second term as President in 1980? What would it have taken to get him re-elected, and what would Jimmy Carter's second term have been like? If that had happened, who would have been elected President in 1984?
     
  2. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    The Iron Curtain falls in 1983.
     
  3. panzerjay Lord of Subversive Armaments

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    not only would the iran hostage crisis would need to be redone or not happen but ....


    Jimmy Carter is a good man but suffers from weak leadership. he did not give americans much hope for a better tomorrow. even his staff was critical of him. if re elected, another four more years of malaise, more use of ineffective soft power and a decline in military power.
     
  4. nunya none of your business

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    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
     
  5. Ivan Druzhkov Aspiring Apparatchik

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    I vaguely recall a scenario in Cold War Hot that involves a Carter victory in 1980. IIRC, the gist of the argument was that, while Carter did many of the same things Reagan did in OTL, he didn't really have the personal magnetism to successfully pull them off, and a number of policies were simply abandoned. I think it's in the "Afghanistan: A Soviet Victory" scenario.

    Oh, and I don't see any reason why the Cold War would have ended in 1983. If anything, it would still be running at a fever pitch in 1983, thanks to Afghanistan and Carter's rejection of detente in the last months of the 1970s.
     
  6. Grimm Reaper Desperate But Not Serious

    CARTER rejected detente at the end of his term?:eek:

    I'm not going to take back some of the things I've said about ol' Jimmuh but blaming him for the end of detente strikes me as blaming Chamberlain for giving up on appeasement after Hitler grabbed Czechia.


    On the other hand, I also recall a work of fiction where the Cold War went hot under Carter. When the Soviets invade West Germany we send a strong letter via our ambassador. As they invade France we issue a formal diplomatic protest and recall our ambassador for consultations. When they invade the UK we retaliate with a devastating ban on attendance at the Olympic Games and a freeze on all civilian flights. The invasion of the East Coast of the US is met by warnings of dire consequences and possible military action if the Soviets also invade the West Coast. At last the US falls but in a final heroic move Carter asks the UN to impose economic sanctions.:rolleyes:
     
  7. Ghost 88 Recon/Scout

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    Four years of double digit inflation doomed Carter more than anything else,get rid of this and he has a chance in 80.
     
  8. nunya none of your business

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    The Soviet Union conquers the United State by 1985.:p
     
  9. Fabilius AH.com´s most active lurker

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    Well I think to get Carter reelected you must avoid the inflation. If you can avoid the oil crisis and still have Watergate... Basicly a solid and good economic situation under Nixon´s last years, yet a watergate (so that a Democrat may win under such circumstances), and given a POD early on, simply having the hostage situation not arising, or being solved before election (which would then just be a bonus).

    If the american economy is doing very well, then I don´t see why the american selfesteem shouldn´t be doing okay. I mean sure the Vietnam... but if the wallets are good, the mood should be fine.

    This in it self would mean a more prosperous US, and now the question what does that mean internationally?

    Afghanistan may fall to the Soviets, but what the heck:rolleyes: (can´t understand why on earth USSR wanted it to begin with). Their downfall will come anyway. (ECONOMY, I´ll just say it once. It was the economy, not Afghanistan which brought USSR down)
     
  10. David bar Elias Well-Known Member

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    Jimmy Carter ran for Governor of Georgia in 1966 (I think) and lost, which put him into a depression, from which he eventually became a born again Christian.

    The negative side-effect was that in addition to having too little experience running things (four years as GA governor), Carter didn't have the ruthless legislative skills of someone like LBJ.

    But let's assume that he wins the Governorship in 1966. He pursues center-of-the road policies to benefit all Georgians, and is liberal in regards to civil rights. He's the first in a comming wave of "new southern" governors--progressives who try to heal the racial divide and move forward with common sense legislation. He will be followed by men such as Rueben Askew of Florida, William Jefferson Clinton of Arkansas, ect. ect.

    Carter's efforts to bring about peace and understanding strikes a chord with the people of his state. Even as the rest of the country seems to be tearing itself to peices over Vietnam and race, Georgia remains oddly calm. National Democratic leaders begin to take a hard look at Carter for a potential WH run.

    Nixon wins in 1968 and is reelected in 1972, as IOTL...however, Watergate still happens.

    Carter, who's had since 1966 to get the hang of legislation (he knows how to twist arms when he needs to) is eyeing the White House. The country seems to be entering a malaise, in his eyes, and America needs a dynamic leader to restore its luster.

    Carter declares early and wins the Iowa Caucusus (as IOTL) but isn't known as "Jimmy Who?" since he's gotton favorable national press for his policies in Georgia. He gets the Democratic nod, and chooses Washington State's legendary Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson as his Veep, a former competitor. Jackson is a hawk regarding the Cold War, and he helps to boost Carter's national security credentials.

    Carter campaigns hard, and wins a convincing victory over Gerry Ford (sweeping the South and winning several Rocky Mountain states thanks to Jackson).

    Once in office, Carter moves quickly to deal with the mess left over from the Nixon/Ford years. He immediently moves to control inflation (and the deficit) through a mixture of de-regulation (of some government monopolies), and cutting middle class taxes.

    He also pushes through the Energy Independence Act of 1977, which heightens millage requirements for American cars and invests heavily in alternative energies. Carter and Jackson announce their intentions for a "Second Manhattan Project" to acheive alternative fuels. The Departments of Energy and Education are inaugerated at this time.

    The Energy Independence Act also calls for tougher inspections of America's nuclear plants. One such inspection at Three Mile Island, PA in September 1977 catches a glitch in the plant that could have caused a disaster.

    In 1977, in an effort to improve race relations even further, Carter goes on his now legendary Southern Listening Tour, where he gives multiple speeches at college campuses, churches, and state legislatures on what must be done to facilitate love and friendship over the ugliness of the past. The Tour is a huge success, and Carter gains even more positive press over it.

    The Carter Administration also adopts economic sanctions against the Apartheid regime in South Africa for their refusal to release Nelson Mandela, and for their refusal to dismantle Apartheid; several right-wingers angrilly denounce him for this move, most notably Jerry Falwell, Pat Buchanan, and House Minority Whip Richard Cheney of Wyoming.

    Carter acheives a great victory on the international stage through negotiating a peace treaty between Anwar Sadat and Menacham Begin in 1978.

    Carter's bid to control inflation causes a recession this year, in which the Republicans make gains (one of their more notable victories is in Texas, where George Walker Bush beats Kent Hance for a House seat). The Democrats still maintain control of Congress, however, and the GOP is dissapointed at not making more gains (Carter is still personally popular).

    By 1979, inflation is starting to go under control.

    Also this year, Rezah Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, is disposed in the Islamic Revolution; however, under pressure from Jackson, who dislikes the Shah's autocratic policies, Carter declines to let him into the United States.

    The US Embassy is largely left alone, save for the usual protests.

    By 1980, Carter has erased the scandal and economic doubt of the Nixon/Ford years, and enjoys high personal approval ratings.

    However, he faces a daunting challenge from Ronald Reagan, the former actor-turned governor. Reagan, who has a vast wit and charisma, threatens to make the election close.

    In the end, the rapidly improving economy, and Carter's tough stand against the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan (and through boycotting the Moscow Olympics) turns the election in his favor. Carter uses his genteel charm (mastered through all those session of the Georgia legislature) and easy going nature to match Reagan's self-depracating wit. Reagan, attempts to turn their one presidential debate in his favor by going "There you go again...." after Carter defends his energy record with a wealth of clear information. Carter's legendary reply seals the deal with voters. "Yes sir, Ronnie, there I go again. In my second term, we're going to be investing in our own people, our own technology, and our own future. I don't see how Knute Rockne could oppose that." That garners a chuckle even from Reagan, while the rest of the crowd bursts out laughing. The election is now almost over. Carter wins an even more impressive victory than in 1976, taking all of the South, and most of the Midwest, all of the Border States, and keeping Colorado, Washington, and Hawaii in his pocket out west.

    Round Two of the Carter Years is about to begin.
     
  11. Wendell Wendell

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    It is interesting to note that much of today's "Religious Right" backed Carter his first term. He may still have them in his voting bloc for his second term ITTL.
     
  12. Berra Friendly Pitchfork Operator

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    Some more Carter bashing:

    1980: Carter reelected

    1983: The blacks takes over South Africa.

    1984: They rename Johannesburg to Mandelaville and another city to Tutuwille.

    1985: The world economy collapses

    1987: The US turns into a police state

    1997: The first episode of The Running Man where criminals are hunted down my men in silly suites.

    2007: Capitan Freedom end his carrer.

    2017: Ben Richards is accused for the Bakersfield massacre.

    2008: Ben Richards and the recistance bring down the TV networks...

    (OK, I saw the running man yesterday.)
     
  13. Wendell Wendell

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    Care to share whatever it is that you are smoking?
     
  14. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    Nope.

    Okay, more seriously, this has to due with Carter's Grain Embargo in response to the invasion of Afghanistan. OTL, it didn't lead to a decline in grain consumption in the Communist Bloc; but it did lead to rationing in Poland, and a decline in the availability of meat, chicken, etc. in the entire nation.

    In Poland, one of the knock on effects was the rise of Solidarity, which played a not insignificant role in the fall of Communist in said nation.

    Being a craven coward willing to knuckle under to the Communists to support his constituency [1], Reagan abandoned the embargo in 1981.

    "After lifting the embargo, we offered the Soviets an additional 15 million metric tons of grain beyond the original 8 million metric tons. Our efforts on behalf of the farmers suffered a setback, however, with the iron repression of the proud people of Poland. When martial law was declared in that country, U.S. officials were developing a negotiating position on a new long-term grain agreement with the U.S.S.R. After the Soviet Union ignored our calls to aid restoration of basic human rights in Poland, we had no choice but to impose a number of sanctions against both countries, including postponement of negotiations on a long-term trade agreement with the Soviet Union.

    There is still no cause to celebrate in Poland. I am, however, somewhat encouraged by indications martial law may be relaxing. We'll continue to watch developments there in the hope that life will improve for the Poles and sanctions can be removed. In the meantime we will explore a 1-year extension of the current long-term grain agreement with the Soviet Union. I have also authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to consult with the Soviets on the subject of additional grain sales beyond the minimum purchase requirements of the current agreement."

    http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1982/80282d.htm

    Martial Law, incidentally, wasn't lifted until July of 1983 in Poland.

    But, whatever.

    The embargo wasn't perfect, of course. But the USSR was going to be hit with a couple of more bad harvests over the next few years, Brezhnev dies in 82. Room for a bit of flux, methinks.




    (This is one of the reasons I'm so skeptical of Reagan as a cold warrior standing up to the forces of darkness).
    [1] See, I can be inflammatory too.
     
  15. Wendell Wendell

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    The Soviet Union would also be able to adapt or adjust. Furthermore, if the Soviets look like they are hitting their end due to their grain crisis, then they may very well launch World War III.
     
  16. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    So now you're saying Carter was too aggressive in his handling of the USSR?

    Hrrm.
     
  17. Wendell Wendell

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    Not at all. I am saying that Carter's approach meant little in the downfall of the USSR itself, and may have even been short-sighted. Being aggressive in the handling of one's enemy only works if such aggression can or does lead to victory. Who wins an all-out nuclear war?
     
  18. Fabilius AH.com´s most active lurker

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    No. They wouldn´t start world war III, they´d just show up for negotiations and give into some demands.

    They may even withdraw Afghanistan without US supplying arms to islamic fundamentalists...
     
  19. Wendell Wendell

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    But they won't be pushed out of Eastern Europe.
     
  20. Faeelin Lord of Ten Thousand Years

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    They weren't pushed out of Eastern Europe OTL, either.