WI: Conservatives take over Democratic Party

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by tzmb, Jun 9, 2019.

  1. tzmb Member

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    (Edit) Our Pod begins with Dewey winning in 1948, as expected. As a result, Democrats blame their loss on the recent adoption of the civil rights plank and subsequent abandonment of their southern base. How does this effect 1952 onward?

    Credit to interpoltomo for the change
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  2. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    The Democrats weren't winning in 1952. Party fatigue + Ike's personal appeal was too much to overcome.

    So the POD would have to be 1960. Or 1956 - JFK nominated for VP and party leaders conclude that America isn't ready for a Catholic. But even then you'd need a Dixiecrat to win the 1960 nomination instead of Humphrey or LBJ.
     
  3. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom

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  4. David T Well-Known Member

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    1952 was just too late. Yes, Russell got a substantial number of votes at the convention but they were virtually all from the South. In fact, 1952 is probably too late even for a conservative to be nominated as vice-president by the Democrats. The opposition of organized labor and African Americans had led FDR to reject Byrnes in 1944. (True, Stevenson chose Sparkman as his running mate in 1952, but Sparkman was fairly liberal on issues other than civil rights.)
     
  5. tzmb Member

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    Agreed. POD could be Dewey winning in 1948, as the media expected, and Democrats reverting back to the southern strategy.
     
  6. David T Well-Known Member

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    If Dewey wins in 1948, it will not be because of the South. Not a single southern state came really close to going for Dewey; it was speculated that he was quiet about civil rights because polls indicated that he might carry Virginia, but though it was his best southern state he lost even there by 6.85 points. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_United_States_presidential_election No, if Dewey wins, it will be because he won big northern states that went for FDR in 1944--New York (which Dewey indeed did narrowly carry in 1948 in OTL, thanks to a half million votes for Henry Wallace) and three states which Truman narrowly won in OTL--Illinois, Ohio, and California. (Southern defections from Truman to Thurmond could not elect Dewey. They could at most throw the race into the House. But any Dewey majority in the Electoral College is gong to be exclusively northern.)

    Henry Wallace, with a considerable appeal to African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Jews, cost Truman New York and came very close to costing him California and Ohio. (Republicans stupidly made it hard for third parties to get on the ballot in Illinois, or he could have cost Truman that state too.) If Truman loses the White House through losing these states, I doubt very much that Democrats in 1952 will conclude that the way to win them back is by nominating a southern conservative segregationist...
     
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  7. Amadeus Well-Known Member

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    Truman actually did very well in the South, despite the civil rights plank. He won every Southern state except LA, MS, AL, and SC. As @David T pointed out, if Truman loses it would be because of Dewey's victories in the North. (Perhaps Dewey could've won Virginia if he ran the kind of aggressive campaign that allowed him to do relatively well against FDR in 1944, but that's another matter). And if Truman does lose, it would be a much more narrow loss than expected. Truman might actually be praised by commentators for running a campaign that turned a landslide defeat into a close race, and allowed for the Democrats to retake Congress as well as important Governorships. And a crucial factor in the relative success of his campaign would be the civil rights plank, which increased minority turnout and rallied liberals behind the Democratic ticket - without provoking an electoral disaster in the South.

    So the Democratic rank and file isn't going to blame civil rights for Truman's defeat, and conservatives aren't going to take over the party in 1952. In fact I see no reason that Stevenson wouldn't be nominated as in OTL: with a divided Democratic party looking for a popular white knight to take on Dewey, Stevenson would still be an ideal candidate - especially since he comes from Illinois...
     
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  8. Landmass Wave Well-Known Member

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    Also, what was unique in those four states was Thurmond hijacked the state party apparatus. He, not Truman, was listed as the official D nominee in those states.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
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  9. Jackson Lennock Well-Known Member

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    I think the 70s/80s is a better time for a conservative revival in the Democratic Party. It seemed that the whole world was moving right at that point, at least economically.


    Carter, Bensten, Proxmire, Clinton, Gore, Tsongas, Hart, etc.
     
  10. David T Well-Known Member

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    "More conservative than orthodox liberal/labor Democrats" =/= "conservative" (in the sense that, say, Harry Byrd and Richard Russell were conservatives).
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
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  11. Galba Otho Vitelius Well-Known Member

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    Better POD would be to get a Democratic administration in power when the Great Depression hits, and the ITTL equivalent of the New Deal is done by a Republican administration.

    However, the Donks were in really bad shape in the 1920s, even worse than the GOP in the 1930s and 1960s, and even with the intertia of the two party system, a southern dominated, Conservative Democratic party is probably not viable if it turns out its the GOP that does the New Deal and wins World War 2. This actually might be an interesting alternative timeline. ITTL, the eventual opposition to the GOP grows out of a third party candidacy of either Eisenhower or Taft when the isolationist or internationalist wing of the party loses the debate about how engage to be in the world post World War 2. And that means the American system finally includes a major minor party as the Democrats survive as a sort of regional party.

    To do this, you almost have to have a GOP administration take the USA into World War I, because that was probably the primary reason for the Donk colapse in the 1920s, and then the backlash gives you a Democratic administration in time for the Depression. But this all has enormous amounts of butterflies, not leas the effect on Prohibition.
     
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