WI: George Wallace successfully throws the election to the House

Let’s say Wallace and Humphrey each do a bit better, Humphrey picks up MO and OH and Wallace picks up SC, TN, and FL, so the election is thrown to the House. Nixon leads based on my calculations by 1 delegate and almost certainly is 3-4 points behind in the popular vote. What happens next? Do Nixon and Humphrey negotiate (say to put Humphrey as Nixon’s SoS or vice versa), and what is the most likely outcome? Alternatively would Nixon agree to Wallace’s demands?
 
In short, Nixon probably still becomes President if he reaches a deal with Wallace before the Electoral College assembles, but Humphrey is more likely to win if it reaches the House of Representatives without a deal having been reached.

Let's put aside the how of there being no majority in the Electoral College and focus on the outcome. Likewise, let's look at it methodically. The possible outcomes are: Nixon throws it to Humphrey, Humphrey throws it to Nixon, Wallace throws it to Nixon, Wallace throws it to Humphrey, or an Acting President deadlock.

There would first be a negotiation phase before the Electoral College has assembled. Wallace was pretty vague on what he actually wanted out of a deadlocked election besides slowing or reversing desegregation. Practically speaking, Wallace had to know that neither candidate is going to reverse desegregation, so it comes down to the extent that either is willing to slow things down. Humphrey is too moralistic and too tied to civil rights to negotiate with Wallace, so that's a non-starter. While Nixon was supportive of civil rights in principle, he wasn't tied to it like Humphrey, and would be more willing to negotiate on it, and Wallace's "Law and Order" culture war inclinations are much closer to Nixon than Humphrey. Likewise, by 1968, Nixon was basically obsessed with becoming President, so he wouldn't be willing to throw it to Humphrey. That means, in direct negotiations, either Wallace would throw it to Nixon or Humphrey would throw it Nixon to block Wallace from having any influence, but it would probably be in Humphrey's best interest to wait it out until it goes to the House of Representatives.

Assuming it goes to the House, the Democrats theoretically have a 26-to-24 majority that could win it for Humphrey immediately, but the Southern Democrats would likely attempt to extract concessions. Removing the Southern states, Nixon has 19, Humphrey has 14, and 3 are mixed delegations, so the South does indeed have swing power to determine the election in the House. However, Southern Democratic delegations would be more willing to work with Humphrey due to party loyalty and Southern political dynamics, so it would be in Nixon's best interest to settle things before the Electoral College has assembled.

Ultimately, this means that the most likely outcome is Wallace and Nixon reaching an agreement before the Electoral College assembles, and Wallace instructs his electors to vote for Nixon. Now, if Nixon wants to put his crookedness to good use for a change, he could pursue the same quiet, behind-the-scenes integration that he did IOTL and hope that Wallace doesn't notice. Alternatively, if Nixon actually follows through with the deal, then perhaps he reverses the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's ruling that the South had to implement busing desegregation.
 
There is no way I could see Nixon and Humphrey negotiating, unless some other circumstances are involved, so it would definitely be a Wallace-Humphrey or a Wallace-Nixon situation. The ball then goes into Wallace's corner. Honestly I don't know what sort of demands Wallace would make, exactly. They would definitely be around increasing his power -- I could see him being given Attorney Generalship or maybe some other cabinet position -- and gaining anti-civil right legislation or enforcement. Depending on the demands, and how they're seen by the public, Nixon may definitely take the demands. Humphrey winning would require Wallace's delegation abandoning him for party unity, or Humphrey willing to sell his soul to the devil.

Either way I would not want to be in either's place. Depending on who won the popular vote, the opposing party winning the presidency with a Wallace back-deal would be the death of any administration, in my opinion.

EDIT: What @The Lethargic Lett said. They put it in better terms than I could.
 
Actually the situation could be a good setup for one of those bizarro 70s political timelines.

The Nixon-Wallace deal is followed by Humphrey winning the presidential election of 1972. Humphrey wins re-election, but he dies of cancer in 1978. Then whoever is his VP becomes President.

You could plausibly have Jimmy Carter as Humphrey's 1972 VP pick, Carter was Governor of Georgia at the time, and would be one of several possible New South governor VP picks. But to make things interesting, you could have Humphrey offer his closest rival George McGovern the spot, regional balance be damned, and McGovern accept. I think Reagan is still likely to get elected in 1980 in this scenario, but its a different 70s politically.
 
Actually the situation could be a good setup for one of those bizarro 70s political timelines.

The Nixon-Wallace deal is followed by Humphrey winning the presidential election of 1972. Humphrey wins re-election, but he dies of cancer in 1978. Then whoever is his VP becomes President.

You could plausibly have Jimmy Carter as Humphrey's 1972 VP pick, Carter was Governor of Georgia at the time, and would be one of several possible New South governor VP picks. But to make things interesting, you could have Humphrey offer his closest rival George McGovern the spot, regional balance be damned, and McGovern accept. I think Reagan is still likely to get elected in 1980 in this scenario, but its a different 70s politically.
I think all of this is feasible, but I think Reagan is almost certainly the nominee in 76 in this scenario, and a crushing loss to Humphrey/Xxxxx will probably prevent him from running in 80. What could be weird would be a Baker/Connally run in 1980.
 
FWIW, James Michener, a Humphrey elector from PA, later wrote that if there had been no majority in the Electoral College, he would "inform all Republican and Democratic electors that I was interested in a plan whereby we would decide the election in the College between Nixon and Humphrey and not risk domination by Wallace. Rather than allow one man to dictate who our President should be, I thought it better for the nation that the two parties decide between themselves what an honorable compromise might be and then encourage their Electoral College members to swing enough votes to either Nixon or Humphrey to secure his election." http://www.slate.com/…/james_a_michener_nearfaithless_elect… Specifically, "If Nixon won the popular vote and led in electoral votes by a clear margin, I would recommend to my party leadership that they arrange a compromise with the Republicans and direct enough Democratic electors to swing to the Republican column to ensure Nixon's election..."
https://books.google.com/books?id=kS3ZCwAAQBAJ&pg=PA14
 
Wallace would have preferred to give it to Humphrey. Nixon and Humphrey would likely each rather give it to the other than let Wallace control their fates.

If a backroom deal blocks Wallace from having any power, it might hasten the exit of the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party and make the GOP an untenable option for them. There'd be cries of betrayal and bloody murder.
 
Wallace would have preferred to give it to Humphrey. Nixon and Humphrey would likely each rather give it to the other than let Wallace control their fates.

If a backroom deal blocks Wallace from having any power, it might hasten the exit of the Dixiecrats from the Democratic Party and make the GOP an untenable option for them. There'd be cries of betrayal and bloody murder.
Why give it to Humphrey? Only thing I can think of is that he thinks Humphrey is weak and will challenge him as a Democrat, or he switches parties and thinks that a wishy washy liberal is an easy target, though as a Republican in 72 he'd no doubt run into Reagan who would be much more palatable. If anything Wallace would try to be selfish. He'd want to be president himself.
 
Wallace wanted to give it to Humphrey because Wallace was still a Democrat, albeit a racist one. He wanted to extract concessions from Humphrey - ergo, get his preferred social AND economic policies.

If he cuts a deal with Nixon, all he gets is his preferred social policies.
 

Geon

Donor
There is no way I could see Nixon and Humphrey negotiating, unless some other circumstances are involved, so it would definitely be a Wallace-Humphrey or a Wallace-Nixon situation. The ball then goes into Wallace's corner. Honestly I don't know what sort of demands Wallace would make, exactly. They would definitely be around increasing his power -- I could see him being given Attorney Generalship or maybe some other cabinet position -- and gaining anti-civil right legislation or enforcement. Depending on the demands, and how they're seen by the public, Nixon may definitely take the demands. Humphrey winning would require Wallace's delegation abandoning him for party unity, or Humphrey willing to sell his soul to the devil.

Either way I would not want to be in either's place. Depending on who won the popular vote, the opposing party winning the presidency with a Wallace back-deal would be the death of any administration, in my opinion.

EDIT: What @The Lethargic Lett said. They put it in better terms than I could.
This might be a no-win situation for both Nixon and Humphrey unless they do some negotiating. Wallace as indicated knows he cannot reverse desegregation but he can slow it down and delay it. If either Nixon or Humphrey decides to deal with Wallace then they know they are going to have problems with the minority vote come the congressional elections of 1970 and the next presidential election in 1972. Nixon ran on a "law and order" ticket. How will it look if instead of quieting down the cities continue to burn through the years of his first term because minorities are outraged that a southern-racist governor is advising him? Likewise how will Humphrey look to minorities if he is acquiescing to someone whose views he "supposedly" doesn't share but has to kowtow to anyway as the price for sitting in the Oval Office.

Thus, some sort of deal between Nixon and Humphrey might be the only realistic way to head off a train wreck for both political parties.
 
Who would become Acting President?
The person next in line to succeed was John McCormack, the newly-reelected Speaker of the House. Whether he would actually attempt to serve as Acting President was another matter.

In Our Next President (1968) Russell Baker described a complicated plot by which Bobby Kennedy (who had become LBJ's running mate and never mind that they hated each other) leveraged himself into the Presidency, after Wallace managed to squander his position and ended up deadlocking the House of Representatives.
 
Wallace wanted to give it to Humphrey because Wallace was still a Democrat, albeit a racist one. He wanted to extract concessions from Humphrey - ergo, get his preferred social AND economic policies.

If he cuts a deal with Nixon, all he gets is his preferred social policies.
Please cite your evidence that Wallace wanted to give it to Humphrey--not merely your supposition that because he was "still a Democrat" (he had been once and would be again but in 1968 he was the candidate of the American Independent party and even in 1969 he campaigned for the AIP's candidate against both the Democratic and Republican candidate in a Tennessee special election) he should have wanted to do that.

Wallace was much closer to Nixon on race-related issues, which were the driving force behind his campaign; and even on economic issues, his "populism" can be exaggerated. Asked about his choices for Secretary of the Treasury by Newsweek, Wallace suggested "Wilbur Mills or economist Milton Friedman. "I would want somebody who was ignorant like I am— I mean, who doesn't understand how you can run up a $100 billion deficit and yet everybody in the country's going to get rich." https://www.google.com/search?tbm=bks&q="wilbur+mills+or+economist+milton+friedman"+deficits&spell=1&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiSgq_Y1ovpAhUDlKwKHQxHDoEQBQgnKAA&biw=1813&bih=786&dpr=1#spf=1588096024583 Wilbur Mills was a fairly conservative Democrat and I don't think we need to discuss Milton Friedman. And the focus on the deficit does not sound very left-wing to me.

And even if we do dubiously assume Wallace was a populist on economic issues, that didn't stop him from backing Goldwater in 1964, and Nixon on economic policy was much less conservative than Goldwater was.
 
All these "Wallace will make a deal with Nixon" or 'Wallace will make a deal with Humphrey" scenarios fail to answer a crucial question--where is Wallace's leverage? Neither Nixon nor Humphrey will agree to an open deal, and there is no way Wallace can force them to abide by a secret one.

As I wrote here a couple of years ago:

***

The point is that neither Humphrey or Nixon can afford an open deal with Wallace simply because they must maintain the fiction that "the presidency is not for sale or bargain" etc. "As the campaign wore on, Nixon told reporters he was sure that neither he nor Hubert Humphrey would ever make a deal with Wallace. Humphrey...insisted that he would never bargain with Wallace, saying: "If there's any office in this country that ought to be above any kind of deal with Mr. Wallace ... it's the presidency. I'm a no-deal man." https://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/issues/80oct/deadlock.htm

Of course all this righteousness would not necessarily prevent either Nixon or Humphrey from striking a secret deal with Wallace. But the problem with secret deals is how you enforce them.

No doubt one can argue that in cases where no candidate has a majority, deals are inevitable, and they should be accepted by the public the way that coalition agreements between parties are accepted in parliaments where no party has a majority. But the American public has never viewed the presidency in that way. Witness the "corrupt bargain" charge that plagued John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay for the rest of their lives after 1824.

And while my view that an open deal for the presidency would be politically impossible is not dependent on Wallace's reputation (deserved in 1968) for racism, that does make an open deal even harder. As I once wrote about 1960, "If you think I am exaggerating the degree of GOP resentment of an open Nixon-Byrd deal, as conservative and Republican newspaper as the Chicago Tribune warned: 'Worse things can happen in this country than the presence of Sen. Kennedy in the White House. Much worse would be the presence in the White House of a man who would be under obligations to a band of political brigands intent upon depriving citizens of their rights." Quoted in Edmund F. Kallina, Jr., Courthouse over White House: Chicago and the Presidential Election of 1960, p. 132.)" https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/wi-kennedy-jackson-1960.454526/#post-17787556
 
I've actually been thinking about a scenario like this. I don't think you need to switch things up all that much, I'd say just switch 90,000 votes in Ohio from Nixon to Humphrey and 50,000 from Nixon to Wallace in Tennessee and there, you've deadlocked the election (although Nixon would still have won the popular vote). Personally, I think Nixon would've given Wallace concessions (i.e. Wallace as Attorney General and Wilbur Mills as Secretary of Treasury) in return for Wallace swinging him Southern electoral votes.

In 1972, if he hasn't had the Chappaquiddick incident, Ted Kennedy probably challenges and beats Nixon for the Presidency. If it still happens then I'd probably say Hubert Humphrey.

I think Nixon would know that by doing a deal with Wallace, he'd be a one termer. However with that in mind, I could see Nixon doing some good things knowing that he is doomed to one term in office. For starters, I could see Nixon going Duck Hook on North Vietnam (no nukes but bombing the dikes and flattening Hanoi) and ending the war in 1969. I could also see him following through on the Family Assistance Plan in exchange for slashing welfare spending (a pet project of Southern Democrats like Wallace and Mills).
 
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For starters, I could see Nixon going Duck Hook on North Vietnam (no nukes but bombing the dikes and flattening Hanoi) and ending the war in 1969.
1972's Operation Linebacker was pretty much identical to the limited Operation Duck Hook that you're describing. It didn't automatically win the war for South Vietnam IOTL, but it did compel the North Vietnamese to recontinue negotiations. A limited Duck Hook in 1969 would likely have the same effect as Linebacker IOTL, unless Nixon follows it up with a conventional invasion. That would be politically unsustainable under normal circumstances, but if Nixon thinks he's doomed to one term, then it's within the realm of possibility that he would go through with it.
 
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