Friday, August 3, 2012

What If Lee Harvey Oswald Had Missed?

Ann Althouse asks the Presidential hypothetical:
Assume JFK was not assassinated. Now, beginning with the 1964 election and continuing up to 2012, name the candidates for President and Vice President in both parties and who would have won. Fill in with reasons why this happened.
The thing to keep in mind with a question like this is that the Democratic and Republican Parties may have developed differently. Some politicians may never have come to national notice. Party affiliations cannot be taken for granted. Here is one such alternate United States of America:

1964 - Kennedy/Johnson (D) beat Goldwater/Miller (R) - that matchup and result was already in motion. VP Johnson convinces President Kennedy to put off civil rights legislation, keeping Strom Thurmond in the Democratic Party.

1968 - Humphrey/Wallace (D) beat Nixon/Romney (R) - Democratic Party factions unite behind Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace at Chicago convention after JFK and Johnson accept blame for Tet Offensive setback in Vietnam. Republicans Richard Nixon and George Romney embrace free market and social liberalism.

1969 - Robert Kennedy drowns when his brother Ted drives a car both are riding in off a Chappaquiddick bridge. Ted Kennedy drowns trying to save him.

1972 - Humphrey/Wallace (D) beat Romney/Rockefeller (R) – President Humphrey makes Yalta II deal with Soviet Union. Iron curtain is extended to Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia. Leon Panetta decides to stay in the Republican Party as he feels it is more centrist, Trent Lott remains a Democrat.

1973 - George Wallace becomes President when Hubert Humphrey dies in office, as the stresses of the office take 5 years off his life expectancy. Wallace appoints House Speaker Carl Albert of Oklahoma Vice President.

1976 –Reagan/Romney (R) beat Wallace/Albert (D) – Ronald Reagan picks Michigan Senator Lenore Romney as first woman VP nominee. Wallace blamed for ’73-’74 recession and April 1975 fall of Singapore.

1980 - Reagan/Romney (R) beat Carter/Mondale (D) - Democrats fail to reenergize the magical Minnesota-Dixie Coalition of ’68. President Reagan credited for negotiating a new Panama Canal Treaty, joining with British PM Margaret Thatcher to install Reza Pahlavi as Shah of Iran, and preventing a Soviet takeover of Afghanistan.

1984 - Romney/Baker (R) beat Mondale/Hart (D). Lenore Romney is first woman elected President of U.S. with Howard Baker as her VP. Lenore proposes a Constitutional amendment to grant abortion rights in the first trimester only.

1988 - Hart/Thurmond (D) beat Romney/Baker (R).  Gary Hart rekindles nostalgia for the Coalition of ’68 by choosing Strom Thurmond as his running mate on the platform “each region to its own socialism.”

1992 - Hart/Thurmond (D) beat Baker/Forbes (R). Gary Hart credited for “fall” of Berlin Wall as West Germany reunites with a triumphant East Germany. France elects its first Communist President. The Soviet European Union is formed. Howard Baker picks Steve Forbes as his running mate.

1996 –Weld/Panetta (R) beat Thurmond/Gore (D). Massachusetts Governor William Weld and California Senator Leon Panetta take advantage of liberals leaving the Democratic Party in the Northeastern realignment of 1994. Strom Thurmond picks fellow southerner Al Gore as his running mate, leading to a historic election night route.

2000 – Weld/Panetta (R) beat Gore/Duke (D).  Weld narrowly wins reelection after Florida recount as Tennessee Senator Al Gore teams with Democratic Louisiana Governor David Duke.

2004 –Panetta/Snowe (R) beat Duke/Feingold (D). Democratic Louisiana Governor David Duke teams with Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold. VP Leon Panetta credited for killing Osama Bin Laden in daring August 2001 Seal Team 6 raid after Panetta read report of plan to launch terrorist attack on U.S. soil.  

2008 – Panetta/Snowe (R) beat Feingold/Lott (D). Panetta credited for collapse of Soviet European Union in worst financial crisis since the Great Depression brought on by wars debts from proxy war in North Korea. Democrats Russ Feingold and Trent Lott were hurt by previous presidential nominee and Louisiana Governor David Duke’s refusal to accept timely federal help in response to Hurricane Katrina. 

2012 - Snowe/Obama (R) beat Clinton/Biden (D). Olympia Snowe is the second woman elected President. VP candidate Barack Obama recounts how he knocked on doors in Hawaii as a 15-year-old to help Ronald Reagan defeat the segrationalist President George Wallace and worked in the 1990s as a Republican Party organizer on the South Side of Chicago.

1 comment:

Mitch H. said...

Well, it's imaginative. But it also makes major assumptions about the viability of Rockefeller Republicanism "in a perfect world". There's a reason that Lindsay and Scranton and the rest of them cracked up, and it wasn't malignant Nixonian fascism on the march.

An America with David Duke on a two-party national ticket (assuming we're still talking about a segregationist racist Duke, and not one with some sort of secular Road to Damascus moment) would be one in which the South is a roiling cauldron of intermittent outbreaks of violence punctuated by federal occupation and guerrilla warfare.

And you seem to be positing a world in which the Soviet model is long-term capable of peaceful triumph. In my view, only detente, Brezhnevian reaction, and balance-of-power stasis kept the Soviets from collapse for as long as it did in the real world. The Soviets were on the glide path to oblivion even before the Reaganite/Thatcherite free-market revival competed them to death. Command economies are just not capable of anything beyond a cancerous mimicry of a phase-two industrialized society.