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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

NickFeyR

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IMO Labour should grap power ITTL 1960s, it's all good that the Tories are winning because of a good economy and buffing up the military in Hong Kong, but shouldn't there be some kind of voter fatigue and instead go with Labour for some fresh ideas? Otherwise this would be too unrealistic(even ITTL), I just can't see the Tories holding unto power for decades, which seems to be the case you're making. Of course it's your AAR and you can do the damn hell you want with it, but it would seem.....odd in my eyes.:p
 

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McGovern doesn't actually want to win this does he? He's going through the motions but he's clearly deliberately sabotaging his own campaign. You don't tell the American voters you want to withdraw from a war the US is winning unless you secretly want to lose the election.

There are plenty of ways to criticise the Vietnam War, starting with the complete lack of any strategic plan or indeed any idea what final 'victory' looks like, not even big picture questions like 'One country or two?'. If McGovern had stuck to that he might have got somewhere, hell a policy of Vietnamisation could be a winner, "Under my Presidency we will build up the forces of Vietnam till they can fight for themselves, we will once again become the Arsenal of Democracy giving the Asian Democracies the tools they need to stand up to the dictators and enabling our brave men to come back home for apple pie and baseball."

I would also say the Japanese Liberal Party was in power for damn near 40 years, the Congress Party in India did 30, ANC is on 23 and counting. If you keep not cocking up, the economy does well and the party change the leadership to keep things fresh, then long runs in power are not unprecdented. Admittedly I can't see that happening in Britain, but then again I remember the WW2 coalition was a bit weird TTL so who knows how that played out.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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I agree with old good Pippy here, even if I want McGovern for POTUS.
 

Nathan Madien

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NickFeyR: Considering that the Labour Party barely won the OTL 1964 General Election given the problems that were plaguing the ruling Conservative Party, Labour isn't in a position yet TTL to take power away from the Conservatives (who are in better shape than they were historically). As long as the economy remains good and the British flag continues to fly over Hong Kong, Rab Butler doesn't have to fear being knocked out of power by Harold Wilson. However, if things go sour for Butler over the next few years, it would help Wilson make a stronger argument that it is time for a change.

Historically, the Conservative Party held power for thirteen years (1951-1964). In this AAR they have held power for twelve years (since 1952), so they have actually been in power a year less. Having the Conservatives win in 1964 isn't too unrealistic in my view. One could argue that Labour didn't so much win that election as Conservatives lost it. Wilson himself thought the Conservatives would have won in 1964 had they chose Butler instead of Alec Douglas-Home.

Conservatives have not been in power for decades. Winston Churchill served as Prime Minister for eight years (1940-1948) before being replaced by Clement Attlee. Attlee served as Prime Minister for four years (1948-1952) before the Conservatives regained power with Anthony Eden (who had a much better Premiership TTL). Butler succeeded Eden in 1960, primarily because a reader wanted to see a Butler Premiership and explained to me how it could be done.

I can assure you that Labour is going to grab power at some point; just not right now.

El Pip: I will let McGovern answer that question: "I wanted to run for President in the worse possible way and I am sure I did."

Wow. Maybe I should put you in charge. It sounds better that LBJ's policy. "We are fighting in Vietnam because I'm Lyndon Baines Johnson and I need to prove myself to everybody at all times!"

Then there's the Democratic Party here in America, which stayed in power for twenty years (1933-1953). The Republicans kept losing elections to the point that Groucho Marx remarked that "The only way a Republican can get into the White House is to marry Margaret Truman." :p

Kurt_Steiner: POTUS...sounds like some kind of disease.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The 1964 Presidential Campaign: Part Four
During the 1964 Presidential campaign, the “Washington Post” published a political cartoon by Herbert Block depicting Democratic candidate George McGovern as a railroad engineer who announced that it would be only a short amount of time before the train he was driving reached its’ destination which was the White House. He made the announcement despite the fact that his train was derailed and therefore wasn’t actually going anywhere. Block’s cartoon was a reflection of McGovern’s insistence throughout the entire campaign that he would win the election...even though he trailed in all the polls. The candidate had convinced himself that he would score a major upset victory on Election Day because he was the “peoples’ candidate” and therefore he had more support than what the polls were showing. However, not everyone on Team McGovern had, in the words of Adam Savage, rejected reality and substituted their own. When McGovern asked his campaign manager how many states he was presently leading in, his manager refused to spin the awful truth:
“George, I can answer that question with one hand.”
In the final week of the campaign, the South Dakota Senator finally stopped fooling himself and faced the grim reality. Thirteen points behind his Republican rival Malcolm Forbes with no shot of closing that wide gap, McGovern privately recognized what was plainly obvious to everyone else: he was going to lose the election. His leftist platform stood poised to be soundly rejected by the voters and he would become the first Democratic Presidential candidate in sixteen years to go down in defeat. However, just because he acknowledged it in private didn’t mean he wanted to hear it in public. When a heckler at a campaign rally in Michigan during those final days shouted “Just quit already!”, McGovern – who was already frustrated by how poorly his campaign was going – lost his temper. Visibly agitated, the candidate abruptly broke away from his speech and snapped back at the heckler:
“You can kiss my ass!”
The off-the-cuff moment was reported in the media, portrayed as a sign that the Democratic candidate was becoming unhinged by his impending defeat.

With his commanding lead in the polls, Forbes could have coasted his way to victory. Instead he kept up the attacks, hammering McGovern in his speeches and campaign commercials as being unfit to be President at such a dangerous time. McGovern though wasn’t Forbes’ only opponent and observers noticed in mid-October a shift in targets. In the final weeks of the campaign, the Republican candidate gave an increasing number of speeches going after third party candidate George Wallace. Sitting at 20% in the Gallup Poll, Wallace was a formidable candidate whose appeal greatly worried Forbes. 20% meant that the Alabama Governor could count on millions of votes that would otherwise go to the main party candidates. While 20% might not win the election outright, Forbes feared that Wallace could siphon off enough votes that he could seriously affect who won which states on Election Day. “We must not allow our current lead in the polls,” he warned his campaign team, “To lull us into a false sense of security. In elections, it isn’t the millions of voters who decide the outcome. It is rather a handful of voters in the right places.”
In an election system in which states awarded their electoral votes on a winner-take-all basis, the New Jersey Governor understood that as long as you came in first place, you could win a state with just a bare minimum of popular votes. That meant every vote and every state counted, which is why Forbes took Wallace so seriously.

Wallace’s appeal stemmed from his opposition to civil rights gains, which struck a chord not just in the South but in the North as well. As African-Americans in the 1960s got better jobs, moved into better neighborhoods, and went to better schools, it created competition with white and ethnic Americans who had previously taken those things for granted. These Americans greatly resented the competition, believing that it threatened the way of life they were accustomed to. Therefore they were quite receptive of Wallace, who campaigned on getting rid of the competition and returning life to the way it had been before the Civil Rights Movement upset everything. Since he was representing their point of view, it wasn’t at all difficult for Wallace to get a full crowd at his campaign rallies. When the third party candidate was excluded from the October 5th Presidential Debate (neither the Republican nor Democratic candidates wanted to share the stage with him), he responded by holding a campaign rally at Madison Square Garden at the same time the debate was going on. An overflow crowd of 20,000 people showed up at MSG to hear Wallace mercilessly tear into the two men who were presently debating without him. “It is not my voice they do not want to hear,” he proclaimed before a raucous packed house, “It is yours! Mr. Forbes and Mr. McGovern do not want to hear your voices in that television studio a few blocks from here, but we are going to make them hear your voices!”
A reporter who was attending the MSG rally wrote afterwards that it was “the largest political rally held in New York City since Franklin Roosevelt had denounced the forces of ‘organized money’ from the same stage in 1936.”
To chip away at Wallace’s support, Forbes began to seriously go after him. He attacked Wallace as being a one-issue candidate who was running against civil rights but wasn’t running for much of anything else. That his campaign was all bun and little beef (to borrow from the famous Wendy’s 1984 television commercial):
“Governor Wallace has not said what he would do about Social Security. He has not said what he would do about health insurance for the elderly. He has not even said what he would do about the war in Vietnam. All Governor Wallace has said so far is that you should be afraid of your fellow Americans because of the color of their skin. Ladies and gentlemen, fear of others is not a platform for running this country. With the problems that are before us, this campaign is about how we are going to deal with them. Fear of others is not a solution to those problems.”
While Forbes was attacking Wallace as a racial fear-monger who lacked specifics, the Dixiecrat candidate faced attacks from McGovern over labor. In an effort to peel away the blue-collar vote which was running strongly third party, the McGovern campaign highlighted the fact that union workers in the North were losing jobs because companies were moving their jobs south to Alabama. Why Alabama? Because it was a right-to-work state (meaning workers didn’t have to join a union or pay any money to a union but could still receive the same benefits as union members). The Democratic candidate painted Wallace as someone who was taking away union jobs for the benefit of his own non-unionized state (even though Wallace publicly opposed right-to-work laws). These attacks prompted voters to have second thoughts about giving their support to Wallace. When the final Gallup Poll of the 1964 campaign was released on Monday, November 2nd, the Alabama Governor saw his numbers drop five points to 15%. After looking at the final poll, Forbes became cautiously hopeful that Wallace’s hemorrhaging of support would negate his impact on the electoral map.

Forbes, whom the final Gallup Poll showed as winning the election handily, ended his campaign with an Election Eve rally in the city where he had been nominated: San Francisco, California. Several hundred thousand people filled the streets to cheer Forbes and his running mate Everett Dirksen as they were driven back to the Cow Palace. Several prominent California Republican officeholders attended the Election Eve rally, including Governor William F. Knowland and Senators Frederick F. Houser and Richard Nixon. Also in attendance was a recent Republican convert named Ronald Reagan. Until 1962, Reagan had been a conservative Democrat serving in the Jackson Administration as Secretary of Labor. Jackson, wanting his cabinet to be full of people who were experienced in their respective fields and who represented a broad political spectrum, chose Reagan for the Labor post because of his politics and his experience being on both sides of the labor-management table. Then in 1962 came the nationwide steel strike, which brought steel production to a grinding halt. Worried about the impact the steel strike would have on national defense, the President made the decision to nationalize the steel industry and bring it under government control. The Secretary of Labor staunchly opposed the move on the grounds that it was socialistic and urged him not to do it. When Scoop went ahead and did it anyway, Reagan – along with Secretary of Commerce Philip Willkie – resigned from the Administration in protest. Wanting a fresh start following his resignation, Reagan switched political parties and became a conservative Republican.

(Ronald Reagan during his tenure as Secretary of Labor)
In the two years since, Reagan had been touring the country, making speeches which gave his conservative point-of-view. While he wasn’t the only one doing that, there was a major difference which set him apart from the others. During his days as a Hollywood actor and spokesman for General Electric, Reagan developed an understanding that how you said something was just as important as what you said. While other speakers focused squarely on substance, Reagan put emphasis on style. He crafted his delivery so he could show off his natural charisma, his sense of humor, and his radiant optimism. The public response to his style was positive; people liked how he spoke and were won over by his speeches. In the fall of 1964, Reagan’s star was on the rise as he steadily built a national following. Given his growing popularity as a speaker and his conservatism, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Forbes asked him if he would speak at his Election Eve rally. Always mindful of party unity, Forbes wanted to show that he had the backing of conservatives just hours before the polls opened. “Sure,” Reagan replied when he received the request, “If you think it would help.”
“I want to thank Governor Forbes
,” Reagan began as he stood behind a podium facing a packed house, “For granting me this opportunity to discuss my own ideas regarding the choice that we face tomorrow.”
It became known as the “Another Course” Speech. In it Reagan said that Forbes was doing as well as he did because he was offering the voters a real different domestic path forward, not a me-too version of the status quo which McGovern represented. He attacked the Democrats for producing “a tax burden that reaches one-third of our national income. Today in our country the tax collector’s share is thirty-seven cents of every dollar earned; but yet they insist on spending more than the government takes in. They haven’t balanced our budget in the last eleven years, and now our national debt is one-and-a-half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world. Now I have an uncomfortable feeling that we cannot base our hopes for prosperity in the future on Senator McGovern.”
Only with Forbes in the White House “can we have prosperity, for he knows through his firsthand experience that prosperity cannot be produced by more government spending but by less. He has called for reforming our tax policy so we can at least make a start towards restoring for our children the American dream that wealth is denied to no one, that each individual has the right to fly as high as his strength and ability will take him.”
As a proponent of a free-market economy, Forbes would offer a much-needed break from the proponents of a planned economy “who cannot see a fat man standing besides a thin one without automatically coming to the conclusion the fat man got that way by taking advantage of the thin one.”
Reagan ridiculed Democrats for believing “they can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves”, noting for instance their agricultural policies. Under their policies, “one-fourth of farming has seen a steady decline in the per capita consumption of everything it produces. That one-fourth is regulated and subsidized by government. In contrast, the three-fourths of farming unregulated and unsubsidized have seen a twenty-one percent increase in the per capita consumption of all its produce. Farm income remains unchanged since 1955, and we have seen a decline of five million in the farm population. We have also seen an increase in the number of Department of Agriculture employees. There is now one such employee for every thirty farms in the United States, and we recently learned that much of the payments that were supposed to go directly to the farmers went to them instead.”

“Governor Forbes, like many of us, accepts responsibility for those who are less fortunate. But he does not believe that spending more on social welfare will, through some magic, end poverty. Federal welfare spending is today ten times greater than it was in the dark depths of the Depression. Federal, state, and local welfare combined spend forty-five billion dollars a year. For three decades we have tried to help the less fortunate by government planning, without success. The more the social welfare plans fail, the more the planners plan. But any time we question their schemes, we are denounced as being opposed to their humanitarian goals. That we are always against, never for anything. Well, it isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant; it’s just that they know so much that isn’t so.”
On foreign policy, Reagan contrasted Forbes who “knows what’s at stake...in mankind’s long climb from the swamp to the stars” with McGovern whom he blasted as being part of the leftist appeaser crowd “who tell us that by avoiding a direct confrontation with the enemy he will learn to love us and give up his evil ways. Those who oppose their idea are blanket indicted as war-mongers. Well, let us set one thing straight: there is only one argument with regards to peace and war. Do we want appeasement or courage? The policy of accommodation which Senator McGovern and other well-meaning liberals advocate is appeasement, and we have seen too many times appeasement leading to surrender and the enslavement of our fellow human beings. They are wrong. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right, and this policy of accommodation asks us to accept the greatest possible immorality.”
The election tomorrow was more than just a decision about who should occupy the White House for the next four years, Reagan argued as he closed his speech. “It is a rendezvous with destiny. We have the opportunity tomorrow to preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on Earth. If we pass up this opportunity, we will sentence them to a thousand years of darkness. We must not let our children and our children’s children say of us that we did not do all that could be done. Let history not record that those who had the most to lose did the least to prevent it from happening.”
Reagan’s speech electrified the audience. They applauded throughout and gave him a standing ovation at the end, which he acknowledged with a smile and a wave before departing the podium. Although Reagan wasn’t the only person who spoke at the Election Eve rally, his “Another Course” Speech became the one everyone who was at the Cow Palace remembered. Knowland gushed that Reagan had given “one hell of a speech.”
Forbes himself was pleased with the speech, glad that he had asked him to speak. While flying across the country overnight so he could be back home in New Jersey to vote in the morning, Forbes jotted down a thank-you note to be hand-delivered to Reagan. He then nodded off. At 7:00 AM EST on Tuesday, November 3rd, polls all across the Eastern United States opened. Election Day had finally arrived.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This is it. The next update will cover Election Night 1964. It has taken me long enough to get there. :p
 
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jeeshadow

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Welp, looks like Forbes is going to coast into the win. Also good to see McGovern doing some good going after Wallace. Also kinda interesting what is going on politically. New Deal Liberalism hasn't been as successful ITL as IRL and a more left wing version is going to be trounced under McGovern, and the Republicans haven't folded to the conservative wing yet (although they may very well do so with the rise of Goldwater and Reagan). Interesting to see what this will mean for long term political shifts for the parties.
 

volksmarschall

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A former B-list actor's star is on the rise, I think we've seen this story before in another form! :p

Oh, the days when Republicans could hang out in San Francisco, let alone, California, and not feel as if they were the only ones there. Though, while Forbes will no doubt win CA, the question is whether he wins SF or McGovern does, and if Forbes is the last hurrah before we know what will happen in county and city politics in the Bay area!
 

Kurt_Steiner

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I see Ronnie in the White House sooner than ITOL at this pace.
 

Andreios II

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Wow it seems like a long time since I was studying Eden, Macmillan and the Suez crisis at the same time that Suez was nicely avoided in TTL and Butler took the reins of power. It seems like the 'post-war consensus' is alive and well in TTL-Britain, and I forsee a passage of power from the Conservatives to Labour come '68. Perhaps Alec Douglas-Home will still get a brief premiership if RAB wants to bow out on a high, seeing Lord Home as a safe pair of hands. My knowledge of Ted Heath pre-1970 is a bit sketchy so I don't know if he would be considered ready for premiership before '68 or stand as a new leader at that election.

Seems like Forbes is basically home-and-dry, though it will be interesting to see just how much of an impact the Dixiecrats will have on the final electoral picture. A third party in a first-past-the-post system tends to distort things somewhat... Will the predicted heavy defeat for the Democrats push them further to the left, believing that they need to seek ideological purity, or will it see a move towards the centre, moving beyond the New Deal Coaltion...
 

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As you say it's been a long road to election night. Given McGovern's utter ineptitude I am wondering if centerist Democrats set him up to fail. The election had 'time for a change' written all over it due to the long run of Dem presidents and Scoop didn't help. So put up a terrible candidate with a leftish agenda and let him discredit those policies by losing badly in an election you had already written off. That way the next candidate, who might win, has more chance of being from your wing of the party.

I might be over-thinking this.
 

Nathan Madien

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jeeshadow: Conservatism is certainly alive and well in the Republican Party. We have had two conservative GOP Presidential nominees (Robert A. Taft in 1952 and William F. Knowland in 1960) and Congress is certain to be controlled by Conservatives in 1965. Although Forbes is part of the Eastern Establishment wing of the GOP, he knows that he has to work with Conservatives in order to get anything done. The last Republican President, Thomas E. Dewey, refused to compromise with Conservatives and the result was he didn't get much done domestically.

volksmarschall: Yes, but it won't be exactly the same story.

It is amazing how much the country has changed politically over the decades. States that have been Republican for a long time have become Democratic states and vice-versa. I don't think California has gone Republican in a Presidential election since the 1980s. :eek:

As for San Francisco, things are going to be getting quite interesting there as we move into the mid-1960s.

Kurt_Steiner: That is certainly a possibilty. Unlike other historical Presidents (Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson) who didn't make it to the White House TTL because of different circumanstances, Reagan can find a different way to get there.

In fact, in his alternate history novel "If Kennedy Lived", Jeff Greenfield imagined Reagan winning the GOP Presidential nomination in 1968 and facing off against Hubert Humphrey in an election to succeed JFK after two terms.

Andreios II: At some point before the end of the 1960s, we will see the Labour Party take power in England. It is just a matter of how I get there.

I think the Democrats after 1964 will move further towards the left. In denying Scoop renomination, the Democrats have rejected Cold War hawkishness in favor of a more dovish position. McGovern isn't going to win this election, but I think his leftist dovish platform will become the standard Democratic platform going forward (especially if the Vietnam War sours under the Republicans). It may very well take a certain young Governor from Arkansas to move the Democratic Party back towards the center.

El Pip: You're quite the Democratic strategist, El Pip. :cool:
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Election Night ‘64
“Good evening from our CBS News election headquarters in New York, in which we are originating this ‘CBS Evening News’ program.”
It was 6:30 PM EST on Tuesday, November 3rd, 1964. For nearly twelve hours, Americans from coast to coast had been heading to the polls to elect a new President to succeed the outgoing incumbent Henry M. Jackson. Now it was time to start seeing how the people voted. On CBS, news anchor Walter Cronkite – the face of his network’s election coverage since 1952 – sat behind a desk on a large TV soundstage surrounded by walls specifically constructed to feature individual panels showing live election results from all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. (which was voting in a Presidential election for the very first time). Directly behind Cronkite was a panel showing the popular vote tally. With 1% of the national vote already in, the heavily-favored Republican Forbes-Dirksen ticket was ahead of the Democratic McGovern-Morse ticket by 160,000 votes. Bringing up the rear was the Dixiecrat Wallace-Barnett ticket, which had been a force to be reckoned with throughout the entire campaign. “Across this nation of ours,” Cronkite reported while reading off a piece of paper, “It appears that the populous have gone to the polls in record numbers. Perhaps more than 71 million of us have trooped to our polling places today and cast our ballots for the Presidency of the United States, many states for Senators, in all states for Congressmen, in many other states for Governors, and many propositions on the ballot as well.”
He then made the first projection of the night. Based on “the complex arithmetic” being done by a battery of large IBM computers (which had the combined computing power of a modern-day Smartphone), “we are able to say that Malcolm Forbes is the probable winner in Kentucky.”
With 62% of the tabulated votes counted, the Bluegrass State became the first state on this Election Night to go to the Republican candidate (giving him 9 electoral votes).

At 6:36 PM EST came the second projection of the night. With only 2% of the tabulated votes counted so far, “Forbes is the probable winner in Indiana. That’s the state that Governor George Wallace had said he could win based on how well he did there last spring, but we can say now that Forbes is the probable winner in that Republican state.”
Following the election returns at Morven (the 18th Century Georgian-style Governor’s mansion located in Princeton, New Jersey), Forbes was rather surprised by the call. Although the Hoosier State was a traditionally Republican state, he had never taken victory there for granted. He was mindful of the fact that Wallace had won 30% of the vote in the Democratic primary, therefore taking his strong appeal there seriously. Indeed, Forbes had campaigned in Indiana on the message that voters shouldn’t support Wallace because he was a one-issue candidate who was running against civil rights progress and not running for much else. Going into Election Night, the New Jersey Governor thought Indiana would be one of the states that wouldn’t be called until later in the night because Wallace would make the race there tighter than it would be in a normal two-person race. That Cronkite was calling the state for him this early in the night with only 2% of the tabulated votes counted made Forbes revisit his assumptions. Maybe he had overestimated his Dixiecrat opponent. With Indiana and her 13 electoral votes now in his column, Forbes had established an early lead of 22 electoral votes (270 needed for election). In the popular vote count, his lead had grown to 208,000.

(Morven, where Malcolm Forbes spent Election Night 1964)
As the clock ticked towards 7:00 PM EST, the early returns were showing Forbes running as strong as the polls predicted he would. In addition to securing traditional Republican areas like Lexington, Kentucky, he was even getting defection votes from Democrats who didn’t care for their Party’s leftist nominee. He was leading in Tennessee and Kansas. One state where he wasn’t doing well was South Carolina, where both he and McGovern were trailing Wallace. Meanwhile back in Indiana, the incumbent Republican Senator Harold W. Handley was declared the winner in his bid for a second term and Republican gubernatorial candidate Richard O. Ristine was declared the winner in his race. This gave the GOP their first two major down-ballot victories and showed that Forbes had coattails extending into Congressional and gubernatorial races. The early returns set the stage for how the rest of the night would unfold. At 8:00 PM EST, Forbes held a commanding lead in both the electoral and popular votes. As more returns came in, the Republican standard-bearer – who had refused to take victory for granted throughout the fall campaign – finally allowed himself to accept that he had victory in the bag. When Cronkite announced that “Forbes is the probable winner in Ohio”, the Governor said aloud to the people who were in the room with him:
“It looks like we can all get into bed early tonight.”
In every region of the country, Americans registered their desire for change after twelve years of three Democratic Presidents:
  • In the Northeast, Forbes carried his home state of New Jersey and all the other states except Massachusetts and Rhode Island (which both went to McGovern).
  • In the South, McGovern became the first Presidential candidate to win Washington, D.C.; unfortunately for him, that was his only win below the Mason-Dixon Line. The old Solid South, the electoral bedrock for the Democratic Party since the end of Reconstruction in the 1870s, had collapsed as voters in the region abandoned their traditional loyalty to the Democratic Presidential ticket. Wallace dominated his home region, taking seven states stretching from Louisiana to North Carolina. He also siphoned off votes in Virginia, Florida, and Texas, helping to put those three states into the Republican column for the first time since 1928.
  • In the Midwest, much of the region went to Forbes including his running mate’s home state of Illinois and Missouri. Midwesterner McGovern notched wins in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and his home state of South Dakota.
  • Out West, McGovern only managed to carry his running mate’s home state of Oregon. California and every other Western state went Republican.

Forbes/Dirksen (Republican/Red) – 398 Electoral Votes – 36 States Carried – 38,860,750 Popular Votes – 49.77% of Total Votes
McGovern/Morse (Democratic/Blue) – 74 Electoral Votes – 7 States Carried –
21,407,162 Popular Votes – 35.52% of Total Votes
Wallace/Barnett (Dixiecrat/Green) – 66 Electoral Votes – 7 States Carried – 10,245,615 Popular Votes – 14.53% of Total Votes
When the final votes had been counted, Malcolm Stevenson Forbes had been elected the 39th President of the United States by an overwhelming margin. He beat McGovern by over 17 million popular votes and swept most of the country, garnering nearly 400 electoral votes. McGovern and Wallace both only won 7 states, with the former barely edging out the latter in the electoral vote count despite the 11 million popular vote margin between them. McGovern became the first post-Reconstruction Democrat not to carry a single Southern state, the result of Scoop’s embrace of civil rights overturning the traditional political order in the South. Forbes’ election to the Presidency came with coattails as Republicans down the ballot benefitted from his solid margin of victory. In addition to winning their first Presidential contest since Thomas E. Dewey's re-election in 1948, the GOP won full control of Congress for the first time since losing both houses in 1950. They picked up 18 seats in the House of Representatives, strengthening their majority to 264 Republicans and 171 Democrats (their largest majority since the late 1940s). Since 218 seats were needed for a majority, that gave the Republicans a 46-seat margin. With Speaker of the House Charles A. Halleck’s decision to retire from Congress while he was still on top, House Majority Leader Gerald Ford stood poised to succeed him as Speaker. For Ford, it was his single ambition to “be sitting up there and being the head honcho of 434 other people and having the responsibility, aside from the achievement, of trying to run the greatest legislative body in the history of mankind.”
Now it was about to happen.

(Gerald Ford, the next Speaker of the House)
In addition to losing the White House, the Democrats also lost control of the Senate. The Republicans took 7 seats from them: North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee (2), Texas, and Washington. The Democrats did manage to take 2 seats from them: Michigan and Minnesota. This meant a net change of 5 seats, giving the Republicans the majority with 53 seats and putting the Democrats in the minority with 47 seats. Since 51 seats were needed for a majority, that gave the Republicans a 2-seat margin. In the gubernatorial races, the Republicans gained 7 governorships: Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Among the winners:
  • In Arizona, Republican Senator Barry Goldwater (first appointed in 1957) won a second full term.
  • In California, Republican Senator Richard Nixon (first elected in 1958) won re-election to a second term.
  • In Delaware, Republican David P. Buckson was elected Governor.
  • In Illinois, Republican Charles H. Percy defeated Democratic Governor Otto Kerner Jr.
  • In Massachusetts, Democratic Senator Robert F. Kennedy (having completed his brother John’s 1959-1965 term) won a full term of his own. His other brother Ted won re-election to his seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
  • In Minnesota, Democrat Walter Mondale was elected to the Senate.
  • In New Jersey, Republican Senator Robert W. Kean (first elected in 1958) won re-election to a second term.
  • In New York, Republican Senator Kenneth Keating (first elected in 1958) won re-election to a second term.
  • In Ohio, Republican Robert Taft Jr. was elected to the Senate.
  • In Oklahoma, Republican Bud Wilkinson won a special election to serve out the remainder of late Democratic Senator Robert S. Kerr’s 1961-1967 term (Kerr had died in January 1963).
  • In Tennessee, Republican Howard Baker won a special election to serve out the remainder of late Democratic Senator Estes Kefauver’s 1961-1967 term (Kefauver had died in August 1963). In the general election, Republican Dan Kuykendall defeated Democratic Senator Albert Gore Sr.
  • In Texas, Republican Governor John Tower (first elected in 1962) won re-election to a second term. In the Senate race, Republican George H.W. Bush defeated Democratic incumbent Ralph Yarborough.
  • In Washington, Republican Lloyd J. Andrews was elected to the Senate.
  • In West Virginia, Republican Cecil H. Underwood was elected Governor for a second non-consecutive time.
  • In Wyoming, Republican Senator John S. Wold (in office since winning a special election in 1962) won a full term of his own.
In Houston, Texas, Bush stood alongside his father Prescott and brother Jonathan to watch the election returns on television. No Republican had represented Texas in the United States Senate since the 1870s; so when Bush was declared the winner, it was a stunning political moment. He was able to defeat Yarborough in part because the liberal Yarborough had become so unpopular with conservative Democrats that many of them threw their support behind Bush’s conservative campaign rather than back the detested candidate of their own party. Like Jack Cox earlier in the Republican primary runoff, Yarborough had been outspent by Bush in the Senate race by a margin of three-to-one. Having come to Texas after serving in World War Two to make a name for himself in the oil industry, 40-year-old George H.W. Bush was now on his way to Washington, D.C. as the junior Republican Senator from the Lone Star State.

At 11:08 PM EST, television viewers watched McGovern – with his family by his side – address a roomful of supporters in South Dakota. He announced that he had called Forbes to congratulate him on his victory and to express his hope that “in the next four years you will lead us to a time of peace abroad and justice at home. You have my full support in such efforts.”
Having lost the election, McGovern’s supporters cheered him the best they could. Although he was trying to put on a stiff upper lip as he delivered his concession speech, he couldn’t completely hide the agony of defeat he was going through. “It does hurt to lose,” he admitted, “But I am not going to shed any tears tonight.”
McGovern reminded his supporters both in the room and across the country that this campaign was made possible by them. It was “the people” who rose up and demanded change after four years of Scoop Jackson. “You worked so hard, so terribly hard, for the past year to bring about change in our country. All of your effort, I am positive, will bear fruit for years to come.”
“There can be no question at all that we have pushed our party in the direction of peace,”
he said in an obvious dig at Jackson whose hawkishness had denied him re-nomination. “We will press on with the effort of peace until all the bloodshed and all the sorrow have ended once and for all.”
McGovern’s emphasis on peace signaled his post-election intention to continue pushing for it in the Senate. He had after all established himself on the campaign trail as being the peace candidate who had a plan to bring an immediate end to the Vietnam War in order to prevent more young American men from being killed or wounded there. That nearly half the Americans who went to the polls had rejected McGovern’s peace plan in favor of a continuation of the war frustrated him to no end. Out of that frustration came a decision to double-down on his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War, to make the country realize it had made a terrible and tragic mistake in not electing him President and thereby stopping the bloodshed in Vietnam.

In several ways, the 1964 election marked a major change in American politics. It obviously ended the reign of Democratic rule that had been in place since the early 1950s. It also drove the final nail into the coffin of New Deal liberalism. The last of the New Deal Democrats, Scoop Jackson's failure to enact a New Deal-style domestic agenda showed that trying to emulate Franklin D. Roosevelt just wasn't going to work anymore. Although McGovern lost the election, his nomination signaled a dovish shift for the Democratic Party. Believing that Scoop represented the dangers of being hawkish, Democrats from 1964 on would advocate a more dovish position. Republican wins in the South meanwhile meant that at long last the GOP could compete with the Democrats in this region of the country. Having decisively won the White House and captured control of the Senate, the Republicans understandably felt after the election that they had been handed a mandate by the voters to lead the United States in a different, more conservative direction. There was little appetite going into 1965 for another ambitious liberal agenda of new domestic programs aimed at making society great. Exactly what the Republican agenda next year would look like was something President-elect Forbes and Congressional leaders wasted little time in laying out.
 
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jeeshadow

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Well, this was not surprising. The Vietnam War will probably determine how well Forbes does. What I am very interested is how civil rights will play out in the parties. I could see either party embracing it or rejecting it, although with Goldwaterism gaining strength in the Republican Party, I see Civil Rights as likely to follow a fairly historical path. Even if Forbes supports further Civil Rights legislating, the Conservative bent of Congress will likely make that difficult.
 

volksmarschall

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Wasn't elected. Didn't get over 50% of the popular vote. #RESIST! :p
 

NickFeyR

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Wasn't elected. Didn't get over 50% of the popular vote. #RESIST! :p
It's so strange to see decent Republicans getting elected, unlike one certain orange ogre the US got the elected these days to the highest office. And like volksmarshall said Republicans could still feel connected with San Francisco, as there still were moderate, liberal Republicans, nowaways you have to use a magnifying glass to find them, if they still even exist(doubt it sincerely). History is.....weird. You know what they say The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there. It certainly seems so these days.
 
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El Pip

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Forbes has finally won, I'm taking the fact he didn't want to take the victory for granted as a good sign. On the other hand the size of the Dixiecrat vote is a bit depressing.

I'm also a tad concerned about the election, those total votes and percentages don't appear to add up. I'm assuming the vote numbers are correct and it's 71 million total votes, so correct percentages are;
Forbes - 54.7%
McGovern - 30.2%
Wallace 14.4%
Random others (Prohibition, Socialists, States Rights and other strange causes) - 0.7%

In which case Forbes did get >50% of the popular vote and volksmarschall is guilty of spreading fake news... :D
 

volksmarschall

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In which case Forbes did get >50% of the popular vote and volksmarschall is guilty of spreading fake news... :D
I believe it goes by "alternative facts" these days! Or Nathan Madien is guilty of spreading "fake news" from his media empire! :p

Someday I'll muster up the courage to get back into The Butterfly Effect. I'm too far behind and don't quite remember where my last marathon ended other than my last post is like 10 months ago! :p
 

El Pip

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Someday I'll muster up the courage to get back into The Butterfly Effect. I'm too far behind and don't quite remember where my last marathon ended other than my last post is like 10 months ago! :p
I've had a very distracting year, doing lots of non-writing things, so I believe I've managed about 3 updates since last summer. This is ridiculously lax and mildly embarrassing, but does make it easy for people to catch up.
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Although McGovern lost the election, his nomination signaled a dovish shift for the Democratic Party. Believing that Scoop represented the dangers of being hawkish, Democrats from 1964 on would advocate a more dovish position.
So, unless the Vietnam War takes a turn for the worse or a Tet surprise arises, the Dems are going to be lost in the wilderness for a long while...
 

NickFeyR

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It will be interesting which plans the GOP will lay out for the US for the late 60s. As you said, Forbes and the Republican Congress will swing the country unto a more conservative course, but how that will translate into policy? In a nutshell(could be wrong, of course): Probably a smaller federal government(a staple of GOP policy). Welfare cuts I think, and other cuts for Medicare, I guess? Also of interest is of course civil rights. Knowing Dirksen was historically for civil rights and the main proponent for the CRA of 1964 and the Voting rights Act of 1965, and Forbes being pro civil rights as well ITTL, they will probably build on the foundation laid by Jackson. All in all, it will be interesting, as a foreigner and not that knowledgeable about US politics, and not exactly a conservative myself. :p
 
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volksmarschall

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It will be interesting which plans the GOP will lay out for the US for the late 60s. As you said, Forbes and the Republican Congress will swing the country unto a more conservative course, but how that will translate into policy? In a nutshell(could be wrong, of course): Probably a smaller federal government(a staple of GOP policy). Welfare cuts I think, and other cuts for Medicare, I guess? Also of interest is of course civil rights. Knowing Dirksen was historically for civil rights and the main proponent for the CRA of 1964 and the Voting rights Act of 1965, and Forbes being pro civil rights as well ITTL, they will probably build on the foundation laid by Jackson. All in all, it will be interesting, as a foreigner and not that knowledgeable about US politics, and not exactly a conservative myself. :p
The funny thing is Dirksen is a key person in the shift away from real conservatism in the US which was isolationist, anti-imperialist, and supportive of labor unions. Dirksen represents the shift toward international anti-communism against the "Moscow Puppets" and "closet socialists" like Robert Taft who was opposed to Cold War escalation and supported low income housing (though had a poor record on labor unionism).

Dirksen pivoted the GOP to supporting LBJ's War even though others suggested it would be better for the Republicans to oppose the war. So this is going to be quite a ride to see how a Republican Administration is going to impact the future of American political evolution with Vietnam and Civil Rights.

I guess we all have to just wait and see. :cool:
 

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You know, it's not just Reagan who's beginning his ascent, what's happened to another notable right winger who was teaching at Brooklyn Tech (my grandfather's alma mater) around this time? Next year would mark the founding of Left and Right and perhaps we'll get the "myth of Reagonomics" sooner TTL. I'm somewhat surprised that Wallace didn't do better in the Midwest, but I suppose the Panthers, Weathermen, and other assorted beasties of the New Left haven't yet given the Civil Rights Movement the suspicious optics that it carried in the Seventies. I do wonder if McGovern won't be TTL's Goldwater. It would be quite ironic if some hard-left type wins in 1980 after Reagan serves on disastrous term trying to implement conservative principles. Although if that happens this universe's Sandinista! just won't be the same.