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  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion
  U.S. Presidential Election Results (Moderators: Torie, Senator ON Progressive)
  Most consequential presidential election? (search mode)
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Author Topic: Most consequential presidential election?  (Read 7049 times)
Beef
YaBB God
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Posts: 7,342
United States


Political Matrix
E: -2.77, S: -8.78

« on: September 13, 2018, 04:11:28 am »


1912, because it really marks the beginning of a progressive movement within the Democratic Party. For the first time you had a Democratic regime representing government activism, social reform, a new national reserve bank, and international cooperation. And this from a party still largely rooted in the South. It presaged the rise of the New Deal Coalition, and therefore is to me the dawn of the modern Democratic Party. Wilson is also a pivotal figure, since in my mind the decision to enter into a foreign war was on the level of the Louisiana Purchase and secession as a moment in which the fundamental nature of the republic was irrevocably changed.

1932? Perhaps. One could say FDR saved capitalism from itself. The election of a Democrat was a foregone conclusion, but this particular Democrat was the right person for the job at the most critical juncture of the 20th Century.

1940? We would have entered the war under Wilkie. Maybe sooner than in the OTL.

1968? The Democratic Primary was hugely consequential, though I think the changes happening in the country had little to do with who was in the White House. It did mark the beginning of the end of the New Deal Coalition, which would have huge consequences when it came to the future of the welfare state in America.

1980? The New Right triumphs for the first time. Reagan, his administration, and his allies were responsible for shifting the soul of conservatism away from pro-business elitism to a coalition of moralists and small government activists. This movement had been growing for some time, but Reagan made the New Right a dominant force within American politics like never before. We can thank this election for the current contentious left/right divide.

2000? Technically still in the 20th Century, Bush and his neoconservatives are responsible for the new pro-military, pro-American-power orthodoxy currently dominating White America. A lot of that has to do with 9/11, and who knows what the response would have been under a Gore administration, but I can guarantee you the nation would have taken a radically different path.
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Beef
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 7,342
United States


Political Matrix
E: -2.77, S: -8.78

« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2018, 08:22:42 am »

The 10 most Consequential IMHO:

1. 1932
2. 1980
3. 1912
4. 1968
5. 2000 (if it counts as 20th century)
6. 1992
7. 1916
8. 1948
9. 1960 (the parties and the country would be different if Nixon won)
10. 1988

When I have time, I plan on doing a detailed TL of Nixon winning in 1960, titled "Only Nixon Could Go to Selma."
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Beef
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 7,342
United States


Political Matrix
E: -2.77, S: -8.78

« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2018, 08:39:00 am »

The 10 most Consequential IMHO:

1. 1932
2. 1980
3. 1912
4. 1968
5. 2000 (if it counts as 20th century)
6. 1992
7. 1916
8. 1948
9. 1960 (the parties and the country would be different if Nixon won)
10. 1988

When I have time, I plan on doing a detailed TL of Nixon winning in 1960, titled "Only Nixon Could Go to Selma."

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Beef
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 7,342
United States


Political Matrix
E: -2.77, S: -8.78

« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2019, 03:56:55 pm »

Close election counterfactuals:

Since the 2000 election was technically in the 20th century, I'm going to include that one.

The entire history of the country (and the world) post-9/11 would have been radically different.

Ford winning in 1976 might have prevented the Reagan Revolution from ever happening. Even if Reagan beat Ford for the GOP nomination in 1980 (likely), he would have been a tough sell after 12 years of Republicans, during which we saw inflation, economic stagnation, losing an overseas war, and several energy crises. Americans would have wanted something new, even if that meant Ted Kennedy.

If Nixon won in 1960, he would have presided over the civil rights movement and the ramp-up in Vietnam. I wrote a story about this, "Only Nixon Could Have Gone to Selma," in which he becomes a champion of civil rights and the Southern Strategy never happens. When abortion is politicized, the Democrats are the party of southern born again Protestants and Northern urban Catholics, both of whom oppose abortion rights. Republicans fall back on their social progressive, albeit elitist, roots. The party of educated whites and big business. How things play out from there I have no idea.

But the most consequential:

If TR won the 1912 GOP nomination, he would have cleaned Wilson off the map. The US would have joined the Entente in WWI much earlier, resulting in a rapid victory. The provisional Russian government wouldn't have collapsed, and the Bolsheviks never would have taken power. Germany would have avoided such a harsh peace, which means no Hitler. Meanwhile, many of TR's progressive, socialist ideas would have been seen as perfectly acceptable without the specter of Soviet Communism. Old age insurance, national health, and a much more activist government would have been spearheaded by a progressive GOP. The Democrats would have remained the party of Southern reactionaries. The USA also wouldn't have been dominated by Wilsonian foreign policy ideology for 100 years.

A much, much better world.
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