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President Johnson
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« on: September 14, 2016, 12:40:20 pm »

I'm starting a new what-if timeline in the weeks and months to follow. The idea came to my mind these days. Interstingly during a shopping trip.

All starts on March 31, 1968; the fateful day when LBJ announced that he would not run for president again. Everything to this day remains to same, but then the president makes another decision.

Enjoy reading and feel free to comment.


Chapter 1: The year 1968

March 31, 1968. President Lyndon B. Johnson addresses the nation.



President Johnson during his address to the nation from the Oval Office, March 31, 1968


THE PRESIDENT: "Good evening, my fellow Americans: Tonight I want to speak to you of peace in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. […]

With America's sons in the fields far away, with America's future under challenge right here at home, with our hopes and the world's hopes for peace in the balance every day, I do believe that it is in the vital interest of the nation and our fighting men in Vietnam, the they know that the present leadership is behind them. That they can depend on their president and the entire administration. There should also be no confusion abroad. Our allies should know that we stand to our commitments and our advisories should know that we are going to proceed our policy towards seeking and promoting freedom, while we will continue and intensify our diplomatic efforts – just as I have outlined in this address.

Accordingly, I hereby declare that I will seek the nomination of the Democratic Party and your support for another term as your president. I made this decision with a deep commitment to serve our nation and to continue the polices we have begun. To finish our mission, here at home by building a Great Society and abroad to promote freedom and democracy. This is why I ask for you continued support. Support, that you have given me since I assumed this awesome responsibility four and a half years ago, when our late president John Fitzgerald Kennedy was struck down.

Thank you for listening, good night and god bless all of you."


Statement by the Richard Nixon presidential campaign, April 1, 1968:

Mr. Nixon welcomes the entering of President Lyndon Johnson into the race for the White House. We will continue to reach out to the American people and make the case that we have the better solutions to fix our nation’s problems. The crime rate is too high, disrespect for law and order is devastating and the ongoing war in Vietnam is a stalemate. While thousands of our boys die in battle, the standing of the United States in world has declined. Mr. Nixon offers this country a fresh and new approach the end the war with honor, restore law and order here at home and improve life conditions of every American. The Democrats under the leadership of Presidents Kennedy and Johnson have led to the problems we currently face and therefore we need a new direction. Mr. Nixon is ready to lead this nation towards a more prosperous and peaceful future.


Democratic presidential candidates Eugene McCarthy and Robert Kennedy have not reacted to the president’s announcement as of April 1.


Gallup National Polls, released on April 2, 1968:

Democratic nomination:

Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson: 43%
Sen. Robert F. Kenndy: 37%
Sen. Eugene McCarthy: 15%
Undecided/other: 5%

Republican nomination:

Fmr. Vice-Pres. Richard Nixon: 47%
Gov. Nelson Rockefeller: 23%
Gov. Ronald Reagan: 20%
Undecided/other: 10%


General election, nationwide:

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 46%
Richard Nixon (R): 45%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 45%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 45%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 47%
Ronald Reagan (R): 43%



Robert F. Kennedy (D): 46%
Richard Nixon (R): 46%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 45%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 44%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 45%
Ronald Reagan (R): 44%



Next: The spring primaries and the road towards the National Conventions
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2016, 12:45:44 pm »

Call for a bombing halt on North Vietnam! Imprison Anna Chennault! President Johnson Über Alles!
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2016, 05:46:32 pm »

This looks promising!!
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2016, 10:29:43 pm »

Of all the liberals from this time period....

In all seriousness, I'm not sure how someone can be a great admirer of Ford and LBJ at the same time, as their personalities and governing styles were near exact opposites. However, good luck to LBJ, and maybe he'll be a better person ITTL.
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« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2016, 03:46:11 am »

I just can tell this: It doesn't end with LBJ Wink
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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2016, 05:57:23 am »

April 2, The Wisconsin Primary

BREAKING: EUGENE MCCARTHY USPSETS PRESIDENT JOHNSON IN WISCONSIN PRIMARY; NIXON WINS EASILY


Democratic presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy addressing supporters in Wisconsin



Republican presidential contender Richard Nixon during his victory celebration after securing an easy win in Wisconsin

As Wisconsin voters were heading to the polls, Republican candidate Richard Nixon, as expected, easily won the primary race of his party. He garnered 77% of the vote. Both governors Nelson Rockefeller of New York, the leader of the party's liberal wing, and Ronald Reagan of California, leader of the conservative wing, failed to gain traction in the midwestern state. However, both governors renewed their pledge to go the convention and attempt to win GOP nomination. "Mr. Nixon's history of losing elections to Democrats is long enough. We need someone who can win and carry forward conservative policies", Reagan commented. Rockefeller denounced both of his competitors as not electable in a national election. "Our campaign is addressing the real issues and offers the same bold leadership for the country as Governor Rockefeller does in New York for nine years".

Minnesota Senator Eugene McCarthy continued his streak of success. After coming in a strong second in New Hampshire earlier in March, he defeated President Johnson this time 50-40%. This is stunning and can be seen as a massive defeat for a sitting president. Senator Robert Kennedy, who did not campaign in the state, received 7%. "We will continue our cause to be a real alternative", the McCarthy stated. The White House did not comment the outcome officially, but an aide to Mr. Johnson told the New York Times that the president plans to campaign in the remaining primaries. The president is, according to the aide, angered about the lack of loyalty within is party because he thinks that only he can lead Democrats to victory.

Despite Senator McCarthy's shocking win, securing the nomination still remains an uphill battle, since several delegates are selected by local party bosses who back the president's bid for reelection. The best opportunity to unseat Mr. Johnson would be to join forces with Senator Kennedy and unite the anti-Johnson votes during the primaries to put enough pressure on the delegates to dump the incumbent.




April 20, 1968. President Johnson addresses the nation on Vietnam.



President Lyndon B. Johnson during his press conference


These have been busy weeks for the president. He made several campaign stumps and continued his diplomatic initiative in Vietnam. On April 20, the president holds a press conference, just three days before the next primary in Pennsylvania.

THE PRESIDENT: "My fellow citizens. Three weeks ago I have ordered to suspend almost all air bombing in Vietnam. Today I want to inform the public on the status of the negotiations. We have spent the last weeks to find a place for peace talks, where all involved parties can agree. The North Vietnamese long insisted on places that were unacceptable for us because all the advantages would theirs. Today, however, I can announce that all involved parties can agree on the city of Paris. I want to thank all negotiators and the government of France for their efforts towards peace. The talks are scheduled to begin next month. I also want to announce that I have selected W. Averell Harriman and Cyrus Vance to lead the American delegation and make our positions clear. Thank you."


Statement by Senator Robert F. Kennedy on Vietnam: I support the diplomatic actions taken by President Johnson. I hope these negotiations will be successfull so that we can have an honorable peace and bring our boys home. However, I also want to make it clear that this move comes very late. The president should have done this earlier and not now that he's fearing a defeat at the polls.


Gallup National Polls, released on April 22, 1968:

Democratic nomination:

Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson: 37%
Sen. Robert F. Kennedy: 35%
Sen. Eugene McCarthy: 20%
Undecided/other: 8%

Republican nomination:

Fmr. Vice-Pres. Richard Nixon: 53%
Gov. Nelson Rockefeller: 20%
Gov. Ronald Reagan: 18%
Undecided/other: 9%


General election, nationwide:

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 45%
Richard Nixon (R): 46%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 44%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 44%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 45%
Ronald Reagan (R): 43%


Robert F. Kennedy (D): 44%
Richard Nixon (R): 46%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 44%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 45%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 44%
Ronald Reagan (R): 42%


Eugene McCarthy (D): 43%
Richard Nixon (R): 47%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 42%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 47%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 43%
Ronald Reagan (R): 45%


President Johnson job approval:
Approve: 41%
Disapprove: 50%
Unsure: 9%
« Last Edit: September 18, 2016, 06:10:53 am by President Johnson »Logged

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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2017, 03:24:56 pm »

It has been a while, but I found some time again to keep writing. I’m pleased to continue this timeline. Feel free to comment.


April 23, 1968: The Pennsylvania Primary

BREAKING: PA PRIMARIES WON BY PRESIDENT JOHNSON AND RICHARD NIXON

Just days after announcing the start of the Paris Peace Talks, there is more good news for President Lyndon Johnson: He won the Pennsylvania presidential primary against Senator Eugene McCarthy by carrying 59% of the vote, compared to McCarthy’s 40%. Senator Robert Kennedy did not participate. Write-in votes were not possible. While the president just briefly thanked his voters, his challenger stated he will continue his campaign. He also suggested Robert Kennedy to leave the race since only he had beaten Johnson as of now. Kennedy did not reacted, but stated he would like to participate on the upcoming primaries and make his case to the people.



On the Republican side, former Vice President Richard Nixon, as expected, decisively defeated Nelson Rockefeller and Ronald Reagan. He’s the clear frontrunner for his party’s nomination.



In the polls, Nixon consolidated his support among GOP primary voters and is at dead-heat with the president and Mr. Kennedy nationally. Eugene McCarthy lost momentum after his defeat, both among Democratic voters as well as nationally. He is now behind all Republican candidates, underperforming both President Johnson and Senator Kennedy.


There are also some new polls out, released by The NY Times after the Pennsylvania primary:

Democratic presidential nomination:

Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson: 47%
Sen. Robert F. Kennedy: 31%
Sen. Eugene McCarthy: 20%


Republican presidential nomination:

Fmr. Vice-Pres. Richard Nixon: 60%
Gov. Nelson Rockefeller: 21%
Gov. Ronald Reagan: 17%


National polls:

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 45%
Richard Nixon (R): 45%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 46%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 44%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 45%
Ronald Reagan (R): 44%


Robert F. Kennedy (D): 44%
Richard Nixon (R): 44%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 44%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 43%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 44%
Ronald Reagan (R): 42%


Eugene McCarthy (D): 42%
Richard Nixon (R): 48%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 40%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 47%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 43%
Ronald Reagan (R): 47%


President Johnson job approval:
Approve: 43%
Disapprove: 47%


Further developments in late April:

On April 24, 1968, President Johnson hold an ad-hoc press-conference at the White House and announced that General William Westmoreland would be replaced by General Creighton Abrams as commanding general in Vietnam. Although the president publically praised Westmoreland’s military service, it was no secret that the commander-in-chief became increasingly frustrated with Westmoreland and his leadership. Back in March, the president rejected the general’s call for additional 206,000 troops.



Press Conference with General William Westmoreland outside the White House

On April 25, 1968 President Johnson flew to Hawaii to meet with South Vietnamese President Thieu to discuss the ongoing war and upcoming Paris talks. However, little agreement was reached. The South Vietnamese president did not agree to send an own delegation to Paris, despite President Johnson’s urging. Thieu expressed his opinion that negotiations with the North are useless unless they agree the cease fire entirely and recognize South Vietnam as sovereign country. And aide of Johnson told the press, that the president was privately frustrated with Thieu and his administration, because he [Johnson] now believes, that there is no sole military solution.



President Johnson during his meeting with President Thieu of South Vietnam

While his Democratic challengers remained surprisingly silent on the meeting, Richard Nixon stated the he supports “any effort for peace”, but that unlike the Johnson Administration he has a “secret plan” to end the war with honor. Nixon also presented former Rockefeller aide Henry Kissinger as foreign policy advisor. This was further setback for the New York Governor. Nixon also accused the Democrats of being weak on crime at a rally, citing the massive violence after Martin Luther King’s death early that month.



Republican presidential candidate Richard Nixon with Henry Kissinger after the announcement that Kissinger would join the campaign as foreign policy advisor

Later the month, the president also hosted a series of state visits with foreign leaders at the White House. His aides and campaign staffers advised him to use his office’s prestige and pose as a man fully in charge of the nation’s business to boost his chances for reelection. Meanwhile, Vice President Hubert Humphrey started a surprise mid-west tour to campaign on the president’s behalf. The press viewed this as clear indication that Humphrey would stay on the ticket should President Johnson be renominated, which seems now more likely than a month before. Humphrey vehemently attacked Nixon’s talk of a “secret plan” on Vietnam, denouncing it as pure campaign rhetoric. Senator Robert Kennedy made a similar statement by criticizing Nixon.


Next: Heading into May and some surprise developments including primary more results… stay tuned!
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« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2017, 04:47:20 pm »

April 30, 1968

BREAKING: KENNEDY AND ROCKEFELLER WIN THEIR FIRST PRIMARY

As primary voters went to the polls in Massachusetts, both Senator Robert Kennedy and Governor Nelson Rockefeller won their first primary. However, both are behind in the delegate count for the nomination of their respective party. Massachusetts was also friendly territory for both contenders. Kennedy had the advantage that he lived most of his life in the state, although he represents the state of New York in the senate. Both of his brothers, Ted as well as late President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, represented the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the upper house of congress. Mr. Kennedy defeated Senator Eugene McCarthy with 45% of the vote, compared to 29% for the latter. President Lyndon Johnson came in third with 25%. This is a poor result for the president, even putting aside the fact that he did not campaign here. However, as White House Officials told the public, he is expected for several campaign stumps in May. The President is still leading in delegate count, as his reelection campaign backed by most state parties and their local bosses.



On the Republican side, Governor Nelson Rockefeller defeated Richard Nixon by a wide margin. As the state is seen as very liberal, Mr. Rockefeller had an easy path to victory. California Governor Ronald Reagan, the leading figure of the conservative faction, who is not actively campaigning for president, received few votes. Despite his defeat, former Vice President Richard Nixon is still the overall favorite for the Republican nomination. He has also a significant lead in most other states that hold primary elections, as well as nationwide. Mr. Nixon is already using most of his time to prepare for the general election; either against President Johnson or Senator Kennedy. Just the day of the primary, he stressed a strict law and order policy and blaming Democratic leadership for growing disrespect for law.



Political developments in early May:

Official Peace talks between representatives of the US government and the North Vietnam regime officially began in early in Paris. President Johnson had, against the advice from the State Department, approved the participation of the Viet Cong. The Johnson Administration, however, emphasized that expectations should not be too high. Secretary of State Dean Rusk described the negotiations as “very difficult”. He also expressed his assessment that the North would not be ready for any agreement before the November election. Rusk, however, told the public that the president would give a major speech on Vietnam this summer to outline his plans.


May 11: George Wallace makes big announcement



Former Alabama Governor George Wallace, the segregationist Democrat and potential third-party presidential candidate for president, gives a statement days after his wife, who succeeded him as the state’s chief-executive in 1967, unexpectedly passed away:

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Thank you very much for all the condolences I have received in these past days on the passing of my dear wife Lurleen. I was deeply moved by the warm words expressed by our fellow countrymen. I have also talked to President Johnson, Mr. Nixon and Mr. Kennedy. I thank them for their condolences […] Today I also want to announce that in the light of this heavy private loss I will not run for president in the upcoming election. I shall also not accept the nomination of any party for that office. I would have liked to be an alternative to the establishment Democratic and Republican candidates, but I believe that any individual seeking the office of president shall be 100% on the job. On the campaign trail and in the White House. Right now, I have chosen that I fall short of that self-set requirement. Therefore I shall not run for president in 1968, but I do not indent to retreat from politics. I will remain engaged, express my views on issues that matter and want to leave the door open for future public service. Both here in the great state of Alabama as well as at the national stage. Thank you very much, God bless you, God bless the United States of America, God bless Alabama.”

With Wallace’s exit of the presidential contest, the 1968 presidential election is expected to be a head-to-head contest between Republican Richard Nixon, who is on his way to the GOP nomination, and the Democratic nominee; likely President Lyndon B. Johnson, possibly Robert F. Kennedy. Eugene McCarthy’s chances are slim, despite his upset victories in some primaries, because virtually the whole party machine is against him. Unlike Kennedy, he has few friends among the party leaders. However, since Wallace refused to endorse any present candidate, there have been some rumors spread that Georgia Governor Lester Maddox, another segregationist, would launch a write-in campaign for president to oppose the three liberal Democratic contenders as well as the Republican ticket.


May Primaries

Democratic:

States won by Lyndon B. Johnson: Ohio, West Virginia, Florida, Oregon

States won by Robert F. Kennedy: Washington DC, Indiana, Nebraska

Eugene McCarthy only came in second in Oregon, where he finished slightly behind Lyndon Johnson. Kennedy was a distant third.

Republican: Richard Nixon won all the states mentioned above. Both Nelson Rockefeller and Ronald Reagan stated their campaigns now mainly focus on receiving delegates at the RNC convention floor as well as implementing some of their positions to the party platform.


Other events and state of the campaign, conclusion of the month:

Despite a mixed performance in the May presidential primaries, President Johnson is still comfortably ahead in the delegate count for the Democratic nomination. He is backed by most local party bosses – especially Chicago’s Mayor and host of the nominating convention in August, Richard J. Daley. However, the president faced some backlash in public opinion as the Paris Peace talks quickly stalled. A majority of Americans came to believe that the negotiations won’t end the war soon, although they now favored the talks, what has not been the case before the Tet Offensive back in January. May 1968 also made a sad record in terms of casualties in Vietnam, with over 500 men lost. Per week. On the domestic front, another wave of urban riots shock the nation. Republicans blamed the Johnson Administration and Democratic congress for the growing disrespect for law and order. The recent outbreaks of violence quickly overshadowed President Johnson’s legislative successes from April, were he has been able to sign a landmark housing bill into law. Nevertheless, the president, playing the role of a rustically Texan, seemed determined to fight his way through. During an appearance in New York City, he denounced the Republican policies without mentioning Nixon’s name, criticized the lack of loyalty in general and empathized the need to continue the Great Society. But there are more challenges: In an overheated economy and budget deficits, the White House negotiates with lawmakers for a tax surcharge. Treasury Secretary Henry Fowler stated that the president intends a bill come to his desk before the congressional summer recess. The president also announced that he would present a modified Vietnam strategy by summer for any possible outcome of the Paris talks, should he return to the White House for another four years coming January.

As the Kennedy campaign now fully kicked off, the young New York Senator gained momentum by late May. There have been three national polls for the nomination out in the final week of May. The NYT-poll showed Kennedy leading for the first time with 44% of the vote, compared to Johnson’s 38%. McCarthy stood now at just 14%. A Gallup-poll had Johnson ahead with 42% compared to 36% for Kennedy and 13% for McCarthy. A CBS-Poll showed Johnson at 43%, Kennedy at 40% and McCarthy 15%. McCarthy’s decline of support is an indication that most anti-war Democrats switched to Kennedy. JFK’s younger brother is also performing significantly better than the Minnesota Senator against Nixon. As CBS-Anchor Walter Cronkite noted, it seems “as though Kennedy’s strategy to present himself as the most electable candidate besides the president has fully worked off”. The main test for Kennedy is now the California Primary in early May. He must win here to keep his momentum. President Johnson is also under heavy pressure. If he loses by a large margin in California, as some polls suggest, he would have a hard time to recover politically despite his lead in the delegate count.


Opinion polls, as of May 31, 1968:

National polls:

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 43%
Richard Nixon (R): 45%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 43%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 46%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 44%
Ronald Reagan (R): 46%


Robert F. Kennedy (D): 44%
Richard Nixon (R): 45%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 45%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 45%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 45%
Ronald Reagan (R): 45%


Eugene McCarthy (D): 42%
Richard Nixon (R): 47%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 41%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 47%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 42%
Ronald Reagan (R): 46%


President Johnson job approval:
Approve: 40%
Disapprove: 51%


Next: Heading into June and the critical California Primary… stay tuned!
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2017, 04:36:52 am »

June 4, 1968: The big day in California

CBS Special report on the California presidential primaries. With Walter Cronkite



WALTER CRONKITE: "Good evening America and welcome to this CBS special report on the California presidential primary. My name is Walter Cronkite. Today is a highlight in this political year, as voters of the nation’s largest state, a status California has gained in 1962, head to the polls for the primaries […] We have now a first major prediction for the Republican primary: According to our penal, Richard Nixon was defeated Ronald Reagan and Nelson Rockefeller by a significant margin. Both Nixon and Reagan are natives of California, although Mr. Nixon’s formal residence is currently New York. I think it is now certain to say that former Vice President Richard Nixon will once again head the Republican ticket this coming election. Yet, we have no confirmation that Mr. Nixon will give a speech tonight.  We keep you up to date.


Now I want to turn over to the Democratic primary. This is a very important contest here, since it is pivotal for each of the three campaigns. Actually, each candidate has to win it. Most recent polls showed Robert Kennedy leading by high single-digits. That’s a fair number, but does not guarantee a victory. President Johnson and Mr. McCarthy were running even at second place. In theory, each candidate could be victorious tonight. Especially McCarthy and Mr. Kennedy made great efforts in California. Both are competing for the anti-war vote. President Johnson left it to Vice President Humphrey to give two speeches. We will see how this plays out now.


And now, we have the first major projection for the Democratic Primary. Here it is:


✓ Robert Kennedy: 40.91%; Lyndon Johnson: 37.51%; Eugene McCarthy: 21.23%

Wow, what a stunning upset! Bobby Kennedy has won the pivotal California primary by a fair margin. This is a huge boost for his campaign, especially when it comes to prove that he’s an electable candidate. It seems like Mr. Kennedy’s message has resounded well in the Golden State, which is a center of the opposition to the Vietnam War. Though that stunning victory is energizing his base and a huge success, Senator Kennedy has still a lot of work to do when it comes to winning at the convention floor. He needs to win a large portion of those delegates not coming from primary states, that are considered to be in Johnson’s camp. Nevertheless, this result is a huge setback for the president. But his defeat in California is not altering the fact, that Mr. Johnson is still ahead in the delegate count. However, he faces the threat some delegates switch into the Kennedy camp because they come to the conclusion that the rising senator is better able to beat Richard Nixon. An even greater setback experienced Eugene McCarthy today. Not just because there are so many delegates at stake in California, but also because he believed to gain more support here with his anti-war stances. It seems that Mr. Kennedy’s massive efforts have heavily paid off now and that he took most of the anti-war vote. The Democratic nomination process will remain exciting. And not just because of the situation we now find ourselves in, also because when we think ahead of the general election campaign. Whoever ends up as the Democratic standard-bearer this summer needs consolidated support from the party to win the White House.

And now we are switching to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where Robert Kennedy now gives a speech."



ROBERT F. KENNEDY: "Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you very very much. I want to thank you all and thank the voters of the great state of California. We made the impossible possible. [...] I want to fight for you every day. Fight for equality and civil rights, for econmomic safety and for better housing. And I want to end the war in Vietnam. We must stop the kinning as soon as possible and develop and new strategy to foreign policy. I want to do this, together with you. You, who you have putten you trust in me. [...] I just received a telegram from the president, where he congretulated us to this victory. I also thank him for being a tough competitor. No, don't boo please. We now take our destiny in our own hands to continue the great campaign for a better future that begun just few months ago. And now, let's go to Chicago!"


Then… Bobby Kennedy walks out of the ball room after he finished his remarks… stay tuned!
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« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2017, 04:55:11 am »

Great TL! Curious to see what happens next.
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2017, 01:17:42 pm »

June 4/5, 1968

CBS Special report on the Presidential primaries continues. With Walter Cronkite




WALTER CRONKITE: "And welcome back to this CBS special report on the California presidential primary. My name is Walter Cronkite. We continue our program on this very special night, as Bobby Kennedy won the Democratic primary for president in the nation’s most populous state. Nevertheless, there have been three other primaries, and here are the results:


Illinois: ✓ Lyndon Johnson: 47.21%; Robert Kennedy: 36.74%; Eugene McCarthy: 15.40%

South Dakota: ✓ Robert Kennedy: 43.49%; Lyndon Johnson: 36.27%; Eugene McCarthy: 20.57%

New Jersey: ✓ Lyndon Johnson: 34.77%; Eugene McCarthy: 34.01%; Robert Kennedy: 32.06%


I would like to discuss the outcome with our political penal. We are witnesses of historic events, as only few incumbent presidents had such a rocky path to renomination in our country’s history.

I now want to turn over to our political analysts… I just received word that something happened at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles were RFK delivered his speech. Our reporters and others apparently heard some booms. It sounded like shots or an exploded light bulb. The noise came from a backroom. We are trying to find out more and let you know as soon as we have verified information […]

We have now received word that Senator Bobby Kennedy, who just won the California primary, has been shot at Ambassador Hotel in LA. The incident occurred as the senator walked through the kitchen. One suspect has been arrested by the police. This is a tragedy. We have no reliable information yet on Mr. Kennedy’s condition. We have no confirmation that he is not alive anymore. According to our sources, he was been hit in the back and then fell to the ground. We keep you up to date and take a short break.

Welcome back to our CBS special report on the California presidential primary. We just wanted to analyze Senator Kennedy’s win in California, but tragedy hit again […]. Our reporter at the Ambassador Hotel has now reported that Bobby Kennedy has been taken to a hospital in Los Angeles. He was hit by at least one bullet. Yet we have no confirmed information where exactly he has been hit and what his condition is. But he has not been killed. He is still alive. We inform you as soon as we have further information. As I am speaking now, campaign aides to the senator announced that they will inform the public tonight or tomorrow on Mr. Kennedy’s condition. As I am concluding this report, I may add a few personal words, because it is not the first time I have to make such a sad announcement: No matter where we stand politically, America should reject this kind of violence. Thank you, and may god bless Bobby Kennedy and that he may fully recover.




Further developments regarding Bobby Kennedy:

At the afternoon of June 5, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson, while at the Oval Office, received word of the shooting. The president reportedly expressed his sympathy to family and friends of Senator Kennedy. He intends to issue a public statement as soon as the public is informed of Mr. Kennedy’s condition.

After intense media coverage and speculation, Kennedy’s spokesman Frank Mankiewicz informed the public on the shooting and the candidate’s condition at the morning of June 6. He is expected to give a statement, but won’t take additional questions from the press:





FRANK MANKIEWICZ: "Fellow citizens and dear members of the press. First of all, I want to thank you all, in the name of the Kennedys, for the great sympathy we have received. For all the good wishes from across the country. I also want to thank President Johnson and Senator McCarthy for their calls and good wishes. I also would like to mention Mr. Nixon, Governor Reagan and Governor Rockefeller, among others, for their kind words and best wishes. Thank you all very, very much.

Now, I want to inform you on recent developments. Yesterday, after giving his victory speech, Senator Kennedy has been shot at the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in LA. Two bullets hit the senator. One in the back and one at his left-hand side shoulder. Both have been removed during a surgery that Mr. Kennedy underwent yesterday evening. Neither bullet hit an organ. The one at his shoulder has been less problematic, as it only caused a bone splinter that is expected to heal within a few months. The second one hit a rip and caused interior bleedings. The surgery took five hours and the senator lost a substantial amount of blood. He has been in a coma but has been taken out of it this morning. He is still in a critical condition and has to rest for several weeks and suffers from pain in his upper body. As his spinal column has not been hit, his future ability to walk won’t be limited. According to the doctors, the odds are good that he will fully recover, although we have to wait and see whether there will be some unexpected complications. That is still possible at the moment. In addition, one aide of Senator Kennedy has also been hit by a bullet. In the arm. He is also at the hospital, but is expected to be released within a week.

As no additional primaries are ahead, we have not made a decision about the campaign. As you are aware, there is still plenty of time to the nominating convention in late August. If possible, Senator Kennedy will continue his campaign, as we have earned a big junk of the delegates awarded through primaries. However, we will carefully review the medical situation. Mr. Kennedy will only seek the presidency, if he is fully able to carry out the awesome duties of the office to serve the American people. Thank you all very much."

In a brief statement, a spokesman of the Los Angeles Police Department announced that a Palestinian named Sirhan Sirhan has been arrested for the alleged shooting. He did not give more specific information as investigations are ongoing.


At 7 p.m. EST, President Lyndon B. Johnson went before the press at the White House to give his remarks:



THE PRESIDENT: “Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. Today I have been informed of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s condition after the tragic shooting that took place yesterday in California. First of all, on behalf of the First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, and myself I want to express our best wishes to Mr. Kennedy and his family. In this night of tragedy, we ought to stand together as one nation to reject this violence. I want to make it unmistakable clear, that I reject this act of violence which is an attack on all of us. We saw already a level of violence and hatred that cannot be tolerated. […] To prevent incidents like this, at least during the course of the campaign, I have signed an Executive Order to grant Secret Service Protection to all presidential candidates. This includes Senator Kennedy, Senator McCarthy as well as Mr. Nixon, Governor Rockefeller and Governor Reagan. I will also review the option of appointing a special task force to to study the possibilites for additional gun control. My administration is determined, if necessary, to propose and lobby for legislative measures or act by executive action, wherever possible. Thank you for your attention.”

REPORTER: “Mr. President, how do you comment your defeat in California? And the other primaries, that you won in part?”

THE PRESIDENT: “I do not want to comment on the campaign right now. I will express my views at an appropriate moment. Thank you.”
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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2017, 01:44:37 pm »

June 8, 1968: Chief Justice Earl Warren announces retirement



Chief Justice Warren during a dinner at the White House in spring, that President Johnson (front) hosted

After 15 years of service at the United States Supreme Court, Chief Justice Earl Warren today announced that he intended to retire from office. Warren, a liberal Republican and former California Governor, gained a reputation in the landmark 1954 decision Brown v. Board of Education to desegregate schools and several other decisions that marked a streak of liberal court rulings. He also chaired the Warren-Commission, that was appointed to investigate the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. At the age of 77, Chief Justice Warren now feels that his time has come to depart from the court. He officially informed President Johnson and Congress yesterday evening on his decision. Mr. Warren pledged to stay on until a successor is nominated and confirmed. The White House released a statement that the president intends to put a new Chief Justice on the court before the presidential election in November. According to insiders, Mr. Warren is concerned that Richard Nixon may pick a successor if elected this fall. According to the source, he prefers Mr. Johnson or Mr. Kennedy to appoint his successor. However, Mr. Warren declined any public statement on these rumors.

On June 9, the New York Times reported that a handful of people are on President Johnson’s shortlist to fill the post. According to the report, LBJ considers elevating one of his appointees to be Chief Justice; either Abe Fortas, a personal friend he nominated in 1965, or Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to serve at the nation’s highest court, who was appointed by President Johnson in 1967.






Possible next Chief Justice of the United States: Abe Fortas and Thurgood Marshall



June 9, 1968: President Johnson to visit Robert Kennedy at hospital

Surprise announcement by the White House today: President Johnson will depart tomorrow for California and tour through the state. Officially the president will visit the area of the proposed Yosemite National Park. The Johnson Administration is pushing for legislation to create the national park. As officials of both Senator Kennedy and the White House confirmed, LBJ will visit RFK at the hospital and talk to each other. It is not yet known who arranged the meeting; only that both sides are interested in a discussion on a broad range of issues. Especially the new situation that arose since the assassination attempt. As stated by the White House and the Kennedy campaign, there will be no reporters allowed and no pictures taken. It was announced, however, that Bobby Kennedy, though physically still in a critical condition, is not handicapped mentally and has a desire to talk to the Chief Executive.

President Johnson will return to Washington on June 12.



Further political developments during June 1968:

During the rest of the June, there was not much move both in domestic and foreign policy. The negotiations in Paris between representatives of United States, North Vietnam and the Vietcong continued, but they already reached a status of stalemate. A decisive negative factor is the fact that South Vietnam, the US ally, is not assembled around the table. President Thieu of South Vietnam refuses to participate as long as the Johnson Administration is not ready to give a 100% guarantee that South Vietnam will remain a sovereign state and that the North is ending all hostile actions immediately. Thieu also rejected a participation of communist elements in the South Vietnamese government. The Johnson Administration is increasingly under pressure to make such concessions to the South from the conservatives in Congress. However, a steady increasing number of lawmakers wants to get out of the conflict, as American casualties are still at a critical high mark. Just recently, the possibility of cutting military spending for Vietnam has been discussed. Even Vice President Hubert Humphrey has allegedly urged to speed up plans to reduce American involvement to focus on domestic problems. According to White House Officials, President Lyndon Johnson will outline his plans for Vietnam after the Democratic Convention, should he win renomination. Secretary of State Dean Rusk and his counterpart at the Pentagon, Clark Clifford, informed the public that the adminstration is working on both a modified political and military strategy. Republican presidential candidate and likely nominee Richard Nixon accused the administration of misleading the public by such announcements and suggested it was pure campaign rhetoric by the Democrats. The Nixon campaign is in its final stage to work out proposals for a platform for the GOP National Convention in early August. Meanwhile, both Governors Rockefeller and Reagan hope that there are enough anti-Nixon delegates to deny the nomination to the former vice president and win the top-spot by themselves. However, these efforts seem not likely to succeed; in part of because they both refuse to join forces since Ronald Reagan is the leader of the conservative Republicans and Nelson Rockefeller the leader of the GOP's liberal wing.

By late June, the administration succeeded with a tax bill to increase taxes. A call, the president has made for months. On June 30, without formal ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, President Johnson signed the measure into law. Due to expected revenue increases and a robust economy, the president’s budget office projects a balanced budget for 1969 despite spending records for social programs and the war.

As surprisingly as LBJ’s visit to Los Angeles came, even more surprising was the fact that no details of their meeting came out except the official statements by RFK’s aides. A Kennedy spokesman told the press that both politicians talked about several issues, including the campaign, and that their meeting took ninety minutes. According to the spokesman, RFK intends to continue his presidential campaign, but wants to review the medical situation later on. An aide to the presidential hopeful said that the Kennedy campaign is not in a hurry – pointing out that Chicago is still over two months away, leaving enough time to evaluate the situation carefully. Nevertheless, a decision on whether and how to continue will probably be announced some time in July. “As of now”, Mr. Mankiewicz said, “Senator Kennedy is still in the race. If anything changes, what might happen due to his condition or other circumstances, we will let you know”. Asked what he meant by “other circumstances”, he answered that the Senator also wants to examine his chances for the nomination. “We believe, we are in a good position, having won several primaries”, he added. However, according to Mr. Mankiewicz, Senator Kennedy is also concerned about the division in the Democratic Party and wants to do everything he can “to keep Richard Nixon out of the Oval Office”.


As of late June, there are also new polling numbers released by Gallup:

National polls:

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 45%
Richard Nixon (R): 44%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 45%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 43%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 46%
Ronald Reagan (R): 43%


Robert F. Kennedy (D): 47%
Richard Nixon (R): 44%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 47%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 45%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 49%
Ronald Reagan (R): 44%


Eugene McCarthy (D): 43%
Richard Nixon (R): 45%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 44%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 44%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 44%
Ronald Reagan (R): 43%


President Johnson job approval:
Approve: 41%
Disapprove: 49%


Next: Developments in July and Bobby Kennedy’s future plans, LBJ’s Supreme Court decisions… stay tuned!
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 01:50:59 pm by President Johnson »Logged

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« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2017, 02:15:22 pm »

Interesting timeline. Well written! I'm curious how the 1968 election turns out and what then happens. Maybe no Watergate?
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2017, 04:16:13 am »

July 2, 1968: President Johnson announces his nomination for Chief Justice




To the Senate of the United States


I nominate   Homer Thornberry, of Texas, to be Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.



Sincerely,



Lyndon B. Johnson

THE WHITE HOUSE, Washington D.C.
July 2nd, 1968


It is now official that President selected Homer Thornberry of Texas, judge at the Federal Court of Appeals, to be Chief Justice of the United States. Mr. Thornberry has known the president for several years. He had been appointed to important posts as federal judges by both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, in 1963 and 1965, respectively. The Senate will hold confirmation hearings in the fall session. Some Republican lawmakers announced their opposition to the Texas Democrat. The leading presidential candidate Richard Nixon declined for comment.



Nominee for Chief Justice: Homer Thornberry



July 4, 1968: Bobby Kennedy released from Hospital



On Independence Day 1968, Robert Kennedy got released from the Hospital in Los Angeles. The public was long been waiting for news on the senator's condition. His team just barely informed the public about his condition, only stating that it was "getting better by each day". The presidential hopeful will retreat to the Kennedy Family Home Hyannis Port in Massachusetts for a few weeks, where he will continue to recover for a few weeks. However, he will also have meetings with his aides, members of congress and Democratic officials to evaluate the coming strategy for his campaign. Until that day, there was not much news on the Kennedy campaign except that he's still determined to continue. The assassination attempt gave the senator a boost in the polls. Polls conducted over the remaining days of June showed him leading the race for the nomination by a plurality. However, a new survey from July 1 had President Johnson in the lead again, since the chief-executive had permanent publicly.

On July 15, 1968, it was announced that Robert Kennedy would give a public statement about his campaign in early August. Aides told the press that a likely date is shortly after the Republican National Convention, which will take place between August 5 and August 8.


Other political developments in July:

Despite the slow ongoing of the Vietnam peace talks in Paris, the Johnson Administration got some positive news on the world stage. On July 1, the Non-Proliferation Treaty was signed for a large number of nations during a White House ceremony. The treaty’s objective is to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament. The treaty defines nuclear-weapon states as those that have built and tested a nuclear explosive device before 1 January 1967; these are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China. Four other states are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons: India, Pakistan, and North Korea have openly tested and declared that they possess nuclear weapons, while Israel is deliberately ambiguous regarding its nuclear weapons status. The agreement is largely supported among lawmakers and Republican front-runner Richard Nixon endorsed enactment, too.



President Lyndon B. Johnson and Secretary of State Dean Rusk signing the treaty on behalf of the United States

As the month neared its end, President Johnson headed to his Texas Ranch on July 21 for about two weeks of summer vacation. Although the president is not in Washington, he will, as his press secretary told the public, still having meetings and calls. During the course of his five years in office now, President Johnson frequently returned to his Texas Ranch, but remained active during that time. He is also expected to host several meetings with lawmakers, campaign strategists and other advisors to discuss his campaign strategy. Vice President Humphrey stated during a speech, that he is very confidant, LBJ would win renomination on the floor and pick him again as his running mate. As of late July, the president did only give few campaign speeches. He more focused on being on executing his daily responsibilities an pose as a president rather than a campaigner. Meanwhile, Richard Nixon made several campaign stumps, especially in the South. As Republican strategists told in backroom talks to reporters, Mr. Nixon is heavily focused on keeping the Deep South in the Republican column. The area had overwhelmingly voted for Barry Goldwater in 1964 as a protest against the pro-civil-rights policy of President Johnson. Although being in favor of civil-rights and desegregation himself, Mr. Nixon is confidant of winning a large share of Southern electoral votes in the fall. Particularly since George Wallace declined a third-party run and some efforts by Georgia Governor Lester Maddox to launch a write-in campaign in South quickly collapsed. Richard Nixon's strategy is obviously winning the election with a coalition of Southern votes in addition to traditional Republican states in the New England, the Rocky Mountains and the West.





As of late July, there are also new polling numbers released by Gallup:

National polls:

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 45%
Richard Nixon (R): 43%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 44%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 44%

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 46%
Ronald Reagan (R): 43%


Robert F. Kennedy (D): 46%
Richard Nixon (R): 44%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 45%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 44%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 47%
Ronald Reagan (R): 43%


Eugene McCarthy (D): 42%
Richard Nixon (R): 46%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 43%
Nelson Rockefeller (R): 47%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 43%
Ronald Reagan (R): 46%


President Johnson job approval:
Approve: 42%
Disapprove: 48%


Next: The Republican National Convention and (later) Bobby Kennedy's plans... stay tuned!
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2017, 02:24:28 pm »

August 5 – 8, 1968: Republican National Convention, Miami Beach, Florida





As the 1968 Republican National Convention opened in Miami Beach, Florida, predictions saw Nixon at 656 delegate votes – only 11 short of the number, he needed to win the nomination. His only remaining obstacles were Governors Reagan and Rockefeller, who now discussed a to join forces in a “Stop-Nixon-Movement”. Even the possibility of a Rockefeller/Reagan ticket has been discussed briefly. However, as the balloting began, Nixon, as widely expected, secured the nomination in the first round with 692 votes.

The Vice Presidential choice

A possible shortlist of Nixon’s vice presidential choices has been published by the New York Times the day before the opening of the convention. It included Nixon’s personal friend Robert Finch, Lieutenant Governor of California, Maryland Governor Spiro Agnew, Ohio Governor Jim Rhodes, Representative Gerald Ford, Texas Senator John Tower and New York City Mayor John Lindsay. Governors Ronald Reagan and Nelson Rockefeller were also considered as candidates for the second spot.

Just after the nominating ballots for president were cast, Nixon’s officials went out and announced that the brand-new nominee had selected Texas Senator John Tower as his running mate. Senator Tower, 43, became the first Republican senator from Texas and one of the first in the South. He was elected in a 1961 special election to fill LBJ’s old seat and got reelected in 1966. With this move, Nixon seemingly wants to appeal to conservatives and southerners. In the end, it could come down to Texas to decide the election. Especially if RFK is the Democratic candidate. But even LBJ shouldn’t be overconfident to carry his homestate, although he would be the favorite in the Lone-Star-State.



Nixon's choice for vice president: Senator John Tower (R-TX)
 

Nixon accepts nomination

RICHARD NIXON: “Mr. Chairman, delegates to this convention, my fellow Americans. Sixteen years ago I stood before this Convention to accept your nomination as the running mate of one of the greatest Americans of our time—or of any time—Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eight years ago, I had the highest honor of accepting your nomination for President of the United States. Tonight, I again proudly accept that nomination for President of the United States. But I have news for you. This time there is a difference.

This time we are going to win and beat Lyndon Johnson or Robert Kennedy and the Democrats.

[…]

We have the better solutions for America. We will end the failure of the Democratic Administration, restore law and order in our streets and end the war Vietnam with honor. On November fifth, Americans will stand up and elect a new president, who will bring about the change we urgently need. Thank you all very much.”



Republican presidential nominee Richard Nixon with V-Sign after his acceptance speech



The Republican logo for 1968
 


National polling after the Convention

After the RNC, Nixon surged in public opinion polls, which is usual after nominating conventions.

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 44%
Richard Nixon (R): 47%

Robert F. Kennedy (D): 45%
Richard Nixon (R): 47%

Eugene McCarthy (D): 42%
Richard Nixon (R): 48%
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« Reply #15 on: August 28, 2017, 04:16:04 pm »

LBJ would win the nomination but possibly lose the GE. If he wins in November then he will almost certainly die in office given the strain. IRL he had nightmares of being incapacitated like Wilson.
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« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2017, 02:17:39 am »

LBJ would win the nomination but possibly lose the GE. If he wins in November then he will almost certainly die in office given the strain. IRL he had nightmares of being incapacitated like Wilson.

We'll see soon what happens. Probably something unexpected Wink
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« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2017, 03:17:15 am »

LBJ would win the nomination but possibly lose the GE. If he wins in November then he will almost certainly die in office given the strain. IRL he had nightmares of being incapacitated like Wilson.

Was Harold Wilson ever incapacitated? I can't find anything looking it up.
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« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2017, 03:28:21 am »

LBJ would win the nomination but possibly lose the GE. If he wins in November then he will almost certainly die in office given the strain. IRL he had nightmares of being incapacitated like Wilson.

Was Harold Wilson ever incapacitated? I can't find anything looking it up.

He meant President Woodrow Wilson from 1919 to 1921. who suffered from a stroke. Nevertheless, LBJ had heart problems. But he changed his lifestyle after leaving office (1969) in real life, like resuming Smoking. I'm not sure he would have died sooner had he been reelected in 1968.
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« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2017, 02:38:09 pm »

August 15, 1968: Bobby Kennedy to make major announcement before the press

After spending the past few weeks at his family home in Massachusetts, Bobby Kennedy announced on August 14, that he would address the public the next day on his physical condition and status of the campaign. This came unexpectedly late and led to several rumors why the senator waited so long. It was speculated that Kennedy would either withdraw for health reasons or was plotting a major upset at the convention floor to clinch the nomination.

At 11 a.m., August 15, 1968, Senator Kennedy went before the press in Hyannis Port:



SENATOR KENNEDY: “Ladies and Gentlemen, members of the press: I came before you today to make a major announcement concerning both my personal and political future. First, I want to thank the American people and my colleagues from across the spectrum for their good wishes. I was deeply moved by all these wishes and all the goodwill I was happy to receive. So, thank you all. I will never forget your support and love. Thanks to also to the doctors, who made it possible that I will be able to recover fully. For two weeks now, I do exercises every day and it gets better by the day.

Now let me switch to the political part of my speech: Last week, the Republican Party once again nominated Richard Nixon for president. I do believe that it must be our mission to make sure Mr. Nixon never enters the White House other than as a guest. And I want to do everything I can to help this cause. And the cause of our party, to promote opportunity and justice for everybody in our land. This is a critical time in history and I do believe very much that the Democratic Party can only win this election as a united force for progress, propriety and peace. Therefore, I want to inform you that will suspend my own campaign for president. [Silence] President Johnson and I have reached an agreement that I will support his renomination and instead seek the nomination for vice president, which he fully supports. This might came as a surprise to you, but both the president and I conclude that our party must be unified to win the election. Despite our differences on Vietnam, I am convinced that it is our obligation to work together, because we cannot bring about change and solutions as a divided party and more important, a divided country. Having spoken with the president, I know that he wants peace in his heart. We only differ on the question how to achieve it. But both he and I have agreed that we want to work together to bring positive results when it comes to Vietnam and any other subject.

Now, let me also add a few personal words. I would have liked to win this nomination, but as I spoke to all sorts of public and party officials, it became evident to me that my actual chances to succeed in Chicago are very slim. Moreover, it became clear that the price for my nomination would have been the total division of our party. Then I asked myself, whether I want to bear the responsibility for that. Be responsible for a crushing defeat in November, because we are so divided. I answered this question with a clear no. Therefore, I have made this decision.  My nomination as vice president gives all those millions of voters a voice, who gave me their support in the primaries.

Last but not least, President Johnson and I have agreed to review and reform the nominating process of the Democratic Party. Our goal for the future is that more primaries are held and that only a candidate who participated in primaries and won most of them can be our standard-bearer. I think this agreement is, as it strengthens our great democracy, an even bigger success than the question who will be on the ballot this November.

Thank you for attention everybody.”

REPORTER I: “Sir, Senator, how did this happen? I am stunned. Did you ask the president for the second spot as a prize to withdrawing? Or did he offer the position?”

SENATOR KENNEDY: “The president and I have reached this agreement. We both think that it is in the best interest of the Democratic Party. And, more important, the United States of America, which we both love”.

REPORTER I: “So, you are not telling us who made an offer or a request?”

SENATOR KENNEDY: “I am not prepared to disclose my private conversations with President Johnson”.

REPORTER II: “When did you speak to the president? Has that agreement been reached when he visited you at the hospital back in June?”

SENATOR KENNEDY: “I have spoken with the president both in person at the hospital, and had several telephone conversations with him. We reached this agreement during our exchanges. I cannot give you a specific date other than we have agreed to make it public today”.

REPORTER III: “How did your conservations with the president go? Did you talk about Vietnam? Is the president ready to change his policies that you criticize?”

SENATOR KENNEDY: “My conservations with President Johnson were about a wide range of topics. Domestic and foreign policy and they went well. He was very gracious and wished my family and me all the best after the shooting. And I really mean that. The president has been very nice and offered to help wherever he can.”

REPORTER I: “Did you also speak to Vice President Humphrey? I assume he expected to stay on the ticket. What’s his future going to be like?”

SENATOR KENNEDY: “No; I have not spoken to Vice President Humphrey yet. I am sure he has a bright future, because he is a very talented and compassionate man. The president talked to him, so you have to ask him."

REPORTER III: “Are you now running for president in 1972?”

SENATOR KENNEDY: “No comment. That’s it, thank you all.”



3 p.m. President Johnson addresses the press from the LBJ Ranch



The same afternoon, President Lyndon Johnson addressed the press at his LBJ Ranch in Texas:

THE PRESIDENT: “Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen. As Senator Kennedy has informed you today in the morning, we have reached an agreement that he will not be a candidate for president any longer. He will instead seek, with my support, the nomination for vice president in Chicago later this month. Senator Kennedy has run a campaign that inspired millions of Americans and we ought to give them a voice, too. Just as I have gained a large share of support in the primaries, I won or came close to winning. But now we have to leave this behind us for the greater good of our nation. That means we have to work together. You are all very aware that our personal relationship has not always been easy, but Senator Kennedy and I agree that we must to everything in our power to reunite the Democratic Party and its progressive forces. I think in the end, it will benefit us all. I also have to note, that this has not been an easy choice for me. Not because of Bobby Kennedy, but because of my old friend Hubert Humphrey. He has been an outstanding partner all these years and served his country with compassion and dignity. Hubert will remain a friend of mine and I will always support him wherever I can.”

REPORTER: “Mr. President, will Vice President Humphrey now assume a cabinet post? And what is your relationship with Senator Kennedy going to be? Are you sure you can work with him as vice president?”

THE PRESIDENT: “I cannot comment on that. I will let you know. Most important, Mr. Humphrey will make his own decision what he is going to do in the future. He has strong convictions and I assume he will remain a political player. I shall support him. To your second question: I expect to have a good relationship with Bobby Kennedy in the future. We spoke several times since the shooting and I believe we will find common ground on many issues. Thank you.”


So, it now looks like the 1968 election will be JOHNSON/KENNEDY versus NIXON/TOWER.


Next: The Democratic National Convention in Chicago… stay tuned!
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 03:59:31 pm by President Johnson »Logged

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« Reply #20 on: August 30, 2017, 12:01:30 am »

Humphrey 1972!
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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2017, 01:32:38 pm »

August 26 – 29, 1968: Democratic National Convention, Chicago



The Democratic National Convention (DNC) opened its doors on August 26, 1968 in Chicago, Illinois. The first two days went through with regular order. The party adopted a liberal platform, such as calling for expanded social security and health care, civil rights and federal aid to education. The domestic agenda was put under the headline “Let’s fulfill the Great Society”. On foreign policy, the Johnson and Kennedy camps reached some agreement that calls for increased diplomatic efforts to end the war in Vietnam and a modified military policy to reduce American casualties. However, no details were published. Democratic officials confirmed that President Johnson would present more details after the convention.

The first highlight of the convention was the speech of outgoing Vice President Hubert Humphrey on August 28:



VICE PRESIDENT HUMPHREY: “My fellow Americans and fellow Democrats: I came here before you today to thank all of for the tremendous support you have given me in all these years. I also want to express my deep thanks and graditude to President Johnson and the trust this great man has put in me […] I know that it wasn’t easy for anybody to decide, that I won’t be on the ticket again. And that it may be painful for some. Especially the Minnesota delegation. Let me say, that of course I regret not running for vice president again. But I believe that the Johnson/Kennedy ticket that is put before this convention is the right one for the challenges of our days. I’m talking about the challenge to bring peace with honor to Vietnam and opportunity for every American. This is what Democrats stand for in 1968, and this is how Democrats win as a united party […] Thank you all”.

The vice president concluded his speech with tears in his eyes. He spoke with passion and earned a full five minutes of applause from the delegates. But he couldn’t hide, how hard it was for him to stand down. He had been a loyal supporter of LBJ in these four years, although he privately favored a more dovish Vietnam policy. He hoped the VP spot would be the ultimate stepping stone for his long White House ambitions. Nevertheless: All political analysts expressed their assessment, that Hubert Humphrey, nicknamed the Happy Warrior, would not quit politics. As soon as the Johnson/Kennedy ticket was announced, rumors began to swirl Humphrey may replace Dean Rusk as Secretary of State after the election should the Johnson Administration earn a renewed mandate. Others mentioned the Treasury Department or UN Ambassadorship.


During August 28, a larger number of protesters from all over the country, gathered in Chicago. As a result, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley ordered a drastic increase in police officers, because riots are expected the following day. Some protesters stated they wanted to demonstrate with force against President Johnson’s appearance the next day.

On the morning of the last day, August 29, delegates cast their ballots for president and vice president. As the balloting began, there was some unrest among delegates. 2,607 delegates were able to vote.


Presidential ballot:

✓ Lyndon B. Johnson (incumbent): 1,892
Eugene McCarthy: 505
George McGovern: 130
Robert F. Kennedy: 75
Others: 4



Vice Presidential ballot:

✓ Robert F. Kennedy: 1,950
Not voting: 499
Hubert Humphrey (incumbent): 127
Others: 11



Both LBJ and RFK won their nomination by a substantial margin, respectively. Eugene McCarthy refused to quit the race until the end and massively criticized Bobby Kennedy for the alliance with Lyndon Johnson. “The Kennedys are obsessed with power in this country, even if that means signing on with the man, they criticized for his failed Vietnam policy. It is this lack of courage that my campaign was all about. We offered an alternative and we will continue to do so”, said the Minnesota Senator. He earned some applause, but many boos for his speech and refusal to endorse the Johnson/Kennedy ticket. His delegates mainly stayed with him and did not participate in the vice presidential balloting.


That morning, Air Force One landed in Chicago with President Johnson and Senator Kennedy on board. Both left the plane together with their wives and jumped in the presidential limousine in an effort to show unity. In a last minute decision, the route of the presidential entourage to the Convention site had to be changed due to increasing protests. When arrived, there were thousands of demonstrators near the Convention Center. Many of them were holding signs slamming the president and shouting their slogan “Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids you kill today?”. “LBJ = War Criminal” or “Texans against LBJ’s war” were some sign headlines. Others were also against Bobby Kennedy, labeling him as a “traitor” and “SOB”.

Once arrived, LBJ and RFK were welcomes by almost all delegates with a standing ovation. Later the day, Bobby Kennedy delivered his acceptance speech:



SENATOR KENNEDY: “My fellow Democrats and my fellow citizens. I hereby accept the nomination for vice president. [Applause]

As your vice president, I want to work for justice, prosperity and safety at home and peace abroad. I want to work with you and with President Johnson in solving the problems. We have made great progress these eight years under the administrations of by beloved brother and Lyndon Johnson. But we need to continue and intensify our efforts towards a better future. Today, we’re closer to fulfilling a New Frontier and a Great Society. We’re close of sending a man to the moon. […] I pledge to you, that I will work tirelessly for peace with honor in Vietnam and around the world. […] Now, let’s move forward as a united party. As a united force for progress, liberty, peace and equality. That’s what we’re standing for each and every day. Let’s fight together to make sure that America is led once again by a Johnson and a Kennedy. Let’s make sure, Richard Nixon is defeated once and for all. That’s why Lyndon Johnson and I need all of you and all the millions of Americans who share our ideas. Let’s make sure their voices will be heard coming November 5! Thank you, god bless you, and god bless the United States of America.”


Bobby Kennedy received ten minutes of applause. Even LBJ stood up and applauded his running mate, what has barely been seen before, given their difficult personal relationship in the past years. After his wife Ethel spoke, Lady Bird Johnson gave her speech, before the president finally went on the state to give his address:



THE PRESIDENT: “Fellow Americans and my beloved Democrats: I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your confidence and your support. I could not be prouder today or any day to be your standard-bearer. I accept your nomination for president, to serve this nation four more years. I accept the challenge to win this election and I accept the duty of leading this country towards a better future that we all deserve by building a Great Society and promote peace and freedom abroad. I will work with all my energy to reach this goal, just as I know you all are doing so. And my co-worker Bobby Kennedy will do so. […]

As I stand ready tonight to fight for our ideas and to fullfill the work we have begun in 1961. There are millions of poor Americans or Americans of color who need a champion who is fighting for them. I take that call. And I will take the call to bring about a real peace in Vietnam and support our fighting men. Therefore, I ask the American people to give me their confidence. Thank you so much.”


Meanwhile, outside the hall, the convention grew more intense by each hour. Many protesters were switching between their slogan “Hey, hey LBJ, how many kids you kill today?” and “Bobby, you traitor! Traitor! Traitor!”.





After the speech and the celebration on stage, the Secret Service escorted Johnson and Kennedy secretly through a backdoor out of the hall and into the presidential limousine. There was no chance to greet their supporters outside the hall, of whom some were engaged in fist fights with the violent demonstrators.

All in all, the DNC went through as one of the most tumultuous. The press coverage was intense and protests overshadowed the nominating process. Most political observers concluded, the pictures of civil unrest may be a turning point in the campaign and that Richard Nixon’s chances for victory increased. At least, the typical convention boost in the polls is not expected this time.

The Democratic banner of 1968:

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« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2017, 01:33:03 pm »

By August 31, the first Gallup polls since the nominations are out.

National polling

Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 44%
Richard Nixon (R): 47%


State polls (potential battlegrounds)

California:
Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 45%
Richard Nixon (R): 46%

Florida:
Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 43%
Richard Nixon (R): 48%

Illinois:
Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 44%
Richard Nixon (R): 47%

New Jersey:
Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 49%
Richard Nixon (R): 45%

Ohio:
Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 43%
Richard Nixon (R): 46%

Pennsylvania:
Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 46%
Richard Nixon (R): 42%

Texas:
Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 53%
Richard Nixon (R): 42%

Washington:
Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 47%
Richard Nixon (R): 45%

Wisconsin:
Lyndon B. Johnson (D, inc.): 44%
Richard Nixon (R): 44%


National polling on Robert Kennedy


Question: Do you support or oppose Robert Kennedy’s nomination for vice president?

Support: 45%
Oppose: 40%
Undecided: 15%

Among Democrats:

Support: 79%
Oppose: 11%
Undecided: 10%


Question: Does Robert Kennedy affect your voting decision?

Yes, more leaning towards voting for Democratic ticket: 10%
Yes, more leaning towards voting against Democratic ticket: 7%
No, not all: 82%


Question: Would Robert Kennedy be a good vice president?

Yes: 56%
No: 39%


President Johnson job approval
Approve: 39%
Disapprove: 52%


Next: The fall campaign in September and into October 1968, President Johnson’s speech on the Vietnam policy… stay tuned!
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« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2017, 09:40:46 am »

I would actually prefer a Johnson/Kennedy ticket to a Johnson/Humphrey ticket. But would have been difficult because of the LBJ/RFK personal dislike for each other. But may be they team up in this TL.

Where did you get the signs from?
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« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2017, 01:09:36 pm »

I would actually prefer a Johnson/Kennedy ticket to a Johnson/Humphrey ticket. But would have been difficult because of the LBJ/RFK personal dislike for each other. But may be they team up in this TL.

Where did you get the signs from?

I designed them by myself (and will continue to so so for further elections in this timeline beyond 1968). I'm not an expert on graphic programs, so I used MS Word and made a screenshot. MS Paint is useless for this stuff.
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