Saturday, April 8, 2017

Clare Boothe Luce

In OTL, Clare Boothe Luce's daughter was killed in an automobile accident on 11 Jan 1944. As a result of that, she converted to Catholicism in 1946. Suppose, however, that her daughter survived the accident or that there was no accident at all. She never became a Catholic, and without that electoral impediment, was therefore chosen as Eisenhower's running mate in 1952. As VP, she has the opportunity to do all the diplomatic things she did in OTL, plus several more. This positions her very well to run for President herself in 1960. Who would she pick for VP? Would she beat Kennedy?

I'll add my answers and more soon, but do give yours in the comments.


Compared to OTL, Ike's choice of Luce slightly hurts his 1952 vote totals. He fails to carry Missouri and Tennessee, but gains Louisiana, giving him a net loss of 14 electoral votes, so it's

Eisenhower 428

Stevenson 103

Still a very comfortable landslide. In 1956, his lead increases, and he carries Missouri and Tennessee, adding 24 electoral votes to total:

Eisenhower 452

Stevenson 79

An even more impressive landslide.

As the 1960 races for the nomination heat up, Eisenhower endorses Luce early on, citing her brilliant diplomatic efforts on his administration's behalf. Opposed for the nomination by both Rockefeller and Goldwater, she is perceived as the moderate candidate, and is nominated on the second ballot at the Chicago convention after Goldwater withdraws and endorses her. Seeing that she was going to be running against Jack Kennedy, she attempted to offset the allure of his military service (and to distance herself somewhat from Eisenhower) by selecting General Matthew Ridgeway as her running mate. The election was close, but Luce squeaked out a victory by carrying all the states Nixon did in OTL, except for Washington State, and also carried Michigan, New Jersey, Missouri, and Minnesota, which Nixon did not. That gave her 270 electoral votes, just barely enough, but enough, to win the Presidency.

President Luce's cabinet picks were no surprise to most of those who knew her:

Secretary of StateRichard M. Nixon1961–1969
Secretary of TreasuryHenry Ford II1961–1969
Secretary of DefenseCurtis E. LeMay1961–1969
Attorney GeneralThomas E. Dewey1961–1969
Postmaster GeneralMurray Chotiner1961–1969
Edward A. McCabe1963–1969
Secretary of the InteriorMilan Dale Smith1961–1969
Secretary of AgricultureEzra Taft Benson1961–1969
Secretary of CommerceWalter J. Kohler, Jr.1961–1969
Secretary of LaborGeorge Romney1961–1965
Harold Stassen1965–1969
Secretary of Health,
Education, and Welfare
Robert Finch1961–1962
Roger O. Egeberg1962–1963

The Bay of Pigs invasion is handled quite differently from OTL, in that US ground forces assisted the Cuban revolutionaries, and both air and naval support were provided. This ended with the fall of the communist regime, the death of Fidel Castro, and the exile of Raúl Castro and Che Guevara to the Soviet Union.

President Luce appointed Admiral Thomas H. Moorer to be military governor of Cuba, a post he retained until Enrique Ros was elected President of Cuba in 1963. There is, of course, no Cuban missile crisis in this timeline. But the overthrow of Castro was considered a loss for the USSR, and Nikita Khrushchev voluntarily stepped aside in 1962 in favor of his friend and colleague, Anastas Mikoyan, who became First Secretary and Premier of the Soviet Union. Mikoyan is thought to have been instrumental in encouraging and effectuating Deng Xiaoping's successful coup against Mao Zedong in 1966 and the Ozhlivenie (revitalization) movement that opened up both the USSR and China to the outside world and a general move towards capitalism. Mikoyan was followed by his chosen successor,
Eduard Shevardnadze, in 1970.

The conflict in Vietnam is largely neutralized by the reinstatement of Emperor Bảo Đại 1n 1967 with the support of both the United States and China. He presides over a coalition government that includes Catholics, Buddhists, Caodaists, and communists.

The 24-Hour War.

On 8 June, 1967, Israeli forces attack the USS Liberty, killing 34 and wounding 171. President Luce notifies Prime Minister Eshkol that she is sending US forces to occupy Tel Aviv and investigate the incident. She warns that apologies aren't enough, and that those responsible will hang for it. Eshkol resigns and is replaced by Golda Meir, counting on the fact that being American-born, she'll be able to extricate Israel from the mess with the most grace. After deliberating a few months, the Fulbright Commission reports that the responsibility lay with Eshkol (who had died of a heart attack by this time) and Defense Minister Dayan. The Israeli government extradites Dayan to the US to stand trial. There are consequent riots and attacks on US troops in Israel. Meir is assassinated by a Herut activist, and is succeeded by Yitzak Rabin.

In 1968, the Democratic party is pulled to the right, and nominates the conservative Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia to run against the Richard Nixon/John Rhodes ticket. Byrd picks John Connally, Governor of Texas, as his running mate, and they defeat the Republican nominees handily.

Moshe Dayan is found guilty of war crimes in April, 1969, and is pardoned by President Byrd. Dayan returns to Israel.

1972, Byrd and Connally are renominated. The Republicans pick James L. Buckley of New York, and Paul Laxalt of Nevada as his running mate. The Democratic ticket wins a narrow victory.

In 1976, the Republican party nominates Harrison Schmitt, Senator from New Mexico for President, and Phyllis Schlafly Represen-tative from Illinois is nominated for VP. The Democrats nominate VP Connally for the top spot, and he selects Birch Bayh of Indiana to run with him.

 In the first serious third party bid since 1948, declaring that the Democratic party had "lost its soul" to its conservative wing, Senator John F. Kennedy makes another bid for the Presidency, this time as a nominee of the "Unity Democratic Party." He chooses Adlai Stevenson III of Illinois as his running mate. On election day, Kennedy carries only Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin. The Democrats carry the deep South, plus Texas, Connecticut, Vermont, and New York state.  The Republicans sweep all the other states and win in a landslide.

In 1980, Schmitt and Schlafly are easily renominated. In the Democratic primaries, it's a struggle among Jimmy Carter of Georgia, John Glenn of Ohio, Jerry Brown of California, and Birch Bayh of Indiana. John Glenn is nominated on the first ballot, making it an "astronaut v. astronaut" election. Glenn picks Jerry Brown for VP. 

Harrison goes on to narrowly win reelection, but is assassinated by John Hinkley on March 30, 1981. Schlafly becomes President. As there is no Bayh Amendment in this TL, Tip O'Neill is first in line after Schlafly for the Presidency. But soon after these events, a very similar amendment is offered by Orrin Hatch and is ratified in September, 1982. As the Hatch Amendment is written explicitly to apply to the current President and Vice President, Schlafly appoints Wm Armstrong of Colorado as VP. Her choice is ratified by the Senate.

Also in 1982, President Schlafly invites Shevardnadze to visit the United States. He does so, and extends an invitation to Schlafly to visit the Soviet Union, which she does later that year.

1984. Schlafly and Armstrong are easily renominated, and a Democratic party in disarray, in a very divisive primary season, end up nominating Gary Hart of Colorado over his closest rival, Alan Cranston of California. In a shocking move, Hart does not ask Cranston to be his running mate, which
all the pundits had expected, but instead chooses Texas Representative Barbara Jordan. This was viewed at the time as a desperate move, and the Hart/Jordan ticket went down to defeat in a landslide.

After the election, pundit Pat Buchanan remarked:

Gary Hart just left a couple of words out of his calculations. He thought picking Barbara Jordan would win him the female vote and black vote. But it just brought him the female black vote

In 1988, VP William Armstrong is nominated by the Republican party after surviving strong challenges from Bob Dole and Jack Kemp. As Hart did in 1984, Armstrong bypasses his rivals and chooses John Sununu of New Hampshire as his running mate.

Determined to win this time, the Democrats early on start pushing Senator Pat Moynihan of New York as their favored candidate, who, before entering the Senate, had served in both the Byrd and Schmitt administrations. He easily won primaries over his main challengers, Dick Gephardt of Missouri and Michael Dukakis of
Massachusetts, and was nominated by acclamation at the Democratic convention in San Francisco. His choice for Vice President, Dale Bumpers of Arkansas, was also nominated by acclamation.  They are easily elected over Armstrong and Sununu.

Despite widespread discontent over the war in Iran, Moynihan/Bumpers are handily reelected over the Repulican ticket of John Sununu and Susan Molinari in 1992.

In 1996, pledging to continue President Moynihan's policies, Dale Bumpers is nominated for President by the Democrats. He selects Bill Bradley, Senator from  New Jersey, as his running mate. They have high hopes to ride the crest of Moynihan's popularity and extend the Democratic hold on the White House for at least four more years.
The Republicans undergo a highly competitive series of primaries, pitting Susan Molinari, Donald Rumsfeld, Phil Gramm, Elizabeth Dole, and Pat Buchanan against one another. They end up with a Dole/Rumsfeld ticket that narrowly goes down to defeat against the Democrats.

On 4 July, 2000, radical Muslim terrorists hijacked a number of US commercial flights and crashed the planes into Times Square, the White house, and the Capitol building. One plane attempting to hit the Sears Tower was shot down by the Air Force. When the White House was hit, the President and the First Lady were both killed. As most of the hijackers were Saudi citizens, the new President Bradley calls for the surrender of Saudi Arabia to US forces. This is refused, and Bradley orders the invasion and occupation of Saudi Arabia. Resistance if fierce, but soon dissipates.
The Saudi King surrenders, and arrests a number of members of the Royal Family who have been named as conspirators in the attack by US intelligence.

Trials are held. During all this, a tumultuous Republican convention in Indianapolis nominates Phil Gramm for President and Bob Dornan for VP. The Democrats unanimously renominate Bradley, and he selects Paul Wellstone of Minnesota for VP. Phil Gramm wins the election narrowly, with only 3 more electoral votes than Bradley. While Americans are distracted by their own election, a revolutionary cabal headed by Osama bin Laden overthrows the Saudi government and installs Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al-Saud as head of state and Constitutional Monarch. The new king calls for US forces to leave Arabia immediately. Bradely assents to this, and he is widely perceived to have caved in to King Ahmed's demands. The Republican ticket, especially Dornan, makes this into a major campaign issue, and pundits and historians attribute Bradley's loss to this controversy.

Despite all the anti-Saudi rhetoric, the new Gramm administration doesn't modify our Arabia policy in any meaningful way. In a speech given at the University of illinois in February, 2001, the new Secretary of State, Paul Findley, accuses Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran of having backed the bin Laden coup in Arabia, and hints at American support for neo-Zoroastrian rebels in Iran. The speech energizes the rebel movement and the Israeli government and the ADL criticizes Findley for "pouring fuel on the fire" and encouraging anti-Zionists and anti-Semites around the world.

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