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.

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