A Nixed Result: a 60s Timeline

Chapter 1: 1960 Election and the Nixed Result
After a long a tumultuous campaign season, the 1960 election has finally come to a close. But the results are unlike anything anyone would've expected.

In the aftermath of eight years of a popular Eisenhower administration, it seemed common sense that Vice President Richard Milhous Nixon would be heir apparent. The young former Senator and Representative from California easily swept the Republican Presidential Primary, albeit with a more traditional Conservative approach in comparison to Eisenhower's pragmatism. It was rumored that New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller would contest the primary, seeking to take the GOP in a more Liberal direction but decided against it after discovering a majority of registered Republican voters favored the Californian. Nixon received a vast majority of delegates at the 1960 Republican convention in Chicago, with only 10 going to the ultra-Conservative Barry Goldwater. At last it was official, Richard Nixon would be the first sitting Vice President to seek the Presidency since John Breckinridge one century earlier. It was predicted that he might take Rockefeller on as running mate, but instead gave the position to former Massachusetts senator and Ambassador to the United Nations Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., a Moderate-Liberal and Internationalist. At last the ticket to succeed Ike was formed.

However, it appeared the 1960 Election would not be the easy third-term sweep the Republican Party expected, as the Democrats mounted their favorite son. The young, energetic, charismatic John Fitzgerald Kennedy; a Moderate Democratic senator from Massachusetts, having been the one to unseat Nixon's own mate back in 52'. He was exceptionally young, at only 42 he rivaled Theodore Roosevelt for youngest person to ascend to the presidency if elected. This lead to former President Harry Truman to state he would be better off as someone's Vice President, to which the young Senator replied: "I'm not running for vice president, I'm running for president." Kennedy, or "JFK" as many called him managed to fight his way to the nomination against a decently crowded field. Similar to the Vice President, Senator Kennedy's main primary challenge came from his party's Liberal Wing in the form of Minnesota Senator Hubert Horatio Humphrey Jr. of Minnesota. However, Kennedy decisively defeated Humphrey in the Wisconsin primary, largely in part due to the mobilization of his siblings, campaign staff as well as his wife Jacqueline Kennedy. Humphrey claimed that Kennedy's victory only came from him receiving high turnout from Catholic regions of Wisconsin, and that the West Virginia Primary would be where he could make a decisive comeback against Kennedy in a majority Protestant state.

Humphrey challenged Kennedy to a live TV debate in West Virginia, the first of the 1960 election. However, the Minnesota Liberal was merely digging his own grave. Kennedy performed far better than his competitor, leading him to win 60% of the vote in West Virginia. Humphry's campaign, which was struggling and running out of money, officially ended.

However, it seemed Kennedy was just below the delegate total to win at the Democratic Convention in Los Angeles, California. Barely a week before the convention, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Baines Johnson of Texas started an eleventh hour insurgent campaign, something he had been planning through most of the primaries. He challenged Kennedy to a debate, which turned out to hurt his chances as opposed to help. Joining Johnson in last minute campaigns was former candidate Adlai Stevenson, who had previously been defeated by Eisenhower in both of his election bids. Most of his Liberal Base delegates were already pledged to Kennedy however, causing his campaign to quickly crash and burn despite passionate and outspoken support from former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Despite these challenges, Kennedy managed to eventually win enough delegates to become the nominee, choosing Missouri Senator and former Air Force Secretary Stuart Symington as his running mate. The Democratic ticket was forged, ready to go up against Nixon and Lodge in what would certainly be a tight race.

The main issue of the campaign was to be the Cold War, with JFK vehemently attacking Eisenhower and the GOP for allowing the Soviets to get ahead in space and in the spread of Communism in places like Cuba. Although President Eisenhower had just founded NASA two years earlier, the Democrat insisted that the US was falling behind in the Space Race and needed to catchup before the Soviets put a man on the moon. He stated that his administration would value space accomplishments as well as ensuring American Prestige in world affairs. His main point was the supposed "Missile Gap" in which the United States was falling behind the Soviet Union in weapons technology. Nixon clapped back, stating that Kennedy was far too young and inexperienced to truly address the issues of the Cold War. Kennedy used his youth as well as endorsements from celebrities such as Henry Fonda and Harry Belafonte to try and close the initial polling gap between him and Nixon. Nixon emphasized his eight years as Vice President that he was the candidate who could properly address the Communist threat.

However, Nixon's campaign stumbled when President Eisenhower told Charles Mohr of Time that "If you give me a week, I might think of one." in response to a question of ideas of Nixon he had heeded. These statements where so damaging that they ended up on American's TVs in commercials from the Democratic Party. Nixon only stumbled further when he decided to pledge to visit all fifty states, something he struggled to do after being hospitalized for a knee injury gained in North Carolina. Even after leaving Walter Reed he decided to continue this pledge, allowing Kennedy to hit several key southern states while Nixon was off in Alaska. The worst gaffe of Nixon's didn't even come from him, but from his running mate, Henry Cabot Lodge; who promised a black individual would be appointed to a Nixon cabinet, a remark made without the prior knowledge or approval of Dick himself. The move hurt Nixon, as most black voters simply saw it as worthless pandering as opposed to actually addressing the issues that face African-Americans.

As election day approached, it seemed the election would be down to the wire, with Kennedy slightly ahead.

November 8th, 1960 millions of Americans poured into the polling stations to decide who would start off the new decade as President. The initial results seemed strongly in Kennedy's favor, but as the night progressed anticipation turned to horror. Although Symington had delivered Kennedy the key state of Missouri, the lack of Senator Johnson on the ticket was felt as Texas fell to Nixon. Even worse though was in the states of Mississippi and Alabama, where a wrench was firmly thrown into Kennedy's hopes of an electoral college majority.

In the Deep South a ticket of “uncommitted electors” was created in Mississippi, Alabama. The state of Mississippi was won by this ticket and the state of Alabama was won by a fusion of Kennedy/Symington, resulting in a split of the electoral votes and officially ending JFK's chances of winning the White House. It now seemed Richard Nixon would prevail. But it was not to be. Despite winning a majority of states (And the popular vote) Nixon did not reach the numbers needed to declare victory. He was already one vote short as it was, and one Oklahoma Elector decided to not vote for Nixon instead casting his ballot for a ticket of Byrd/Goldwater, a fusion of a Republican and Democrat.

The 1960 election had concluded, but not how anyone had anticipated. Neither candidate had prevailed in the election.

Electoral Vote totals: Kennedy/Symington-255
Nixon/Cabot Lodge-267
Byrd/Thurmond-14
Byrd/Goldwater-1
 
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oberdada

Gone Fishin'
Sounds good.

But something is off with the votes.
Either the faithless elector spoiled it for Kennedy instead of Nixon or the numbers are reversed.
 
Obvious-House hado verwhelming Democratic majority as did Senate.Kennedy and Symington easily elected.

But the question then becomes how effective Kennedy is without a perceived mandate from the voters. And whether Nixon is emboldened to try again in '64.
 
A call from Segregationists across the south for voters to write in White Supremacist Senator Harry Byrd was heard by deep south white voters and answered. The states of Mississippi and Alabama were decidedly won by the nonexistent Byrd/Thurmond ticket, officially ending JFK's chances of winning the White House.
That's not how it worked. Byrd was not a candidate, write-in or otherwise. The Dixiecrats in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama nominated slates of "uncommitted" electors. In Alabama, the Dixiecrats and regulars came to a compromise and formed a "fusion ticket" of 5 Kennedy and 6 uncommitted electors, which won. In Mississippi and Louisiana, the Dixiecrats remained separate and were on the ballot. The Dixiecrats won in Mississippi with 39%, but lost in Louisiana with only 21% there.

It now seemed Richard Nixon would prevail. But it was not to be. Despite winning a majority of states (Although Kennedy won the popular)
OTL, Kennedy won the popular vote by the narrowest margin since 1880 (0.16%, 117,000), and only if one counts the entire Alabama fusion ticket vote as for Kennedy. If that vote is "pro-rated" by the division of electors (so that on 5/11 of it counts for Kennedy), Kennedy lost the popular vote by about 42,000.

ITTL, Kennedy loses about 150,000 votes in Alabama, and has to lose about 50,000 votes in Texas. He also loses votes elsewhere, as additional states besides Texas (24 electoral votes) are flipped to Nixon. Nixon wins 48 more EV compared to OTL: 24 in Texas and 24 elsewhere. So how does Kennedy win the popular vote?

Nixon did not reach the numbers needed to declare victory. He was already one vote short as it was, and one Oklahoma Elector decided to refuse Nixon his victory, instead casting his ballot for a ticket of Byrd/Goldwater, a fusion of a Republican and Democrat.

Irrelevant. If Nixon is already 1 short of a majority, this rogue vote changes nothing. It does not "refuse Nixon his victory."

Also, in 1960 no segregationist would vote for Goldwater - a life member of the NAACP, who as an Air Force officer presided over the desegregation of the Arizona Air National Guard.

What is more likely would be a rogue Democrat elector voting for Nixon to push him over the top. (Or even more likely, one of the Dixiecrats.) Bear in mind that during the period between election day and electors voting, there would be a lot of lobbying and attempted negotiating. IIRC, both Nixon and Kennedy said that they would make no deals with the Dixiecrats. However, Nixon might think he could get away with making a deal with one Dixiecrat (for something unrelated to civil rights; and the Dixiecrats were formally uncommitted).

The 1960 election had concluded, but not how anyone had anticipated. Neither candidate had prevailed in the election.

Electoral Vote totals: Kennedy/Symington-254
Nixon/Cabot Lodge-267
Byrd/Thurmond-14
Byrd/Goldwater-1

The totals are wrong: 254 + 267 + 14 + 1 = 536; there were 537 EV in 1960.

Also Mississippi had 8 electoral votes, and Alabama had 11. So there would be 19 EV for Byrd from "uncommitted" (Dixiecrat) electors, and 1 from the rogue in Oklahoma, making 20.

As to the aftermath: the Democrats would have a majority of delegations in the House and of seats in the Senate. So they could elect Kennedy and Symington. If the Southerners in Congress attempted to act as a bloc and demand concessions in return for support of one candidate... That would be a poisonous cup. Neither Kennedy nor Nixon would deal.

Then the House and Senate would elect Nixon and Lodge.

One could build up this scenario, though. Suppose Nixon makes a deal with an Alabama elector - promising a dam project, or appointment as an ambassador. And that Oklahoma elector gets wind of it, and goes rogue. Now he has denied Nixon victory; and Nixon's shenannigan with the Alabama elector has failed, leaving him embarassed...
 
That's not how it worked. Byrd was not a candidate, write-in or otherwise. The Dixiecrats in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama nominated slates of "uncommitted" electors. In Alabama, the Dixiecrats and regulars came to a compromise and formed a "fusion ticket" of 5 Kennedy and 6 uncommitted electors, which won. In Mississippi and Louisiana, the Dixiecrats remained separate and were on the ballot. The Dixiecrats won in Mississippi with 39%, but lost in Louisiana with only 21% there.


OTL, Kennedy won the popular vote by the narrowest margin since 1880 (0.16%, 117,000), and only if one counts the entire Alabama fusion ticket vote as for Kennedy. If that vote is "pro-rated" by the division of electors (so that on 5/11 of it counts for Kennedy), Kennedy lost the popular vote by about 42,000.

ITTL, Kennedy loses about 150,000 votes in Alabama, and has to lose about 50,000 votes in Texas. He also loses votes elsewhere, as additional states besides Texas (24 electoral votes) are flipped to Nixon. Nixon wins 48 more EV compared to OTL: 24 in Texas and 24 elsewhere. So how does Kennedy win the popular vote?



Irrelevant. If Nixon is already 1 short of a majority, this rogue vote changes nothing. It does not "refuse Nixon his victory."

Also, in 1960 no segregationist would vote for Goldwater - a life member of the NAACP, who as an Air Force officer presided over the desegregation of the Arizona Air National Guard.

What is more likely would be a rogue Democrat elector voting for Nixon to push him over the top. (Or even more likely, one of the Dixiecrats.) Bear in mind that during the period between election day and electors voting, there would be a lot of lobbying and attempted negotiating. IIRC, both Nixon and Kennedy said that they would make no deals with the Dixiecrats. However, Nixon might think he could get away with making a deal with one Dixiecrat (for something unrelated to civil rights; and the Dixiecrats were formally uncommitted).



The totals are wrong: 254 + 267 + 14 + 1 = 536; there were 537 EV in 1960.

Also Mississippi had 8 electoral votes, and Alabama had 11. So there would be 19 EV for Byrd from "uncommitted" (Dixiecrat) electors, and 1 from the rogue in Oklahoma, making 20.

As to the aftermath: the Democrats would have a majority of delegations in the House and of seats in the Senate. So they could elect Kennedy and Symington. If the Southerners in Congress attempted to act as a bloc and demand concessions in return for support of one candidate... That would be a poisonous cup. Neither Kennedy nor Nixon would deal.

Then the House and Senate would elect Nixon and Lodge.

One could build up this scenario, though. Suppose Nixon makes a deal with an Alabama elector - promising a dam project, or appointment as an ambassador. And that Oklahoma elector gets wind of it, and goes rogue. Now he has denied Nixon victory; and Nixon's shenannigan with the Alabama elector has failed, leaving him embarassed...
I’m not home rn so I can’t write a full response but the Oklahoma faithless elector DID vote for Byrd/Goldwater OTL

Edit: None of the faithless electors are changed from IRL actually, just that Nixon wins enough close races that the election ends in an electoral college tie
 
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Ok so yes you’re right Nixon does have to win the popular vote here. The states flipped from OTL are Texas, New Jersey and South Carolina.
 
Chapter 1.5: December 1960
Dixiecrats refuse to back down!

“This is the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.”



Camera pans to the recognizable face of America’s favorite nightly news host.

“Good Evening. Today, Senator Harry Byrd of Virginia announced in a televised press conference representing the unpledged elector movement will not concede it’s electoral votes to Democratic nominee Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy unless major concessions are made.
During the conference Senator Byrd stated that in good conscience, he would not allow the electoral votes now pledged to his name to pass on to the Massachusetts Senator unless several key demands are met. The list of demands stated in Senator Byrd’s speech are as follows:

Number 1, Senator Kennedy must replace Stuart Symington as Vice President with an individual that is not a “Radical Integrationist” as Senator Byrd states. Kennedy’s replacement for Vice President will presumably be an individual that the southern wing of the Democratic Party is more comfortable with.

Number 2, Kennedy must declare publicly that he will pursue major legislation that promotes the “Negro Cause” as described by Senator Byrd.

Lastly in Number 3, Byrd states that Kennedy must pledge that the United States will not seek any form of “appeasement” or “pandering” to the Soviet Union.

President Eisenhower condemned Byrd’s actions in a speech from the White House today in which he accused Senator Byrd of deliberately trying to overturn Democratic will of the American voters. He urged Senator Byrd to instead pledge his electors to Vice President Nixon, who won the nation-wide popular vote.

Vice President Nixon has been surprisingly quiet during the aftermath of the election, likely trying to defend his public image before a possible 1964 run.
 
Chapter 2: Early 1961 and the start of the Kennedy administration
In news that would sadden many Progressives and Northern Democrats, Senator Joseph Kennedy accepted the demands of Senator Byrd. On December 1st, Kennedy announced he would replace running mate Stuart Symington with Oklahoma Senator Robert Kerr, an experienced legislator and longtime ally of Southern Democrats Richard Russell of Georgia and Lyndon Johnson of Texas. Surprisingly, Kerr was not a signature of the 1956 "Southern Manifesto", but he was accepted by the Byrd Coalition due to his general neglect of Civil Rights. Kerr had been a close runner up for President Roosevelt's running mate at the 1944 Democratic National Convention, and is likely a very strong choice for the Vice Presidency.

Adding to the Southern Coalition's acceptance of Kerr was also the now President-Elect's promise to not pursue any large scale Civil Rights legislation. President Eisenhower held a Press Conference where he praised Byrd for his capitulation, but in private he was said to be heavily disgruntled that Byrd provided his electoral votes to Kennedy who had received around 100,00 less popular votes than Vice President Nixon. Vice President Nixon has not been publicly seen since the election, leaving pundits the whereabouts of the defeated Republican candidate.

December 15th the Electoral Voters met in their states to officially cast their vote again with the final 1960 Election. Final votes:

270-Kennedy/Kerr
267-Nixon/Lodge

That evening, the President-Elect finally had the chance to give his victory speech he had saved for over a month. "My fellow Americans, I know the results of this election did not go completely how we had wanted, but now we must all strive to work together. I say that the next four years are going to be difficult and challenging years for us all; that a supreme national effort will be needed to move this country safely through the 1960s. I ask your help and I can assure you that every degree of my spirit that I possess will be devoted to the long-range interest of the United States and to the cause of freedom around the world."

President-Elect Kennedy was the first Roman Catholic as well as the first individual born in the 20th Century to be elected President of the United States. He was inaugurated as the nation's 35th President on January 20th, 1961.

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Inauguration of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Chief Justice Earl Warren: "You John Fitzgerald Kennedy do solemnly swear?"

JFK: "I John Fitzgerald Kennedy do solemnly swear."

Warren: "That you will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States?"

JFK:" That I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States."

Warren: "And will to the best of your ability?"

JFK: "And will to the best of my ability."

Warren: "Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States?"

JFK: "Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Warren: "So help you God?"

JFK: "So help me God."

And with that, John Fitzgerald Kennedy became the nation's 35th President. His inaugural speech heavily emphasized the Cold War and America's role in containing Communism while also staying committed to peace. Near the end of the speech he gave what is considered the be the speech's best line. "And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." Although the speech was well received many political experts believed that the enthusiasm amongst the crowd and amongst viewers polled watching from home was not at the level it would've been had Kennedy won an outright victory back in November. The general consensus seemed to be that most Americans were ready to get past the chaos of the election and move forward with this new administration, as controversial as the President's victory had been.

Kennedy Cabinet

President: John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Vice-President: Robert Samuel Kerr
Secretary of State: James William Fulbright
Secretary of Defense: Robert McNamara
Secretary of the Treasury: Clarence Douglas Dillon
Postmaster General: James Edward Day
Attorney General: Byron Raymond White
Secretary of the Interior: Stewart Lee Udall
Secretary of Agriculture: Orville Lothrop Freeman
Secretary of Commerce: Luther Hartwell Hodges
Secretary of Labor: Arthur Joseph Goldberg
Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare: Abraham Alexander Ribicoff
Ambassador to the United Nations: Adlai Ewing Stevenson II

Only five days after his inauguration, President Kennedy delivered his first live presidential news conference. He announced that the Soviet Union had freed the two surviving crewmen of a downed RB-47 Spy plane shot down over the Barents Sea back in July of 1960. On January 30th he delivered his first State of the Union Address as President, in which the new President promised swift economic legislation to further address the 1958 recession in as surprisingly short speech. In the few weeks following his inauguration, Kennedy's approval ratings began to rise as Americans started to move on from the chaos of November. However, it seemed that approval of the President from African-Americans wasn't budging from it's below average percentage it had been at since the President capitulated to Byrd back in December.

Living up to his promise of not attempting to "appease" the Soviet Union as Byrd had said, Kennedy warned the Soviets not to get involved in the United Nation's pacification of the Congo on February 15th. He also pushed for the Omnibus Housing Bill of 1961. In March he sent Congress a message proposing an ambitious and complex housing program to spur the economy, revitalize cities, and provide affordable housing for middle- and low-income families. The bill proposed spending $3.19 billion and placed major emphasis on improving the existing housing supply, instead of on new housing starts, and creating a cabinet-level Department of Housing and Urban Affairs to oversee the programs. The bill also promised to make the Federal Housing Administration a full partner in urban renewal program by authorizing mortgage loans to finance rehabilitation of homes and urban renewal Committee on housing combined programs for housing, mass transportation, and open space land bills into a single bill.

He also made moves on the Defense Front. He visited Fort Bragg and the Army Special Warfare Center in a blaze of publicity (he did this much earlier than originally planned, likely to ensure to the Southern Coalition he was making good on his promise of not pandering to Communism) and gave his permission for Army Special Forces to wear the Green Beret. However, the President wished for his own branch of service to receive a Special Operations unit, with Navy Admiral Arleigh Burke signing off on the created of the Navy Sea, Air and Land teams, more commonly known as the Navy Seals. However, the new President's first foreign challenge was still to come in the next month...
 
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