The year is 2000. Vice-President Al Gore narrowly defeats George W. Bush to become the 43rd US President. Four years later, Gore loses his re-election bid to Senator John McCain. In 2008 President McCain is running for re-election, at least if his health permits. Under these circumstances, and after eight years of butterflies, who wins the 2008 election?
 
The GFC might look very different or even be more like Long Term Capital Management - more of a near miss than an outright calamity.

Bush would also be far from one and done in 2004 or even 08. He could easily have run for Phil Gramm’s senate seat in 2002.
 
Gore's Presidency probably means no Iraq War or a latter one, so it's probable that Obama can not count on anti-war surge. So I would bet on a Hillary Clinton vs John McCain match, with a Hillary's victory due Economic Recession.
 
I don't think Gore goes as far as Dubya did in pulling us out of the 2001 recession (this is especially true if Greenspan wants a Republican back in the White House in 2004), so I think an even weaker recovery from that recession than OTL would happen, thus delaying the Financial Crisis to 2009 or 2010 and is probably less severe. So I lean toward McCain getting a second term in 2008 only to have a hellish second term.
 
McCain second term. People would still be sick of 12 years of Democrats resulting in an economic slowdown, and McCain is likeable enough, as long as his neoconservatism doesn't draw him into an unpopular war.
 
Hillary is nominated because with Gore there is no Iraq vote to drag her down. Somehow manages to lose to McCain.
 
Hillary is nominated because with Gore there is no Iraq vote to drag her down. Somehow manages to lose to McCain.

If McCain is popular, she'd probably wait until 2012. Unless hubris gets the better of her. If not Clinton, then perhaps Kerry or Edwards would take on McCain.
 

Marc

Donor
History sides with incumbents, with the caveat that Americans grow weary of a party retaining the Presidency for more than 12 years.
But there is also the particularism argument: each Presidency and the era that they are in are distinctive.
Still all in all, I would be most comfortable with a two term McCain Presidency.
 
History sides with incumbents, with the caveat that Americans grow weary of a party retaining the Presidency for more than 12 years.
But there is also the particularism argument: each Presidency and the era that they are in are distinctive.
Still all in all, I would be most comfortable with a two term McCain Presidency.

If the economic crisis happens in 2009-2010, rather than 2007-2008, I imagine that 2010 and 2012 would be Democratic wave years. If she doesn't run in 2008 Clinton would take a crack at 2012, but IMO even without the Iraq War it's still quite possible that she loses the nomination to Obama. She's just that bad a politician.
 
I'm highly dubious about McCain being the nominee in 2004, and roughly equally dubious about the nigh-on universal assumption on here that Gore loses in 2004. When incumbent presidents lose, it's generally because they've hit the buffers in a big, palpable way, usually obviously so in terms of the economy and party management (Carter 1980, Bush 1992), neither of which I really see transpiring in 2004. It's lazy to write Gore off in 2004.

Equally I don't really think it's an easy path for McCain swinging from being the candidate of Rolling Stone and winning open primaries on the back of Democrat and independent votes to being the presumptive Republican nominee all in a few years. I guess there's the national security factor, but that didn't guarantee him the nomination in 2008, when, like Kerry four years before, his candidacy nearly collapsed in the invisible primary. (And he'd had the time to go out of his way to suck up to Republican interest groups)
 
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