The idea of this is to cause a 1976 election which re-aligns the GOP into a more liberal direction while sending the Democrats into a more conservative direction. The first POD is that Arthur Bremer fails to assassinate George Wallace, leaving him in perfect physical condition. The rest of history continues in mostly the same way until 1975, when Lynette Fromme successfully assassinates Gerald Ford, making Rockefeller president. In the 1976 Democratic primaries, Jimmy Carter never runs, and George Wallace is much more successful in his stead. George Wallace runs a campaign where he attempts to put his checkered past with racial issues behind him, declaring himself a moderate on racial issues, and is successful in taking the nomination. Meanwhile, Rockefeller manages to defeat a challenge by Ronald Reagan, in large part because voters who would have otherwise supported Reagan instead voted in the Democratic primary for Wallace. This makes the election Rockefeller vs. Wallace, with some liberal 3rd party candidate running and gaining a significant amount of support from liberal democrats opposed to Wallace. Rockefeller goes onto win the election, but Wallace brings back the Democratic hold in the South.

How possible is this scenario, and what would be the effects going forward?

Deleted member 109224

The issue is, Wallace and Reagan had very different bases.

Wallace was a New Deal populist whose conservative overlap was on racial and policing issues (not to mention he was opposed to the war in Vietnam).
Reagan, meanwhile, was a through and through economic and social conservative as well as a hawk. Wallace being the Democratic nominee isn't going to mean Reagan Republicans won't vote in the primary - remember that Goldwater managed to win a GOP primary/convention *before* Nixon's Southern strategy.

BUT if the election is Rockefeller v Wallace, liberal Democrats will support Rockefeller and Conservatives will likely field their own candidate - likely a Buckley-Helms ticket or something along those lines.
Was Wallace really a New Deal populist? Far as I can tell, he was anti-big government, tax-cutting, etc.

The first things that I can find from about Wallace's 1976 positions don't make him sound too New Deal-y. More Reaganish.

"The great issue is still the matter of big government trying to infringe upon the pocketbooks and lives of the people of this country more than they ought to."

"Alabama has the lowest taxes of any state in the Union. [. . .] We folks in Alabama do not believe that you can solve every problem under the sun, imagined and unimagined, with the middle class’s money."

"Let us ask the government of the United States and the Democratic party to put their mind on the solution of energy problem, on the solution of putting people back to work, and curbing inflation and cutting big government down and reducing the taxes on the average middle class citizen—that’s what they ought to do."

This is a genuine question! I'm curious.

Deleted member 92121

Well, a Wallace Rockefeller 1976 is very interesting, but there are problems that make it a unlikely scenario.

1) As arleady pointed, Wallace was a very different person to Reagan. I would not call him a New Deal Populist, but I would call him a Populist. He made a carrer based on fighting for the poor southern whites and lower middle class in the 1960's. Then, as the decade went by, he moved to the Racial issue(in my view more out of opportunism than actual zealous bigotry). I do believe he knew how to move with the tides, preaching one stance in a speech, and another in the next. Deep down, however, he was big in social spending. Reagan on the other hand, made a political carrer based on Fiscal and Social conservatism and Neo-Liberal financial policies. He also preached a more open racial stance, attempting to attract black voters. All in all, the profile of the two diverge considerably.

2) The Democratic Party by 1976 was far too gone from it's southern roots for Wallace. Now, regardless of Wallace's apparent racial stance in 76(which, though no longer segregationist was far from progressive) he was still a symbol for racial separation in the country.
The greatest living representation of the classic Dixiecrat. The Democratic Party in 76 had undergone years of change at the hands of figures like Humphrey, the Kennedy's, and many other's who built a base on racial equality and social spending. For Wallace to win the nomination, even in better health(not getting shot does that to you), was extremely unplausible. Let's take a look at the nominee: Jimmy Carter. A Georgian, Carter was a Southern Democrat. His built his reputation on fighting segregation and supporting social spending and racial relations. His views were popular with the democratic machine. The Party also needed a figure of the South in a attempt to savage the region after the succesfull Southern Strategy. This played a large part in his nomination. Had Carter not run(unlikely, he was a political climber) for some reason, it's unlikely the Party would've picked Wallace, even with the southern appeal, as he would completely alianate much of the northern Democratic base. A base needed. Imagine he was picked, the South might be carried, but New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio? They almost certainly would go to the other candidate(in this case Rockefeller), and that's enough for a Republican win. Therefore, the Democratic stablishment would avoid such a poisonous figure outside the south like a plague.

3) The Republican machine in 76 was far too conservative for Rockefeller. The VP was a veteran politician, deeply experienced, and a known moderate Republican and a progressive on many issues. This made him a serious pariah to the Conservative wave that begun to swept the nation after the first Oil crash. Ford liked Rockefeller because he was a excellent administrator, but he was not the best political player, lacking interest in party disputes. He could also get easly frustrated(remember he actually flipped the crowd in one instance where he was campaigning for Ford). By 1976 Rockefeller was arleady thinking of retiring, and than came the elections. Ford, who was far from a moderate, was seen by conservatives like Reagan and Goldwater as such. He barely beat Reagan in the Convention, and that only came from the fact that he had agreed that Rockefeller would not be his VP choice for 76. That was how America was graced with the figure of Bob Dole, a compromise choice for the slot that pleased Reagan and the Conservative Wing. Now, if Ford was assassinated, and Rockefeller became President in 75, he might choose to run. He would almost certainly, however,be defeated by Reagan in the convention. Now, there is the possibility sympathy for the VP might earn him a nomination, that is true. I find his nomination very unlikely, but not impossible.

All in all: Wallace becoming the Democratic Choice: Almost impossible. Rockefeller becoming the Republican Choice: Highly unlikely.

Move the scenario to 1960 or 1964, however, and this becomes much more plausible. This is my take at leat.
If Wallace couldn't win the Democratic nomination in 1972, he is even less likely to do so in 1976, whether Carter runs or not. (His not being shot will not help him politically; on the contrary, the shooting probably got him some sympathy votes in 1972 in OTL.)

And if Reagan almost beat Ford in the GOP primaries in 1976 in OTL, he would certainly beat Rocky, who was much more disliked by conservative Republicans than Ford was.

In short, a 1976 Wallace-Rockefeller race is extremely unlikely.

If this didn't have the extraordinary circumstances surrounding it, like Ford's assassination in the first race after Watergate, and McGovern's utter failure to win more than one state four years early. The Democratic primary reforms that predated that primary I could see Wallace being impossible and Rockefeller being very unlikely. But with these circumstances and contexts and the incumbent Republican POTUS right after an assassination, then I could see it happening.

It'd be hard for Nelson Rockefeller to win the nomination, but he really wanted to. Apparently he repeatedly pissed off Gerald Ford by constantly suggesting the idea of Rockefeller be the one to run in '76 rather than Ford. He'd have a hard time overcoming Reagan in the primaries, which may be helped by a more moderate conservative jumping into the race and pulling more from Reagan than Rockefeller, but I'm hard-pressed to come up with a name.

If Rockefeller pulls it off, then he'd need to pick a conservative VP and that would have to be somebody from the conservative wing - my personal favorite pick is Rep. Phil Crane from Illinois. He was a Reaganite but younger and, while that gives him no base to run for POTUS, makes him a perfect VP pick for Rockefeller, because there's no way he'd actually pick Reagan at that point (like he had tried to in '68).

Wallace would be a hard sell to the normal Democratic base, but after Humphrey's failure due-in-part to labor ignoring what labor leaders said and McGovern's supporters terrified the Democratic Party and the American public. Wallace wouldn't be the first odd candidate to rise to the top of the Democratic primaries and as a reformed segregationist, champion of the New Deal, and a general conservative, he'd be extremely consequential as a Democratic candidate. If he were to run and lose, the Democrats would be in an odd place, having seemed to last touch with what America wants in a POTUS since passing Civil Rights and Great Society legislation. If he won that'd be even more significant, as now the Democrats have become the party of the Dixiecrats in a lot of ways and there'd be quite a splintered national party in power.

I think the best outcome for America would be Rockefeller/Crane winning rather than having to go down the road of what happens to the Democrats and the country under President George Wallace.

Deleted member 109224

Have Wallace get shot but not be put in a wheelchair. He recovers in a week and keeps campaigning, thus doing better in 1972 (winning the primary plurality).

Wallace did well with northern hardhats and won the Michigan primary in 1972. He could reasonably unite northern hardhats and southern whites into a Democratic coalition the nabs him the nomination in 1976 given how it was a pretty packed primary field (Wallace winning via plurality). Odds are he picks somebody like Scoop Jackson as his running mate (good with the party but also against bussing), but I think the idea of a George Wallace - Frank Rizzo is intriguing (thus creating a coalition of southern whites, northern hardhats, and law-and-order ethnics).

I think Rockefeller seeing the writing on the wall after the first couple primaries and pulling a Roosevelt (running indy) thereafter is a plausible prospect. Rockefeller v Wallace v Reagan 76.
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Deleted member 109224

I think the key to Wallace 76 is Wallace 68 and 72 being stronger.

Have him avoid LeMay and get Happy Chandler as his VP and proceed to get over 20% of the vote and win more states in 1968.
In 1972 have Wallace get the plurality in the primary but still be boxed out.

Come 1976 Wallace has a stronger political presence and wins the primary due to split opposition and his coalition of southerners, hardhats, and law and order ethnics. Carter chokes on a peanut and doesn't run - Wallace wins all the southern primaries, Michigan, Pennsylvania (due to a Rizzo endorsement), and a couple others (Illinois, Ohio, Indiana come to mind). He gets maybe 40% of the popular vote in the primary but has sufficient delegate support to take the win.