In 2004, John Kerry wanted his friend John McCain to be his running mate on a bipartisan "unity ticket." Polling from May 2004 showed that a Kerry/McCain ticket had a 14% lead over Bush among registered voters. McCain showed interested but he ultimately declined and endorsed Bush. Curiously, McCain had been approached by Senate Democrats to leave the Republican Party in 2001 in order to become an independent. McCain showed interest, but remained with the GOP.

But suppose that McCain is convinced to accept Kerry's offer in 2004. (Perhaps the POD is McCain becomes an independent in 2001). Could this ticket have possibly worked? Would Democrats be willing to unite behind a Kerry/McCain ticket? If so, would Kerry/McCain win in 2004?
 
In 2004, John Kerry wanted his friend John McCain to be his running mate on a bipartisan "unity ticket." Polling from May 2004 showed that a Kerry/McCain ticket had a 14% lead over Bush among registered voters. McCain showed interested but he ultimately declined and endorsed Bush. Curiously, McCain had been approached by Senate Democrats to leave the Republican Party in 2001 in order to become an independent. McCain showed interest, but remained with the GOP.

But suppose that McCain is convinced to accept Kerry's offer in 2004. (Perhaps the POD is McCain becomes an independent in 2001). Could this ticket have possibly worked? Would Democrats be willing to unite behind a Kerry/McCain ticket? If so, would Kerry/McCain win in 2004?

Bump. Any takers?
 
Might not have made a difference in the end. The GOP would have lost the pretty boy/Breck Girl jokes. Otherwise it wasn't close enough for running mates to make a difference.
 
Might not have made a difference in the end. The GOP would have lost the pretty boy/Breck Girl jokes. Otherwise it wasn't close enough for running mates to make a difference.

Maybe in normal circumstances, but a very popular senator who was not even a Democrat could make a huge difference.

2004 was very close IOTL and a major shake up like that could either blow up in Kerry’s face (pissing off rank and file Dems and depressing their turnout) or put him over the top.

Ohio, Iowa, and New Mexico were all extremely close and, if we’re gonna assume that a major break from tradition like this isn’t gonna change the results to much (even though I disagree, I think they’d change them a ton) that’s still more than enough very close races to have Kerry beat Bush.
 
Maybe in normal circumstances, but a very popular senator who was not even a Democrat could make a huge difference.

2004 was very close IOTL and a major shake up like that could either blow up in Kerry’s face (pissing off rank and file Dems and depressing their turnout) or put him over the top.

Ohio, Iowa, and New Mexico were all extremely close and, if we’re gonna assume that a major break from tradition like this isn’t gonna change the results to much (even though I disagree, I think they’d change them a ton) that’s still more than enough very close races to have Kerry beat Bush.

Iowa and New Mexico would have put Kerry at 264. Still needed Ohio, which he lost by 2.5 points.
 
I remember there were a small amount of right-wingers who defected to Kerry because they felt Bush was running a liberal campaign. I imagine McCain would either attract more who felt the same way or scare them away.

If Bush still wins as OTL, McCain probably doesn't run for President in 2008, and Mitt Romney wins the nomination. Neither party would embrace McCain as their nominee. For Democrats, he's too conservative; for Republicans, he's a traitor who compromised victory.

On the other hand, Arizona probably begins a leftward shift. With Sarah Palin never being nominated for VP, the Tea Party may take a different turn.
 
Last edited:
I think this would have scrambled GOP strategy enough to deliver a narrow Kerry victory. Restructuring the narrative in the middle of a campaign, especially for re-election, is very hard. Kerry as wishy-washy would be hard to sell with such boldness. Bold choices for VP mostly fail thanks to gaffes and weak picks. McCain would probably have enough sense to avoid crippling statements and would beat Cheney in a debate. There would be issues with the left wing defecting but the trauma of 2000 would prevent this, I think.

But oh boy is 2008 gonna be a rout (don't think enough could have changed tangibly, especially given foreign policy stuff that the crash would have been delayed or prevented).
 
But oh boy is 2008 gonna be a rout (don't think enough could have changed tangibly, especially given foreign policy stuff that the crash would have been delayed or prevented).

Ironically, 2008 would be a contest between two wealthy, gaffe prone politicians from Massachusetts with a "flip-flopper" reputation. Even so, Romney would win with relative ease due to the economic meltdown.
 
Ironically, 2008 would be a contest between two wealthy, gaffe prone politicians from Massachusetts with a "flip-flopper" reputation. Even so, Romney would win with relative ease due to the economic meltdown.
A Ron Paul/Mike Gravel Ticket materializes for the Libertarian Party, while a Bernie Sanders/Dennis Kucinich Ticket materializes for the Green Party. Romney and the Kerry-McCain Administration will both want to stay in Iraq. Romney probably intervenes in Syria in 2011, instead of Libya.
 
Last edited:
McCain would play well in AZ (home state) and VA (strong NatSec Community). If he brings over deficit-minded suburbanites and National Security Conservatives, its game over. Marginal improvements in OH, IA, and NM also put Kerry over the top.

Not to mention, it's two Vietnam War heroes vs Dubya with his iffy military record.

The messes of Bush's second term would be Kerry's problem. I don't think he'd get much done, but the plus side is that you'd have an experienced foreign policy two years sooner than OTL (when it took Dubya until late 2006 to get a firm grip on the situation).

The 2004 Senate elections will probably go better for the Democrats. Alaska, Florida, Kentucky, and South Dakota go Democrat. Louisiana probably goes to a runoff, and considering Vitter (the only Republican) only got 51% OTL whereas the four Democratic Senate candidates got 48% OTL, I'd put that as a toss-up.

I wonder how the 2005 Arizona Senate Special Election would go.


The 2006 elections will go very differently. No Democratic wave means the Republicans hold Missouri, Montana, Virginia, and Rhode Island.
Ohio is a toss-up. Pennyslvania will still go red because conservatives were pissed at Santorum for supporting Arlen Specter in 2004.
Michael Steele could potentially pull an upset in Maryland. New Jersey might be a toss-up, as even in a very blue year it was only 53.4-44.3.


2008 will be a wave year for the GOP when the economy goes kaput.
Alaska, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Oregon definitely go Republican.

Dick Zimmer in New Jersey may or may not win. NJ is a weird state and in a red wave year the socially liberal Zimmer could maaaaybe take the seat.
If the GOP could convince Johnson to run for Senate in 2008, he could maybe hold the seat in New Mexico. But until 2018 and the prospect of being an independent swing-vote, he hated the idea of running for Senate.
These two are definitely long shots though.





As for the 2008 nominees, it could be Romney. I also think that George Allen clinching the nomination given that he wouldn't lose reelection TTL.

If Kerry and Romney are nominees, I swear upon the constitution and apple pie and everything American that there better be some third-party candidate saying that This country deserves better than two rich jerks from Massachusetts.

Maybe Ron Paul runs in 2008, but if he didn't run OTL why would he here?

If Bush here loses the EC but wins the PV, could he come back in 2008?
 
Last edited:
Might not have made a difference in the end. The GOP would have lost the pretty boy/Breck Girl jokes. Otherwise it wasn't close enough for running mates to make a difference.

The election was definitely very close - not as close as 2000, but close enough that flipping Ohio, a state that Bush won by only around two points, would have given the victory to Kerry.
 
While Romney is the mainstream choice for 2008 for a reason in a Kerry wins 2004 ATL, I think other, potentially stronger, candidates emerge to challenge him that could very well take the election in that climate. As @Amadeus pointed out Romney is very similar to Kerry at face-value which may be too much in the primary as stupid as it sounds. Especially considering Romney will moderate as he tries to take McCain's lane. In addition, I suspect an earlier Bush defeat means an earlier Tea Party.

Here are a couple alternative candidates that didn't run in 2008 that I think could beat Romney, or at least have a better shot than any 2008 rivals.

Pawlenty has both the seriousness to match Romney, Governor of a Blue state but still conservative, and Populist appeal (assuming McCain change moves suburbanites to the Dems). Weakness: Fundraising

If Texas manages to stay afloat/still do really well, especially with an earlier recession, Perry might win on a "see what I did in Texas" campaign on the economy while being less out of touch and flip-floppy than Romney. Weakness: Bush Comparison, a Kerry climate change plan could hurt Texas growth

If the GOP "autopsies" 2004 and says it needs to be less Hawkish post-Cold War (or if Republican voters sower on the war thanks to negative partisanship) JC Watts, especially if he runs for higher office, would be a good pick with his non-political experience (football star) and ethnic background.In an interesting aside, if the GOP goes anti-Iraq in '08 perhaps muslims return to the party. Weakness: no experience in a competitive state.
 
Last edited:
Is it plausible that a more liberal economic policy might lead to a delayed recession? I think it was inevitable, but might it occur in 2009/2010 instead of 2007/2008 with Kerry likely not passing tax cuts and adding more regulations?
 
Is it plausible that a more liberal economic policy might lead to a delayed recession? I think it was inevitable, but might it occur in 2009/2010 instead of 2007/2008 with Kerry likely not passing tax cuts and adding more regulations?

Your answer to this depends on your political opinion I guess.

My one question would be Could/would Kerry prematurely address, prevent, or at least delay the housing bubble by preventing the sale of houses to those who couldn't afford them or making those people earn enough to pay them without moving upwards in buying habits?

Would more stimulus/welfare spending delay the pop?

I'd love some imput form somebody who knows more about Kerry and his view on housing pre-2008.
 
Is it plausible that a more liberal economic policy might lead to a delayed recession? I think it was inevitable, but might it occur in 2009/2010 instead of 2007/2008 with Kerry likely not passing tax cuts and adding more regulations?

Only a veeeeery crooked policy of "print more money so the bubble pops later" could delay the recession. If you equate cheap money with liberal policy (debatable notion), then yeah sort of. I don't think crooked monetary policy is really a liberal vs conservative (political sense) thing. Maybe it's a liberal vs conservative (as in loose vs restrained) thing.

I also just doubt that Greenspan or Bernanke or whoever Kerry appoints would do such a thing. Monetary Policy has generally been of a mainstream consensus on both sides of the aisle. Volcker was nominated by two presidents. Greenspan was nominated by four presidents. Bernanke was nominated by two presidents.

Your answer to this depends on your political opinion I guess.

Even if this delays the recession, my one question would be Could/would Kerry prematurely address, prevent, or at least the housing bubble by preventing the sale of houses to those who couldn't afford them or making those people earn enough to pay them without moving upwards in buying habits?

I'd love some imput form somebody who knows more about Kerry and his view on housing pre-2008.

The issue is that for decades it'd been federal policy, especially on the Democratic side, for the government to encourage more opportunity for low-income people to get housing. By necessity, this meant providing more credit for housing to people who otherwise really wouldn't be qualifying for it.

Just recall this SNL skit, in which the writers point out that it was the Bush Administration was bringing up the issues with Fannie and Freddie encouraging risky mortgage loans in 2002 and the Democrats were the ones pushing back on this. Maybe the Kerry administration would realize that the ratings agencies were asleep at the wheel, unlike the Bush administration, but that's a big if and would likely be occurring way too late to prevent anything.
 
If Texas manages to stay afloat/still do really well, especially with an earlier recession, Perry might win on a "see what I did in Texas" campaign on the economy while being less out of touch and flip-floppy than Romney. Weakness: Bush Comparison, a Kerry climate change plan could hurt Texas growth

The W comparison might be a plus on TTL. The economy and the foreign policy situation weren't great in 2004 but they were far better than 2008. Voters might have buyers remorse.
 
The W comparison might be a plus on TTL. The economy and the foreign policy situation weren't great in 2004 but they were far better than 2008. Voters might have buyers remorse.



(Terrifying)
 
Do you think that there'd be some support for Bush to pull a Cleveland and run in 2008? I really hope not...if he got the Republican nomination that year then he'd probably win the election!
Him or Jeb could defeat a vulnerable Kerry. However, Bush fatigue will probably preclude either of them from winning the nomination. Their Republican opponents will ask, "Why nominate Bush again (or another Bush in Jeb's case) if they are complacent with one term?"

I think if either Bush won the nomination, they would select either Tom Ridge or Mitt Romney as their VP nominee. With the Kerry-McCain Administration not withdrawing from Iraq, I also think that either Bush intervenes in Syria in 2011, rather than Libya. I wonder what effect an extended and prolonged US presence in the Levant would have on the rise of ISIL.
 
Last edited:
Him or Jeb could defeat a vulnerable Kerry. However, Bush fatigue will probably preclude either of them from winning the nomination. Their Republican opponents will ask, "Why nominate Bush again (or another Bush in Jeb's case) if they are complacent with one term?"

I think if either Bush won the nomination, they would select either Tom Ridge or Mitt Romney as their VP nominee. With the Kerry-McCain Administration not withdrawing from Iraq, I also think that either Bush intervenes in Syria in 2011, rather than Libya. I wonder what effect an extended and prolonged US presence in the Levant would have on the rise of ISIL.

I think Kerry would sign a withdrawal plan just as Bush did, but perhaps a bit earlier than 2008.
 
Top