WI: Gerald Ford was assassinated by Lynette Fromme in 1975

Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, a Charles Manson disciple and just generally a nutty person attempted to assassinate Gerald Ford with a Colt .45, but was unaware at the time that she would have to pull back the gun slide to get a cartridge in the chamber, thus the gun just clicked when she pulled the trigger for the first shot and she was taken down by Secret Service agents.

What if she HAD known that? Or had used a different type of gun and successfully shot and killed Gerald Ford?

What would the ramifications of this have been?
very nasty republican primary season, but ultimately I think Rockerfeller wins nomination and election.

who is his vp?

does he die sooner or later than in otl? a lot of stress in the job.

Of course he would , if alive, be eligible in 1980, which put him in a different position to a re eelected Ford
very nasty republican primary season, but ultimately I think Rockerfeller wins nomination and election.

who is his vp?

does he die sooner or later than in otl? a lot of stress in the job.

Of course he would , if alive, be eligible in 1980, which put him in a different position to a re eelected Ford
I will go out and say George HW Bush


Gone Fishin'
First and most immediate ramification will be that Rockefeller is President. Given how he won't run in '76 (even if he's President and decides he quite fancies it, he will be under intense pressure not to run), Reagan will likely pick up the nomination.

It's worth noting this will probably only further complicate American's fragile psyche at this stage- in less than four years, trust in the Government has collapsed, a President resigned in the face of impeachment, the Vietnam War has been proved to have been all for nought for many with the fall of Saigon and the unification of the North with the South, and the country is in the throws of an energy crisis and just left a recession. Ford's murder would only further exacerbate the situation. The effects on the markets would be interesting- following the death of Kennedy, the dow saw a slight decrease. Considering the state of the US economy, I dread to think what the economic effect Ford's death would have.

Ford's death will also likely see him remembered better- not to Kennedy levels, but a latter day Garfield, if that makes sense.
Dang, at first glance I thought it was about Sara Jane Moore, who went to the same school as Charles Manson as a kid and once worked as an FBI informant. THAT would have given conspiracy theorists some fun, claiming the FBI and CIA were each gunning down the opposite parties. Anyways, I am guessing that the Secret Service man who saved his life during the second attempt might not have his life ruined, as he was outed at gay at some point and their was a media circus, based on his fame for saving a life. Ford declined to go to his funeral.

Anyways, I doubt that Manson gets to testify at the murder trial as she was hoping would be possible (or so the musical Assassins tells me), as the U.S. has always been rather... Decisive with the few people to successfully assassinate someone. Well, murder a powerful person back then and you had little alternative than whatever they decided to do to you. Actually interesting how many times the assassins were done in or almost beaten to death by civilians.

Ahhh, right. Nelson Rockefeller, from the family which started with the richest man in human history, is now president. Liberal Republicans back then (no snacking remarks, remember the Dixiecrats) were called Rockefeller Repubkicans, so he shouldn't be too extreme. Though liberal and conservative always depends on what time and place you are at. I wonder what effect the next election would be like, for if he does run. If he wins, would people see this as some plutocrat moving in after a terrible series of events (I count Spiro Agnew being Vice President as being not as bad as the other two, but still pretty bad given who he is) and if he loses... Well, might be the same as with Ford. If something pushes Rockefeller out of office before the end of his term though, I can imagine a great loss of stability.

Deleted member 99044

Someone made a timeline where he died and was replaced by Rockefeller who won in 1976 with Ron Paul as his VP. Later Rockefeller would have his OTL heart attack,which kills him leading Ron Paul to become president.
First a few words on behalf of the dead. Ford will indeed be remembered more kindly as a decent man who worked hard in very difficult circumstances and tried to do the decent thing (I like @shiftygiant's "latter day Garfield" thing), he will get much more of a pass on the Nixon pardon seeing it from his point of view as a humanitarian gesture, and that view of the man will last at least twenty years or so before some revisionism sets in, even then it will remain a debate rather than a pendulum swing. If an internet like ours evolves ITTL on forums like this Gerry Ford will go down with the likes of George Romney as the last great chances for a truly middle-of-the-road GOP, with people forgetting about Ford's deep-seated fiscal conservatism which did no favors with stagflation and preferring to remember his social and foreign-policy moderation.

There will be immense pressure for a return of the death penalty nationally -- we're still in a post-Furman v. Georgia stage if Gerry's gunned down in 1975. There will be great pressure on SCOTUS to turn out a verdict like Gregg v. Georgia (reinstated capital punishment with conditions on application in '76 IOTL) much faster. The very liberal California Supreme Court, which mostly wanted to keep the death sentences commuted post-Furman that way will face an avalanche of pressure to come up with technical reasons to revisit sentencing on Manson in particular, and Fromme may in fact become the test case that replaces Gregg v. Georgia ITTL (although the Justices are going to go "hmmm" before they grant certiorari on such a political land mine.) There will also be great pressure, although he has no real constitutional power over the CA Supreme Court, on Jerry Brown to get Fromme and her muse Manson into a reopened gas chamber. Brown, a social liberal who still held to Jesuitical ideals although he was by then a "recovering Catholic", is going to end up with that as a serious bone of contention come reelection time. It will mobilize the Orange County-Bakersfield-Central Valley-San Diego suburbs reactionaries who powered the New Right turn in the California GOP like no issue except property taxes (that particular storm is still coming, the structural economic and political reasons for it are not going away in this scenario.) So proto-New Democrat Brown could be caught in a vise between the tax-revolters and the capital-punishers. Also possible, depending on his residential status and security in-house, that Manson simply gets shanked by somebody inside who figures they'll get light treatment because Manson inspired the death of a President.

Culturally, yeah. Even the hideous fashions of the mid-Seventies, and Seventies fashion/interior design/etc., famously bad, was at its absolute worst from about 1973-77, which coincides nicely with the worst of Watergate and stagflation, with Ford's pardon of Nixon and the defeat of Saigon, all the things that told Americans everything was going to hell in a bucket, indicate the United States' psyche hitting a low point. It bottomed out a bit in the late Seventies and actually had a bit of an indian summer in 78-79 when things were not so bad but then came the Second Oil Shock and the collapse of Carter's credibility and the Tehran hostage crisis and Reagan, etc. Things will be seen to suck even worse ITTL, whether they do objectively or not. And since this involves post-Watergate mentalities, a girl linked to the Manson cult, and a dead President who had been on the Warren Commission, conspiracy theorists will have a goddamn field day for several years. Expect lots of paperback bestsellers with conspiratorial angles on the shooting.

Rocky is in a particularly difficult position now. He's one of the two or three most significant figures in the postwar GOP who hasn't been president yet, up there with the likes of Goldwater and even more so than Romney. George HW Bush would, in Rockefeller's gut, be a very solid choice for VP, including his relative (at the time) youth set against Rocky's increasing age. But he (Poppy Bush) does nothing to take the ginormous bullseye off Rockefeller's back from within the party. Despite some things I will get to below, the Southern and Western wings of the GOP, increasingly the most powerful (Rocky's Northeast Establishment is dying away, he's its last champion, and the Midwest is in kind of a balance between moderates and conservatives), absolutely loathe him. Ford, in choosing Rockefeller, believed he'd built a bulwark against the worst excesses of the New Right (Ford was in most ways a small-c conservative except on things like civil rights, but a much older style and far less radical one than the Goldwater/Reagan wing of the party), rewarded a party elder, and gotten a safe pair of hands in place in case anything like this should happen to him. But he and Rockefeller both understood that unless Ford was able to tame the economic situation of the country, and because of the ire that the fall of Saigon raised on the right, there was a good chance of revolt in the party if Rocky was re-nominated as VP in 1976. Now the risk level has heightened considerably. Who can he pick? Paul Fannin -- Goldwater's Arizona partner in the Senate and a Goldwater conservative -- is getting too old (NB: Fannin is my favorite Veep for any Romney-in-'68 scenario as an olive branch to the right). He could pick John Tower (still seen as a good conservative because his pro-choice position isn't a hot potato yet) or Howard Baker (Baker's at least Southern but has always been a moderate), but both of them would be replaced by appointments made by Democratic governors. It's not clear that some Plains right-wingers like Norman Hruska of Nebraska have the standing in the party or particularly the temperament for the job. I would say really that Rocky has a binary choice in front of him. The moment the word got to him, the moment he put his hand on a Bible and raised his other one, an ashen-faced "Happy" by his side (and Happy Rockefeller will be a great First Lady just like Betty Ford), he faced a man who could raise up the armies of the Republican right and make war on him in the '76 primaries. A man who, because Rocky lacks Ford's intrinsic strength in the Midwest and Ford's several paleoconservative bona fides, because unlike Ford the loyal company man Rocky is the physical embodiment of one of the main factions in a decades-long GOP civil war, could very well pull enough delegates to defeat Rockefeller and claim the nomination. And by doing so, potentially cause enough liberal-to-Rockefeller Republicans either to stay home or protest vote for any Democratic nominee who wasn't too statist and social-democratic in his ideas, to effectively hand the White House right back to the Democrats, going down to defeat in the name of ideological purity. Rocky knows who that man is: Ronald Reagan. He knows Reagan is the New Right's king over the water, and that his (Rocky's) hold over the party establishment is going to be weaker than Ford's. So he has two choices. He damns the torpedos, names a Vice President of his liking, and governs, hoping to "fight and be right" in Randolph Churchill's words. Or he goes, like Nixon to Mao's China, and picks up the phone at the White House within hours of the swearing-in and the anxious press conferences, and calls Reagan's private number and offers him the Vice Presidency. Then Reagan has to consider his position. Is he better off as the heir apparent, as a VP who might be offered the same kind of sweeping, active, and untypical powers that OTL Reagan's staffers offered Gerry Ford to come aboard in 1980? Does he gain enough points for unifying the party, pulling the administration a bit more to the right, and being offered the natural succession as Rockefeller's price to be allowed to govern for as long as he (Rocky) can? Or is he better off declining, keeping his purity cred, running against Rockefeller in a year's time, but also perhaps losing some paleoconservative waverers who could have come over to his (Reagan's) side on account of being disloyal to the concept of party unity? These are momentous choices for both men.

What does Rocky do now given the chance? As VP, and he was constantly stifled by the West Wing staff first by Rumsfeld and then Cheney, he wants to develop a major national urban renewal initiative. Targeted investments, infrastructure development, changing federal regulations on housing and using the leverage of federal funding on other issues to encourage certain behavior with regard to housing availability, public transportation, and so on, on the part of local urban governments. He will intervene aggressively in New York's fiscal catastrophe in part to draw attention away from his own very large role in creating the mess in the first place while he was governor. He will go deeper into a law-and-order approach to the War on Drugs than Nixon did (Nixon talked a harsh and electorally important game on that, but his actual policies were pretty moderate compared both to Reagan's later and Rockefeller's famous "New York Drug Laws.") He will be quite hawkish abroad and, unless there's a real opportunity to accelerate agreement on SALT II, less invested in détente. He will probably try hard to push his Medicare-for-all plan, floating around since he got Jack Javits to propose it in Congress in 1970. It's his last great interventionist masterpiece, and he's less worried about deficit spending than most of his party, and it offers a chance to cut the Democrats off at the middle ground on health care more so than the ACA-style "Nixoncare" plan. Those are the likeliest things.

I'd like also to add a postscript about the fine distinctions still present in the 1970s GOP even as titanic structural changes were underway. Between the party's creation in the 1850s and the early 1960s the GOP was in effect America's Liberal Party. Not "liberal" in the fast-and-loose American usage, but Liberal in the classic 19th century sense. The Republicans were the party of "free men and free markets." The left side of the party skewed towards the "free men" part of the equation, individual liberties and the promotion of the limitless potential of American citizenship, the right side of the party skewed hard towards the "free markets" side, red in tooth and claw. For much of the party's history the right wing, always better funded by most (not all) of America's leading capitalists, had structural advantages, and as early as Rutherford B. Hayes much less Mark Hanna or Calvin Coolidge, they were learning that they could find a sanctimonious cultural common ground with mostly-Southern cultural reactionaries on the Democratic side of the divide (Texas and Tennessee, for example, became the "Solid South"'s first swing states because of that.) But the postwar period saw a tremendous revival on the part of both moderate and truly liberal Republicans, aided by the middle ground (it really was, he was thoroughly conservative in some ways but also really an archetypal "Rockefeller Republican" in many others) of Eisenhower's "Third Way." So, for a party that had been at war with itself due to countervailing instincts before (look at the Progressive splits for example), now it was time for war again. I would say by this period there were effectively four distinct factions in the Republican parties, which ranged from slivers to mighty armies. They were:

  • The New Right: masters of new media techniques like direct mail, strongest in the Sun Belt and inter-mountain West but with footholds in the Midwest, the New Right not only had substantial champions at this point like Reagan, they had by the early Seventies effectively absorbed much of the remaining ideology and structure of the Old Right -- the relentlessly anti-New Deal, Taftite, often isolationist reactionaries who had fought their last great battle trying to stop Eisenhower -- and shed the isolationism in favor of muscular anti-Communism at home and abroad. No faction benefited so much from the Southern Strategy, and already significant Southern players both elected and campaign operatives were coordinating particularly with the California white-backlash reactionaries to form the principal axis of New Right philosophy and electoral tactics (i.e. primary the RINOs) in the coming decade.
  • The small-c conservatives. Men like Gerry Ford, John Tower, and on the rightmost point of this spectrum Bob Dole, they are conservative on most issues but lack and are suspicious of the philosophical detail and ideological fundamentalism of the New Right, seeing it as navel-gazing and inflexible instead of pragmatic enough to operate and win some battles in a world where American liberalism was still a major force and seemed to have gotten a second wind out of Watergate.
  • The Rockefeller Republicans. They are the largest leftward faction of the party but they are not themselves really far left. Indeed by this point in his career Rockefeller had deserted many of the positions that got the faction named after him: his draconian drug laws (and his washing his hands of decision-making at Attica, later saying of the massacre "that's life" too close to an open mic) and his always-hawkish foreign policy (even Goldwater was purportedly surprised by how virulently anti-Communist Rockefeller was; during the "Axe Murder Incident" on the Korean DMZ in '76 Rockefeller wanted the B-52s buzzing the area when US troops cut down the offending tree loaded with battlefield nukes in case the North Koreans came over the border, to prove the US would brook no more Vietnams; supposedly one wag said of Rocky's reactionary foreign policy, "if your name was Rockefeller, wouldn't you be that anti-Communist"?) I've always thought they were better called "Scranton Republicans" after dear old Bill and because Pennsylvania was practically their national capital. They believed in noblesse oblige and that those with the brains and social station to govern had an obligation to create a healthy, well-structured, resilient society. As a result granting personal liberties (e.g. civil rights) was important, and the state had some fundamental obligations to provide infrastructure and a social safety net to guarantee a stable society that could then flourish through free enterprise. Yes, they were pretty much the One Nation Tories of US politics. And at this point they were considerably endangered as the most viable intra-party obstacle to the New Right's dominance.
  • The liberal Republicans. I would like to draw a distinction here, because there was a small but important sliver of the party who were "liberal" in the American sense, sometimes calling themselves "Lincoln Republicans" to distinguish themselves, whose politics were to the left of most Southern Democrats and indeed to the left of the Rockefeller Republicans on issues like law-and-order and foreign policy. They each had a few ideological quirks that still qualified them as Republican, they were Republican by partisan identification for historic or sentimental reasons, but they represented the absolute leftward point of the party and so many of them were very popular targets for New Right ire and primary campaigns. Here we're talking your Jack Javitses, your John Chafees, your Mark Hatfields (Hatfield was anti-abortion but he was a "seamless garment" guy, also anti-death penalty and anti-nuclear weapons), your Cliff Cases, your John Lindsays (who went over to the Democrats in '72), your Dick Schweikers (more pro-union than about half the Democratic Party.)
In all of that, Rocky's best hope to secure nomination in '76 is to do something that helps keep the small-c conservatives either satisfied with him or too leery of the New Right taking charge to vote for Reagan. That's going to be a difficult task.

Last of all there's the matter of health. Rocky was already not a well man, and medical evidence drawn from several decades of presidential health records show that four years in office does about ten years of "normal" wear and tear to the cardiovascular system. Not so good for a man in his position. Even if he steers clear of the secretarial pool for the first time in his life, there's still a chance that the stresses of doing that job in the unholy mess of the mid-Seventies will take so great a physical toll that it kills him too or, like LBJ, encourages him that if he wants to live much longer he needs to give up the job.
Small pop culture note: With Ford dead in September of 1975, this means none of those skits on Saturday Night Live (first broadcast October 11. 1975) with Chevy Chase impersonating him. ("Here Liberty!")
Small pop culture note: With Ford dead in September of 1975, this means none of those skits on Saturday Night Live (first broadcast October 11. 1975) with Chevy Chase impersonating him. ("Here Liberty!")

Not so small a note -- those sketches made Chase a household name. Without them, well, when Chase deserted the show and then came back to host there was a lot of animosity (Chase's ambient casual dickishness didn't help.) On behalf of the cast, Bill Murray put himself forward as challenger to Chase and heckled him in rehearsal with "Chevy Chase -- medium talent!!" That's going to be even more true without Ford to mock. And since out of any of the original cast Dan Ackroyd most resembles Rocky's face and voice, that may put him forward as a star of the show much faster.
So would Rockefeller likely win a Presidential term of his own or become the second man to become President without ever having been elected to the post, or the Vice Presidency as well?

And if he did win and then died in office due to the stresses involved, could his VP pick (likely Regan if he wanted to secure the nomination in the first place) keep the Republicans in office, or would the ghost of Watergate hang over them due to now having had three Presidents come to power in such an unusual manner?
So would Rockefeller likely win a Presidential term of his own or become the second man to become President without ever having been elected to the post, or the Vice Presidency as well?

And if he did win and then died in office due to the stresses involved, could his VP pick (likely Regan if he wanted to secure the nomination in the first place) keep the Republicans in office, or would the ghost of Watergate hang over them due to now having had three Presidents come to power in such an unusual manner?

If Rockefeller could somehow make an "R&R" ticket work with Reagan, and that didn't bleed too much support to a makeshift "Conservative Party" or the Wallace-built AIP as protest votes (remember how shithouse-rat crazy Jesse Helms got over Reagan's gimmick to name ultra-liberal Dick Schweiker as his running mate prior to the '76 convention, threatening to bring many of Reagan's loyal Deep South delegates out of the party and/or back an independent Conservative challenge from James Buckley, and that was just over the normal price of doing political business -- Schweiker was a peace offering to party unity and popular in Pennsylvania which had lots of electoral votes back then) he could potentially win the '76 election particularly since he's going to be more interventionist in the economy and more willing to chance a bump in inflation if he can deliver a national health care plan (even the half a loaf of Medicare-for-all compared to the Ted Kennedy/United Auto Workers mostly-single-payer approach) and do some things that cut down on unemployment, and if the charismatic Rocky and Reagan can run against the sincere but hangdog Carter and either the stilted Muskie or the "fjord not a Lincoln" Minnesotan Mondale. Carter damn near blew it against Gerry Ford because of a late polling collapse in his numbers among "leaners" (independent/undecided) and left-wing Democrats protest voting for Gene McCarthy (who was basically a libertarian Republican by then). If they could somehow hold the party together -- Rocky fights to put someone tastily right-wing on the Supreme Court, lots more lawnorder laws, backs off détente, etc. -- it's possible. But there is still Rocky's health and there is a reasonable chance that he either dies or suffers a heart attack so severe, think Eisenhower-plus, that he has to medically resign office based on unfitness and on Reagan's wing finally having constitutional opportunity to put the knife in without looking too callous doing it.

But it all comes back to Reagan's initial decision if Rockefeller makes the offer. He (Reagan) can offer a laundry list of conditions. And the great thing about that is he doesn't have to be there, in the administration, to get them listened to. He can just sit back and say "do these things and I won't primary you." And if Rocky fails at enough of them, particularly in the face of a Democratic Congress that knows they can start a Republican civil war simply by blocking Rocky's sops to the New Right, Reagan can come back and say it's not enough and get in the race. Ford's death really is a poisoned chalice politically for Rockefeller, even while the nation temporarily rallies around him and columnist write paeans to having a man of the "solid American middle" in the White House. He can govern on his own and face the power of the '74 Democratic wave in Congress plus a lurking primary challenge from Reagan; he can bring Reagan on board and even then risk getting shanked by conservative purity trolls in key states in '76; he can do the whole Cincinnatus thing and promise not to run in '76 but get as much done as he can in the meanwhile knowing he has an expiration date; or he can spend so much energy trying simultaneously to govern through the worst economic patch since the last couple years of the Depression and hold the GOP together with Rocky/Reagan glue that it ruins his ticker and he dies outright or is forced from office for health reasons. Talk about "be careful what you wish for"...
Well my thinking was that in the immediate aftermath of Ford's assassination there would be an instinct to 'circle the wagons' in the GOP so to speak, because now they 'have their own Kennedy' and there hasn't been a stable Presidency since Eisenhower. Kennedy was assassinated, LBJ didn't bother to run for a second term, Nixon resigned in disgrace, and now Ford was assassinated.

Plus in the American public in general there would be sympathy for Rockefeller due to the circumstances, having a candidate who can play that card would be useful to the GOP. Though maybe instead of making the offer to Regan, he could gamble on George H. W. Bush or Howard Baker, not sure if Regan would dare try to 'primary' Rockefeller if he's had to assume the Presidency due to 'the events in Sacramento', it could make him look terrible.

Then there are the Democrats, how would this affect their primaries? Or their approach to the general election?

Now in terms of the nation in general, I agree that the malaise of the 70's would be a lot more pronounced, I could see the rock music scene getting a lot darker and heavier earlier to reflect this. But the Bicentennial Year is coming up so that could give nation a 'hope spot' of things getting better, before another economic swing downwards.

I'm curious about the 'other' assassin, Sara Jane Moore. With Ford killed, what is she going to do?
Why not pick Dole as VP this to me seems like a play that guards against the new right while locking in the little c Conservatives.
Why not pick Dole as VP this to me seems like a play that guards against the new right while locking in the little c Conservatives.

Dole is probably Rocky's best bet to build a bulwark wrt Reagan, I agree with you there. Much as Ford thought it a sufficient olive branch to the small-c conservatives to take the edge off Reagan's convention defeat. But despite "the events in Sacramento" a year is a long time in politics, particularly with the litany of woes in front of Rockefeller. Both Medicare-for-all and continued negotiations over the Panama Canal are red meat for the folks Reagan wants to vote for him if he does enter the primaries, and any other grounds on which he can charge Rocky with failing to live up to Ford's (and even Nixon's) legacy. Even if Rocky moves right a bit and yet retains some viability with independents to challenge a Democratic nominee in '76, there are still harder hearts than Reagan's out there, who may indeed run primary or third-party challenges, from the right-wing but respectable like Reagan himself or James Buckley, to the mouth-frothers like John Ashbrook and Jesse Helms. Once the encomiums post-Ford settle down a bit, Rockefeller is also going to get hit hard from both sides about his response to the New York city/state fiscal crisis: hard from partisan Democrats because Rockefeller's irresponsible fiscal policies and at least two "bubble booms" (one in the mid-Sixties the other at the start of the Seventies) that he encouraged and that of course popped in the end were largely to blame for the problem, and hard from the right for throwing money at the least culturally acceptable (to the New Right and the Old South) state in the union. That and Rockefeller's involvement in the commission (which also included Reagan) that tried to whitewash CIA activities, a commission sponsored by Ford, just before the Church Committee revelations started coming out could be two of the points of entry for getting hit from both sides (Dems: he covered up for illegal activities! New Right: he's going soft on our national security!) There's just no pleasing some people :)
Was referred to this thread by Darth T. Will it still be Carter as the Dem candidate in this scenario?

I can't see how it changes much in who the Democrats would nominate. Ted Kennedy is still unlikely to run because of his marital problems and the black cloud of Chappaquiddick . Hubert Humphrey will still have terminal cancer. Carter still would utilize the new primary process more effectively than Mo Udall or Scoop Jackson. And George Wallace is still George Wallace in party where minorities and women have more influence in the party than they did in 1968. I would suspect Carter still becomes the nominee. But his chances of winning are decreased in this scenario with Ford now somewhat of a martyr for the law and order/silent majority voters. A good and decent WWII vet like Gerald Ford being killed by a former hippie follower of Charles Manson I think unites the conservatives behind President Rockefeller (who was a law and order governor in New York). Plus with Ford gone, the Nixon pardon isn't there to dog Rockefeller who had nothing to do with it. I think Rockefeller would pick Bob Dole to be his running mate to appease conservative Republicans in the senate and defeat Carter not by a landslide but by a comfortable margin. Rocky dies in 1979 from a heart attack making Dole the 40th President of the United States and the 4th American president in 5 years. A sagging economy, stagflation, an energy crisis, high unemployment, 12 years of Republican fatigue, and Dole's gaffes on the campaign trail causes Dole to lose the 1980 election to the young Colorado Senator Gary Hart.


First and most immediate ramification will be that Rockefeller is President. Given how he won't run in '76 (even if he's President and decides he quite fancies it, he will be under intense pressure not to run), Reagan will likely pick up the nomination.
Why exactly would there be immense pressure on Rocky not to run in 1976?
the Republicans will be a lot more forceful with Khomeini than Carter was so... oh dear.

I thought about that but considering the circumstances on the ground, i.e. any American' build up to an invasion of Iran would be easily spotted in advance and cause the hostages to be executed in retaliation. I think that President Rockefeller could be convinced to support a proxy war with Iran, using Iraq as a pawn. Now this is basically what happened in RL but it happened later, in this TL I could see Rockefeller being MUCH more supportive of Iraq and talk them into waging such a war a bit more early than in RL.

Not sure what the result of an Iran-Iraq War that began earlier would be though...