Constitutional Amendment

Good premise and an interesting TL! One point - a Constitutional amendment would likely be required to change the election cycle, since the term of office for president is Constitutionally set at four years. This move would also (perhaps unintentionally) drive America's political system closer to a parliamentary model, since the president would be elected always in the same year as the (previously) "off-year" congressional elections, making a good part of two branches of government would be elected at the same time (though a second round of Congressional elections would still occur two years into the president's term, and senators would of course still be at six-year terms.) That would actually be an interesting change, and perhaps 20 years into the experiment, someone would propose a FULL parliamentary switch-over, as a remedy to the rise of an "Imperial Presidency". I commend you for showing previously "obscure" candidates rising in the ranks to higher office, like Caperton. That is extremely plausible and most TL writers forget that as time goes on, minor changes to the TL mean major changes to all aspects of life. Nhprman 19:57, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

I like the changes. Before logging in (of course, duh!) I made two very minor typographical changes - amend and Tuesday. Hope you don't mind. Now, let's address the amendment process itself. The TL has Pres. Albert announcing in a TV address requesting Congress amend the Constitution to hold a special presidential election on Tuesday, November 5, 1974. I must say three weeks is pretty fast for Congressional approval! I'm assuming the TV address came just after the (Sat.) Nov. 3, 1973 resignation of Nixon, so let's say the Congress got right on this on Monday, Nov. 5, 1973. A "mere three weeks" away was Nov. 26, 1973. Ratification by end of year means the 38 states would have had to approve this VERY momentous amendment in 35 days. The very popular 26th amendment (lowering the voting age to 18) was ratified in 100 days and was the fastest ever to be ratified [1]. The 25th Amendment, which dealt with presidential succession, took 584 days. Surely, this would take a bit longer. Note also that most legislatures would take a Christmas break in the last weeks of December, and many don't meet at all. Let me recommend that ratification at least take 100 days or so, perhaps ending in late February? Candidly, I suspect it would be summer, 1974 before even the Congress approved this amendment, and at least Nov. 1974 before the states got around to ratification, but that messes up the story.
I also wonder what this scenario would do to presidential elections themselves? The New Hampshire presidential primary is held in February, but would primaries even be held, or (especially if the amendment passes in Feb. or later) would they simply hold a nominating convention? Very problematic, but raising interesting possibilities! Nhprman 04:07, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
  • If you have a good theory on the constitutional process then feel free to add it. -- Jetli 11:44, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

The 25th Amendment and Carl Albert

The Wikipedia entry on Carl Albert, located here says:

"The resignation of Agnew, in 1973, was the first occasion in which Albert was confronted with the question of whether it was appropriate for a Democrat to assume the nation's highest office when it was held by a member of the opposing party. Albert concluded that he had no right to a Presidency that the American people had entrusted, by election, to a Republican. He thus announced that should the need arise for him to assume the presidency, he would do so only in an acting capacity, and would resign immediately after both Houses of Congress (in accordance with Section 2 of the 25th Amendment) had approved a Republican Vice President."

Doesn't that throw a spanner into the works with this ALT? If Congress had chosen either Ford or Rockefeller, as they did in OTL, the election cycle would not have been interrupted and whoever Congress chose would have been President until 1977, or 1981 if they'd won the 1976 election as well. I suspect Rockefeller could have won that election against Jimmy Carter, and since he died in 1979...the possibilities... Cprhodesact 05:18, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

  • Dude, it's called ALTERNATE history for a reason. In the Nixon's Early Resignation scenario, Albert had an ALTERNATE reaction to the becoming president. -- Jetli 11:01, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

Oh, right, yeah. OK. My bad. :) Cprhodesact 11:20, 24 November 2006 (UTC)

He's right. If a TL requires two points of divergence - Nixon resigns in 1973, and Albert doesn't do what he publicly stated he would - then you haven't thought it through. 


I'm not sure Ford would have ever been President if he'd had to run. In 1973 he was picked as VP because he would be easy for the Democrats to beat in 1976 (Source: Whitcomb, J&C, Real Life at the White House, Routledge, 2000). I think it's more plausible that Reagan himself won the 1974 nomination (as he tried to doin 1976) and then the election. Or, as an alternative, the Democrats could easily have ridden Watergate to victory in '74; in fact, the closeness of the election to the resignation of the President (and the VP, also over corruption), makes this more plausible. I'd have Carter as Prez from 1974 until 1978, until beaten by Reagan.
But that's just me...

What's the point?

I fail to see the point of this ATL - unless it incorporates the effects on international politics... Michael riber 20:01, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

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