Alternate History

Nixon's Early Resignation

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On November 3, 1973 President Richard Nixon's two principal lawyers, Fred Buzhardt and Leonard Garment, flew to Key Biscayne, Florida, to recommend that he should resign. Nixon guessed what their mission was and decided not to.


Buzhardt and Garment were able to get Nixon to meet with them and so convinced him to resign, and as Spiro Agnew resigned just weeks before on October 10 there was no sitting Vice President in office. After President Nixon resigned on noon of November 5, 1973, the presidency passed to the Speaker of the House Democrat Carl Albert of Oklahoma. President Albert refused to effectively reverse the mandate of the Republican landslide victory of 1972, so he announced in a televised address to the nation that he would only serve for one year and would request for Congress to amend the Constitution to hold a special presidential election on Tuesday November 5, 1974.

He also announced that he did not intend to seek the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in the 1974 Presidential election and that he would support Nixon's choice for Vice President, the Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Republican Congressman Gerald Ford of Michigan (Albert would nominate Ford to be his Vice President within a few days).

Within a mere five weeks, a new (twenty-seventh) amendment was approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate and by the end of January 1974 it had been ratified by the state legislatures of 38 states. And so a presidential election was set for November 5, 1974.

In the 1974 spring Primary elections Vice President Ford narrowly outpaced his major Republican opponents California Governor Ronald Reagan and former Texas Governor and Treasury Secretary John B. Connally.

Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine won the Democratic nomination after a bitter primary battle and chose Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter for his running mate. In the election Democrats Eugene McCarthy and George Wallace chose to run for president as independents. This fractured the Democrat vote in numerous states and enabled Vice President Ford and his running mate Ronald Reagan to not only win a plurality in the popular vote, but a large majority in the Electoral College and therefore the presidency.

As a result of the 1974 presidential election, the four-year cycle of presidential elections in the United States was shifted.

President Ford chose to serve only one term and in 1978, Vice-President Ronald Reagan won the Republican nomination. He defeated the Democrat candidate Arizona Congressman Mo Udall in the presidential election and went on to serve from 1979 to 1987, defeating Colorado Senator Gary Hart in the 1982 election.

In 1986, Democrat Senator John Glenn of Ohio defeated Vice-President Phil Crane. However, President Glenn was defeated in his bid for re-election in 1990 by Republican former Secretary of State George H.W. Bush of Texas. President Bush served from 1991 to 1999, defeating former Michigan Governor David E. Bonior in the 1994 election. Vice-President Carroll Campbell was defeated in the 1998 election by Democrat Governor of West Virginia Gaston Caperton, however Campbell did win the popular vote. President Caperton was re-elected in 2002, defeating Governor Bruce Benson of Colorado by a very narrow margin.

In the 2006 presidential election, the Republican nominee, Virginia Governor Tom Davis defeated Vice-President Evan Bayh. Davis along with his running mate, then California Senator Tom McClintock defeated the ticket of Bayh and his running mate, then Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor with 327 electoral votes to the Democrats's 211. In the popular vote Davis received 52 percent of the ballots cast and Bayh received 45 percent.

The most recent presidential election took place on November 2, 2010. President Davis was re-elected with 532 electoral votes and 59 percent of the popular vote. He defeated Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, who received just 39 percent of the popular vote and just 6 electoral votes (from Delaware and Washington, D.C.).

The following table summarizes U.S. presidents starting since 1969.

Order President Term started Term ended Vice president
37th Richard Nixon (R) January 20, 1969 November 5, 1973 Spiro Agnew
38th Carl Albert (D) November 5, 1973 January 20, 1975 Gerald Ford
39th Gerald Ford (R) January 20, 1975 January 20, 1979 Ronald Reagan
40th Ronald Reagan (R) January 20, 1979 January 20, 1987 Phil Crane
41st John Glenn (D) January 20, 1987 January 20, 1991 Lloyd Bentsen
42nd George Bush (R) January 20, 1991 January 20, 1999 Carroll Campbell
43rd Gaston Caperton (D) January 20, 1999 January 20, 2007 Evan Bayh
44nd Tom Davis (R) January 20, 2007 January 20, 2015 Tom McClintock

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